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Low Back Pain – Are you getting the right treatment?

I am sure you have seen over the last few days that many of the papers and news programmes are picking up on the recent papers published by the Lancet regarding the management of low back pain.

Low back pain has now been listed as the leading cause of disability world wide, with evidence suggesting 1 in 4 of us are affected at any one time. In most cases low back pain lasts a relatively short amount of time, has no obvious cause, and is classified as non specific low back pain. However for many people it does reoccur over time.


Historical Treatment for Low Back Pain

Over the years the medical response to low back pain has been varied as Professor Underwood (one of the authors of the Lancet papers) is quoted by the BBC as saying

“Quite a lot of people get exposed to high-tech medical and invasive procedures. There’s very little evidence base to support their use.”

Many people who have had no specific low back pain have been exposed to scans, prescribed bed rest, addictive medication or even surgery, and yet there has been little improvement in their pain.

Low Back Pain is a Symptom, Not a Cause

The advice is to start seeing low back pain not as a cause, but as a symptom, as a common every day occurrence (a bit like a cold) . Instead of searching for a specific injured tissue the experts suggest looking at the you as an individual – considering your environment, social and economic lifestyle, your culture and your beliefs, which may have influenced your pain.

Hmm that sounds familiar – Osteopathy has always adopted a holistic approach to look at each patient as an individual and not a bunch of parts one of which may be causing the pain.

In fact in 2016 NICE guidelines stated that healthcare professionals should

“Consider manual therapy (spinal manipulation, mobilisation or soft tissue techniques such as massage) for managing low back pain with or without sciatica, but only as part of a treatment package including exercise, with or without psychological therapy.” Low back pain and sciatica in over 16s: assessment and management (2016) NICE guideline NG59

The Answer to Low Back Pain is to MOVE

The advice in the Lancet (and from all osteopaths) is to adopt a positive health approach, by exercising and addressing those elements which are impacting your pain,  therefore allowing you to manage your pain.

To quote Lorimer Moseley (Prof of Clinical Neuroscience & Chair in Physiotherapy,Uni of South Australia). – “Pain is a protective buffer, you are safe to nudge into that… pain is not a measurement of the scale of your injury”

Your health professional should help you to understand how you think & feel about your pain,  and in doing so, help you to begin to manage your pain (rather than it manage you).  They should provide you with exercise advice and be able to point you in the right direction that will help you move forward.

#Osteopathyworks to help Low Back Pain

As I mentioned earlier Osteopathy has always seen a patient as a whole person, our case histories delve in to all aspects of your life to see what may be impacting the pain you present with today. We will consider if there is anything more significant which is causing your pain, and if necessary will refer you to the appropriate specialists for further investigation. Where necessary we will treat you with manual therapy to help relieve your symptoms and we will prescribe suitable physical activity and exercises to get you moving again.

If you would like to find out how osteopathy can help you please contact us or call us on 0208  298 9064, or book an appointment online today.