Low Back Pain - Do You Suffer?
Low Back Pain. Chances are that if you’re reading this you’ve felt the dull ache, the sharp spasm, the creaking stiffness of a low back episode. Low back pain (see wikipedia information) is listed as one of the top reasons why individuals miss days at work and is in the top 5 things for which we see our GP’s. It is an expensive problem for our economy, not to mention our healthcare system.
Kinds of low back pain
There is more than one type of low back pain. 85% of low back problems are labelled as “mechanical low back pain”. This includes: muscle spasm, ligament sprain and osteoarthritis. These are considered to be harmless causes. 3-4% will be due to potentially more harmful causes such as: herniated discs, spondylolythesis, compression fractures due to osteoporosis or spinal stenosis. Very rarely, less than 1% of the time, we will see pain due to inflammation (such as ankylosing spondylitis, cancer or infection.
Most patients I encounter, I focus on ruling out these more serious causes of low back pain, when we are sure of a mechanical diagnosis it is from there that we start to formulate a treatment plan, that includes advice, exercises and hands on treatment to relieve the immediate symptoms of discomfort.
Although mechanical low back pain is not serious, it is a very disabling, painful and common issue. Luckily osteopathy has a significant amount of supportive research to support its effectiveness and recipients have reported high levels of satisfaction after seeing an Osteopath.
Therapies and treatment of low back pain
There has been a lot of research on how to treat acute low back pain effectively. Research has focused on therapies such as Osteopathy, Physiotherapy, Chiropractic, yoga, tai chi, breathwork, acupuncture, behavour based therapy. The list goes on. They have also focused on the various drugs that are used to assist in reducing such pain.
Interestingly, because drugs, even those used over-the-counter carry side-effects the strongest recommendation is to use therapies such as massage, manipulation, heat, and acupuncture. These have been proven to be effective and carry little risk. If these do not work, then fall back on NSAIDs (such as ibuprofen) and muscle relaxants.
The good news is most low back pain gets better regardless. Therapy interventions provide support relief and a speedy confident recovery where you can also pick up advice and tips to avoid the issue again.
Sedentary lifestyles are tricky to avoid if part of a desk working job, Osteopathy can help combat the effects of this and give you the tools to protect yourself and your spine.
Please see my main site for details of how an osteopath can help with this issue.