Back pain is the leading cause of disability around the world, and more than 3.7 million Australians experience back pain on any given day. The type of pain can range in severity from slight discomfort to debilitating, severe pain. Research shows that Osteopaths are highly qualified to diagnose, treat and manage back pain.
Causes of Lower Back Pain
There are many causes of back pain. Commonly it is due to inflamed joints or muscles in the spine or pelvis which. This may have resulted from an injury or functional adaption over time from repetitive sprains or strains to the spine, pelvis or hips.
Back pain can also be due to arthritis or disc injury in the spine which can cause swelling around the nerves which can cause back pain, leg pain (which can be a cause of sciatica), or numbness and tingling in the leg.
Osteopathic Examination for Lower Back Pain
The aim of the osteopath is to relieve or reduce the pain and to help you get back to normal or improved movement and function.
The osteopath will take a detailed case history to understand if there has been any previous injury, repetitive strain, surgery, illness or emotional stress that can have an impact on the biomechanics of the spine, pelvis and hips.
Careful osteopathic examination is then taken into consideration when assessing your lower back pain. Osteopaths first look at how the joints and muscles in the spine are working and where the tension and tenderness is. This helps determine which joints or muscles are inflamed and what type of biomechanical imbalance or misalignment there is in the spine.
Osteopaths take a whole body, or holistic approach, so they also look at other regions of the body and determine whether they are impacting on the spinal dysfunction. This usually involves examining how the pelvis is working with the spine ( i.e. your hips and tailbone), how the leg is working with your spine, and even how your upper body is contributing to the movement in your spine.
For example if someone has problem with their knee it can cause the hip and spine to compensate and cause pain and tension in the spine.
Osteopathic treatment for lower back pain
Research shows that osteopathic treatment for lower back pain is effective. All of our osteopaths have many, many years of clinic experience in treating and managing lower back pain.
We all use a very gentle technique which is very well tolerated by patients in strong pain. Whether it is acute, severe pain or a chronic long term issue, patients are taken to a balance point to help avoid exacerbating the pain. There is very little movement needed from the person who is experiencing the lower back pain and they are very comfortable during treatment.
Apart from treating the spine the osteopath will also treat the other areas of your body that are causing compensatory problems for the spine.
Managing lower back pain
In conjunction with osteopathic treatment the osteopath may recommend some things that can be done treatment to help manage pain. This may include rest, heat packs, gentle exercise and stretching, supplements and improved postural changes to reduce repetitive strain e.g. how someone might sit at work.
Why choose an osteopath
Osteopaths look at spinal or lower back pain issues differently to other manual therapists like chiropractors, physiotherapists and massage therapists. They take a whole body approach in conjunction with the spinal pain and do not just focus on the region of pain. By looking at how the spine is being influenced biomechanically from other body regions the osteopath may be able to reduce pain and improve mobility more efficiently. Osteopaths can treat acute lower back pain or chronic lower back pain.