Back pain is perhaps the most common complaint associated with Osteopaths. Back pain is rarely the same from one person to the next and can range from an intense sharp stabbing pain to a constant dull nagging ache. In your consultation we will assess why you are getting your pain, explain what is happening, treat you and give you advice specific to your condition.
NICE guidelines suggest “spinal manipulation, mobilisation and soft tissue techniques for managing low back pain with or without sciatica, but only as part of a treatment package including exercise, with or without psychological therapy.” These techniques are all used by Osteopaths and the modes of intervention most relevant to your presentation will be considered with you as part of your treatment. We have a range of techniques available to us and all have extensive knowledge and experience in exercise prescription so are able to tailor treatment and exercises relevant to you. All our practitioners are registered with the General Osteopathic Council.
The spine is a ‘chain’ of bones (vertebrae) stacked on top of each other with strong discs between each. There is a small hole made on either side between two vertebrae from which nerves exit from the spine. Also between the vertebrae are small joints which enable the spine to have a certain mobility. The spine is actually a very sturdy and stable structure and its bones, discs, ligaments, are large and strong. On top of this it has a very good muscular support system which not only helps with movement and stability but also dampens and redirects forces stopping any individual structures being overloaded.
So what happens to cause pain? The good news is that in most instances low back pain and neck pain does not represent damage. Pain is often secondary to dysfunction (things not working properly) rather than pathology. For example, recent studies have shown that there is NO correlation between low back pain and radiological findings. Of the people examined some had no history of low back pain yet had many disc bulges at various levels and others had long histories of pain or current pain yet no radiological abnormality. Disc bulges are of clinical significance when there are findings that suggest there is pressure being put on nerves. This would produce certain symptoms signs that can be tested for within your examination.
Your Osteopath will assess your presentation based on the facts and will be able to make a decision as to whether treatment will benefit you or onward referral is required. Some idea of prognosis will be given where possible. If indicated you would be referred for further investigations or to a the relevant specialist.