If you suffer from back pain, you are not alone, back pain is extremely widespread affecting about 80% of the UK’s population at some point in their lives, and it is one of the most common reasons people consult osteopaths.
What causes Back Pain?
In most cases back pain is caused by a minor injury or a strain, rather than anything more serious, and can be referred to as ‘simple back pain’.
The symptoms often occur suddenly and can be triggered by a particular movement, but the causes may have been building for some time.
Some of the most common causes of stress and strain on the spine include:
- Bad posture
- Being overweight
- Being unfit
- Slouching in chairs
- Driving in hunched positions
- Unsupportive mattress or pillow
- Standing, sitting or bending down for long periods of time
- Lifting, carrying, pushing or pulling loads that are too heavy, or performing these tasks incorrectly
- A trip or fall
- Stress or anxiety
- Generally overdoing it
In some cases, there may be a more severe underlying causes of your pain, but these are less common. These causes include:
- Degenerative conditions such as disc disease or arthritis
- Congenital abnormalities in the spine (e.g. scoliosis)
- A prolapsed disc
- Deformities of the spine
- Infection or collapse of the vertebrae
- Spinal Stenosis
- Cancer or Tuberculosis
How Do Osteopaths Treat Back Pain?
Using manual techniques, osteopaths examine the whole body to identify sources of pain and restricted movement that may indicate injury or impaired function.
Osteopathy aims to relieve back pain by:
- Stretching the muscles and ligaments of the back
- Reducing muscle spasms
- Restoring better mobility to the vertebrae of the back
- Improving blood flow and lymphatic drainage
- Promoting free movement of the entire musculo-skeletal system
An osteopath may also advise a patient on techniques for avoiding and relieving furure episodes of back pain, including:
- Proper posture
- Exercise and stretching
- Proper lifting techniques
- Stress management
- Workplace ergonomics