Back pain is a common condition that will affect most people at some point in their lives. It is one of the more common problems that Osteopaths treat. There are many different reasons that cause back pain and there are many different types of back pain. Back pain can range from a dull ache to sharp shooting pain. It can refer into the shoulder, neck and around the front of the body.
Some of the common causes of back pain include:
Sleeping in an awkward position
Poor ergonomics at work
Lifting objects over your head
Carrying a heavy bag
The above causes will generally lead to functional pain that is related to stress and strain being put on the back and causing general musculoskeletal pain. This would be considered general back pain. Most of the causes above are factors in people’s everyday lives, which over a period of time will lead to dysfunction and pain.
Some injuries and trauma including falls can cause more serious problems that may require an assessment by a doctor.
Symptoms of back pain and back related issues can vary. The most common symptom is pain in the back, this pain could be an ache or a sharp shooting pain, it could be constant or intermittent. Symptoms of pain can refer into the shoulder, neck, lower back and around to the front of the body. Pain that seems to be under the shoulder blade can be related to the back. Pain with breathing is also a symptom of back related pain. Numbness, tingling and pins and needles are all symptoms that can be caused by issues of the nerves in the back.
Osteopaths can assess your back and the surrounding areas to diagnose the cause of your back pain. This involves not only looking at the back but also looking at the lower back and neck. An assessment will involve taking a case history to understand the nature of the problem. Your posture will be checked and you will be put through a range of motion test which involves moving your back to see how it moves to one side compared to the other. An assessment will also involve palpating the area, which involves feeling the muscles and joints to work out which are tight and restricted.
General musculoskeletal back pain is pain that relates to the muscles, joints and some nerve related issues. The most common types of musculoskeletal back pain are:
Thoracic joint strain
Rib joint strain
Thoracic outlet syndrome
All of the above problems can be treated by Osteopaths. Osteopathic treatment is a form of manual medicine, which involves hands on techniques to help relieve pain and symptoms. This is achieved by loosening the tight muscles, strengthening the weak muscles, and helping to get restricted joints moving better. This will restore function to the back.
Back pain treatment generally involves the following:
A common question when it comes to back pain treatment is whether the treatment is painful. Generally, most of the techniques won’t cause pain, but treatment of a painful area will be sensitive for most people. You should always let your Osteopath know if the treatment is painful, but sometimes you may need to go through a small amount of pain to get better.
Other forms of treatment that can help with back pain include:
If you suffer from back pain or any other symptoms that may relate to issues in the back, you should get yourself assessed by an Osteopath.