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Back and Neck Pain

Low back pain can affect the back anywhere below the ribs and above the legs. The lower back is the connection between the upper and lower body, and it bears most of the body’s weight. Because of these roles, it is easily injured when you lift, reach, or twist. Almost everyone has low back pain at one time or another. The good news is that most low back pain will go away in a few weeks with some basic self-care. But if your pain is severe or lasts more than a couple of weeks, you would be advised to seek help.

Low back pain is often caused by overuse, strain, or injury. For instance, people often hurt their backs playing sports or working in the garden, being jolted in a car accident, or lifting something too heavy. Aging plays a part too. Your bones and muscles tend to lose strength as you age, which increases your risk of injury. The spongy discs between the bones of the spine (vertebrae) may suffer from wear and tear and no longer provide enough cushion between the bones. A disc that bulges or breaks open (herniated disc) can press on nerves, causing back pain. In some people, low back pain is the result of arthritis, broken vertebrae (compression fractures) caused by bone loss (osteoporosis), illness, or a spine problem you were born with.

Depending on the cause, low back pain can cause a range of symptoms.It may:

  • Be dull, burning, or sharp.
  • Be felt at a single point or over a broad area.
  • Come on gradually or suddenly.
  • Occur with muscle spasms or stiffness.
  • Cause leg symptoms, such as pain, numbness, or tingling, often extending below the knee.

These symptoms can occur on their own or along with low back pain. Leg symptoms are often caused by lower spine problems that place pressure on a nerve that leads to the leg. Having ongoing back pain can make you depressed. In turn, depression can have an effect on your level of pain and whether your back gets better.

Only a few people with low back pain need surgery. Surgery may help if you have a herniated disc or back pain along with symptoms of nerve damage, such as numbness in your legs. Even in these cases, most people will improve without surgery. Having surgery does not guarantee that all your pain will go away. Before you have surgery, it is a good idea to get a second opinion.

Treatment for low back pain

Osteopathy, offers a conservative approach in the treatment of back pain and patients often report improvement after the first treatment. Treatment of low back pain also considers the pelvis and hips and invariably involves assessment of the lower limbs.

Treatment for neck pain

When assessing someone complaining of neck pain your osteopath will want to examine your whole spine as invariably there will also be an underlying low back problem. Therefore, treatment for neck pain will most likely involve treatment of the whole spine.

Treatment includes massage, soft tissue mobilisation, and manipulation where appropriate.

See also:

NICE Guidelines on Managment of Back Pain

How Osteopathic treatment might help you...