Back pain – Don’t ignore it!
Modern living means that inevitably back pain will affect most people at some point in their life. It is often a symptom that indicates your back is not functioning correctly so it is best not to ignore episodes of back pain, even if they come and go.
Typically Osteopaths are associated with treating pain in the lower back but Osteopaths are able to treat pain anywhere along the spine including middle back pain, upper back pain and neck pain. Symptoms of back problems can also manifest all around the body particularly if you suffer with chronic back pain (normally defined as back pain lasting longer than 12 weeks).
Symptoms of back pain
Back pain is usually described as a continuous or intermittent pain, ache, or stiffness in the centre of the back or to the side of spine. Pains may often be sharp with certain back movements, such as bending forwards or backwards, however symptoms vary depending on where your back problem is. For example, if you are suffering from middle back pain you may get symptoms into your flank or chest that are aggravated with deep breathing or twisting, this is commonly due to the rib attachments in the middle back. Lower back pain however, can give you pain into in the buttocks or hip area and even tingling into the legs. This is typically due to muscle spasm but in extreme cases can be due to compression of the exiting spinal nerves.
Chronic low back pain suffers may get a wide range of further symptoms such as muscle spasms, nerve pains, fatigue, headaches and even digestive problems as a result of being in a chronic state of discomfort and injury.
Causes of back pain
There are many underlying causes of back pain and symptoms can be exacerbated by many things such as physical and emotional stress. Some people may describe a specific injury to their back, such as twisting or lifting awkwardly whereas others have a gradual occurrence of back pain often related to work, posture and lifestyle.
Of course there are also rare but sinister courses of back pain that people experience and your osteopath is highly trained to know when to advise you to see your doctor for further investigations or when you may need spinal imaging.
Osteopathic Treatment for back pain
If you are experiencing pain anywhere in the back, from musculoskeletal origin, it is likely you may need some treatment to relieve tension in your back muscles or spinal joints. Osteopathic treatment is ideal for this as practitioners are highly trained in anatomy and spinal biomechanics. This means they are able to identify and diagnose why you are getting back pain using many of the diagnostic techniques that a doctor or orthopaedic consultant would allowing them to identify areas of restriction, pain, dysfunction and muscle tightness.
Your Osteopath will then discuss a treatment plan with you which may include hands on treatment such as spinal manipulation, muscle release, dry needling and exercise rehabilitation. If you are chronic sufferer of back pain or have severe degenerative changes in the spine Osteopathic treatment can be an effective tool in managing symptoms and avoiding further progression of back pain.