Back Pain

Back pain is the primary cause of disability in people under 50 years of age. The annual rate of this occurring in the adult population is 10% to 15% and up to 30% in developed countries. Low-back pain (LBP) is second only to upper respiratory problems for physician visits each year, with a lifetime rate of occurrance of 70% to 85%.

Acute Back Pain

  • Pain, stiffness, and/or soreness of the lumbosacral region lasting <4 weeks (acute), 4 to 12 weeks (subacute), or >12 weeks (chronic).
  • Diagnosis made by eliminating specific lower back pain (LBP) causes of neurological compromise, neoplasia, inflammatory arthritis, fracture, or referred pain from other locations or organ systems.
  • Patient education, return to normal activity, and self-care temperature treatments (ice, heat) are the first steps in therapy.
  • Oral pharmacotherapy (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs [NSAIDs], paracetamol, and muscle relaxants) is used for pain control.
  • Opioids may be prescribed by your GP for severe pain.
  • Physical therapy such as Osteopathy may help

Despite its widespread prevalence, the general outlook for people experiencing acute LBP is favourable, as 90% of patients recover without any complications.  Recurrences are common, but most relapses are not disabling.

However there are preventative steps you can take to manage these occurrences of back pain and even to try to stop them happening altogether.

  • Don't suffer in silence! Get a proper diagnosis (Osteopaths are trained to find the cause of the problem)
  • Have some Osteopathic treatment which involves a lot more than just treating the 'bit that hurts' but also the areas further up or down the body that may be leading to the pain in a particular area
  • Get a Postural Assessment - again all part of our Osteopathic Consultation
  • Listen to the advice given and try to do the exercises that have been prescribed but if you are not able to manage them, be honest, so that your exercise programme can be adapted to make it more manageable for you
  • Research has shown that patients who comply with the advice given by their Osteopath recover faster
  • Consider a "Work Station Assessment' at the place where you do most of your work - this can also apply to non-desk based jobs such as Shop Cashiers or anywhere where you are positioned in the same spot doing repetitive tasks for a length of time 

Chronic Back Pain

Chronic low back pain (LBP) is defined as symptoms persistent for more than 6 months.  There are a few people who may become incapacitated with Chronic LBP  

Depression, job dissatisfaction, and medico-legal issues involving financial compensation predispose a patient to suffer long term.  Several studies have shown that the longer a patient is absent from work, the less likely he or she will return to work.  Furthermore, a small percentage of patients will develop persistent, disabling LBP resulting in immense costs to society.

If you are experiencing Chronic Back Pain, there are some important steps you can take to manage your pain:-

  • As with Acute LBP - if you haven't been given a proper diagnosis - make sure you get one!  
  • Book a Consultation with one of our Osteopaths (even if you've been told that you'll just have to 'put up with it'  there ARE coping methods that you may not have heard of
  • Listen to the advice given after your 'Postural Assessment'
  • Try to do the exercises prescribed for you but mention any that you find difficult so they can be adapted
  • Discuss other coping mechanisms such as 'Relaxation Programmes', 'Stress Management Programmes' and talking therapies such as 'Cognitive Behavioural Therapy' (CBT)
  • Our Osteopaths will also want rule out other issues such as Depression, which can make any pain you may be experiencing feel much worse.  If Depression  is an issue our Osteopaths can help you get the treatment you need.