Back pain affects thousands of people, but in most cases is not serious and medical treatment is not always necessary.
MOST BACK PAIN IS CAUSED BY
- Stiffness or spasm of the muscles caused by sleeping in an uncomfortable position
- Doing activities you are not used to
- Being overweight
- Incorrect lifting techniques
- A disc between the base of the spine moving out of position or pressing on a nerve
COMMON BACK PROBLEMS
- Pain of the upper or lower back
- Pain spreading from the back of the thigh to the ankle (sciatica)
BACK PROBLEMS CAN BE PREVENTED BY
- Keeping active
- Keeping to a healthy weight
- Sleeping on a firm mattress
- Lifting heavy weights correctly - crouch down, straighten knees and keep your back straight
TREATMENT AT HOME
- Stay in bed, but no longer than one or two days
- Massage the painful area; apply heat
- Take painkillers
- Exercise gently
VISITING YOUR OSTEOPATH
Osteopathy is a primary care profession focusing on the diagnosis, treatment, prevention and rehabilitation of musculoskeletal disorders. Commonly treated conditions include back, neck and shoulder pain, upper and lower limb problems, neck related headaches, minor sport and work-related conditions and arthritic pain.
Osteopaths employ techniques to restore mobility, function and blood flow to help the body to heal itself. Most will incorporate soft tissue, joint mobilisation; spinal and peripheral joint manipulation and neuro-muscular procedures.
Treatment does not target symptoms only but also addresses the parts of the body that have caused the symptoms. Osteopaths take a holistic approach and believe that the whole body will work well if it is in good structural balance.
To qualify as an osteopath requires at least four years' study for an undergraduate degree. This is similar to a medical degree, but with a greater emphasis on anatomy and musculoskeletal medicine. It includes more than 1,000 hours of training in osteopathic techniques. After graduation, osteopaths are required to complete continuing professional development (CPD) courses to retain their registration.
Patient safety is of paramount importance; by law, osteopaths must register with the General Osteopathic Council and it is an offence for anyone to use the title if they are not registered.
Osteopaths are skilled in diagnostic techniques and trained to identify when a patient needs to be referred to a GP. Increasingly they work alongside GPs and other healthcare professionals, providing treatment both privately and through the NHS.
For more information about osteopathy or to find a fully qualified, registered osteopath visit www.osteopathy.org
VISITING YOUR CHIROPRACTOR
Treatment consists of well defined manipulation techniques which are aimed to improve joint pain and muscle spasms. Chiropractic is currently the second most frequently consulted complementary therapy.
The Medical Research Council have found that chiropractic is more effective than hospital outpatient treatment for lower back pain.
Chiropractic treatment is particularly favoured for easing back pain, sciatica, tension, neck, shoulder and arm pain.