In this article I will cover some of the more common musculo-skeletal and mechanical causes of back pain and how Osteopathy aims to help.
Causes of back pain
The most common cause of back pain that I see in my practice is an over-strain of the lower lumbar spinal joints. This over-strain can affect any number of the tissues such as the muscles, ligaments, nerves, discs or joints. Typically I find that these lower lumbar joints are weak because they are overburdened and having to do too much work. This tends to comes about because other parts of the body, such as the pelvis and mid-back are too tight and so not doing enough of the work. When one part doesn't join in, others have to do more to compensate, and they then fatigue and fail. Posture and lifestyle are hugely important factors in this and are assess extensively as part of any consultation.
Similarly with neck pain, quite often it is the case that the neck is the victim of mechanical tightness in the shoulders, ribs and upper back. If these areas aren't working well the neck has to do a lot more work. Also, muscle tightness moving up from the upper back and shoulder can pull on the neck causing issues. Work posture, computers, whiplash, poor sleeping positions and pillows can also cause neck pain. We can look at which mattress which be good for your back pain, along with addressing any other lifestyle factors that might be important.
As an osteopath I aim to help the body heal itself, and I aim to treat the cause not the effect. With the type of low back and neck pain I mentioned above, it is a case of treating the areas that aren't working well or contributing to ease the pressure on the struggling low back or neck. Osteopaths believe the body functions as one unit, so we don't treat just one area, we treat the whole. Mechanically, there is a direct link between the neck and the low back, so treating one treats the other (and problems in one can cause problems in the other). We will look into lifestyle factors to see if there is anything there that needs changing.
If you would like any more information then please feel free to contact me.
Philip Waldman D.O. FSCCO Registered Osteopath and Cranial Osteopath is also founder and director of Chelsea Natural Health, which is based on the Fulham Road in SW10. Philip also works in Brighton and Hove, BN3