Back pain, such as pain in the lower back or pain spreading from the back of the thigh to the ankle (sciatica), 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
However, there are other causes of back pain, such as:
- Being overweight
- Incorrect lifting techniques
- A disc between the base of the spine moving out of position or pressing on a nerve
There are a number of preventative measures you can take to avoid any injury or pain occurring in the back, including:
- 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
If you are suffering from back pain then there are a number of remedies that you can apply at home:
- Stay in bed, but no longer than one or two days
- Massage the painful area; apply heat
- Take painkillers
- Exercise gently
Visiting an osteopath
Osteopathy is an established and recognised system of diagnosis and treatment, which lays its main emphasis on the structural and functional integrity of the body. It is distinctive by the fact that it recognises that much of the pain and disability which we suffer stems from abnormalities in the function of the body structure as well as damage caused to it. The 1993 report from the British Medical Association ‘Complementary Medicine – New Approaches to Good Practice’ recognised osteopathy as a discrete clinical discipline. Osteopathy is the first complementary health care profession to be accorded statutory self-regulation. Since 9th May 2000 it is an offence for anyone to describe themselves as an osteopath and practice as such, unless registered with the General Osteopathic Council.
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.