LOW BACK PAIN
About Low Back Pain
- Low Back Pain affects up to 60% of adults in the UK, at some point in their lives.
- 20% of people with Low back pain see their GP.
- Most common treatment is analgesics (painkillers).
- Low back pain can affect you at any age, but most commonly occurs between 35 and 65.
- It is one of the top 10 diseases in terms of prevalence in the world.
- Although usually not serious, low back pain can affect your general wellbeing, and ability to go about normal daily activities, including hobbies and work.
Low back pain is typically very painful, and does get in the way of everyday life. However, it’s reassuring to know that low back pain is generally not caused by anything serious and most people get back to normal in under 6 weeks.Tamsyn
Most back pain (95%) has multiple contributing factors both mechanical, (namely muscles, ligaments, joints and discs), and external, such as increased stress or occupational issues. All of the structures above share a similar nerve supply, so can all contribute to back pain in differing amounts.
Sometimes if there has been an injury elsewhere in the body, particularly in the hips, knees or ankles, there can be a period of compensation, leading to increased stress on the back whilst the other injury is improving.
The low back is also an area which holds tension in some people, and there is often a “straw that broke the camel’s back” scenario, with a small insignificant movement causing the injury.
In reality, there is often more to unpick with back pain in terms of recognising the contributing factors, and this will guide treatment and management in each case, enabling you to make helpful small changes to your lifestyle to remain pain-free.
In less that 5% of people, back pain can be caused by a herniated disc (aka, slipped disc, disc herniation, displaced disc, disc out of place). Often with this there will be pain shooting into the leg, known as sciatica (trapped nerve). Please read the disc pain and sciatica page here for more information about this condition.
Finally, less than 1% of back pain has a pathological origin, such as a fracture, cancer or other disease. Please read below for how this is checked for everyone attending our clinic.
Pain that is located in the lower section of the back, gluteal and pelvic area, is classed as low back pain.
Referred pain in the legs is also fairly common (which is different from sciatica).
Most low back pain can be easily treated using a combination of the following, depending on your presentation and preferences:
* Manual therapy (osteopathy, physiotherapy, chiropractic)
* Exercise (cardiovascular and specific exercises provided by a practitioner)
* Painkillers (though many people try to avoid these!)
* Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (to assist with any other lifestyle issues that could be contributing to the problem)
How we can help:
Treating Low back pain is what we are known for!
Here at Faversham Osteopathy, our consultations involve a thorough examination of your back, ruling out any pathologies before suggesting an appropriate treatment plan suited to your needs.
Hands-on treatment focuses on both relieving the area that is in pain, and addressing the causes of the problem, in the most gentle, non-invasive way possible. The way in which I treat reflects my understanding of the body and mind. Our bodies have great intrinsic healing capacity, but sometimes need a little help along the way, outside of using painkillers to cover up the problem.
Other aspects of treatments include specific exercises, again tailored to suit you, alongside specific occupational and environmental advice to keep you out of trouble hopefully for the long-term.
I always look for the most efficient way to get your back feeling more comfortable, and assist you every step of the way when getting back to the activities you enjoy.
Rest assured: Should it be determined through the examination that your back pain be better treated by another healthcare practitioner, or in rare instances, require a scan, or other further investigation, I will assist in arranging these through communication with your GP if you wish me to do so.
Myth 1: Bed rest will help my back pain
Although this used to be the standard advice, research now suggests the opposite is in fact, true. To speed up recovery of your back pain, it is important to keep it moving as much as possible, going about normal daily activities, and only modifying those activities that are particularly demanding for the back, for a short period of time.
Myth 2: All back pain is caused by disc problems
This is usually not the case, as there are many other structures that can cause local pain, and also referred pain in the leg. Referred pain is different from Sciatica, and can be caused by muscles and other structures in the back and pelvis.
Myth 3: If I have back pain, a scan (MRI/X-ray) will help identify the problem
There was a large research study on this, to determine how helpful these scans were. In the study, they scanned thousands of peoples backs, some who had pain, and others who had no pain. Interestingly, they found that some people who had no pain had scan results that showed herniated discs, whilst some individuals suffering lots of pain showed no sign of herniated discs or other issues. Often scans will show disc herniations, or other “issues” with people being seemingly oblivious to them, or the location of pain does not correspond to the level of the disc herniation. This shows that these findings in a scan do not necessarily point to the correct structure causing pain, and can be misleading and worrying for people. Therefore, in the UK there are now strict guidelines on when a referral for a scan is needed, which we follow stringently.
Disclaimer: The information on this website is not meant to be used to replace a consultation with a healthcare professional, and it is advised to see either a GP or other healthcare therapist to determine exactly what the problem is before making any decisions about how to manage the problem.