Understanding and Managing Back Pain
Back pain is a common ailment that will affect up to 60% of the adult population at some point in their life. Those with back pain, whether acute or chronic, will know how it can interfere with daily life. Simple tasks become a chore, things you want or need to do like exercise or work become difficult, your sleep can be disturbed and it can get you down. Symptoms range from a dull, constant ache to sudden, sharp pains that makes it difficult to move. For most people the longevity or severity of pain, whilst disconcerting, rarely reflects the level of damage in the back.
Common causes of back pain
Up to 95% of back pain is musculoskeletal or mechanical in origin, including:
– Muscle or ligament strains or spasms
– Disc injuries
– Degenerative change and wear & tear
– Compressed or trapped nerves
Other causes of back pain
There are times when back pain is not caused by a mechanical issue. Back pain can also be caused by:
– Gut issues
– Kidney problems
– Gynaecological or menstrual complications (e.g. endometriosis or fibroids)
– Altered pain perception (where the nervous system is hypersensitive to non-noxious stimuli)
– Inflammatory arthritis
Risk factors for back pain
Several factors can increase your risk of developing back pain, including:
– Sedentary lifestyle
– Poor posture
– Psychological stress
– Heavy lifting
In most cases, back pain is an issue that can be managed conservatively. There are some signs however that, if present, require immediate assessment from a doctor. These signs are:
What can I do to help if I have back pain?
How can Castle Clinic help my back pain?
An accurate and complete diagnosis is crucial for effective treatment. At your initial consultation, our experienced practitioners take a full medical history and examine you, so that they can understand why you have a bad back. In most circumstances, treatment will begin on your first session.
What appointment should I book?
Many of our different therapies treat back pain, and the causes behind it. Here is a summary of the different approaches and how they can help. If after reading this you are still unsure who to book with, please get in touch and we will direct you to the most suitable therapy for you.
Acupuncture can help back pain by offering pain relief, reducing inflammation and stimulating muscle relaxation.
Chiropractic relieves back pain by using spinal manipulation and mobilisation to alleviate muscle tension in the muscles of the spine and pelvis, improve mobility and posture. Your chiropractor will also offer guidance on your posture when at work or driving, which may help.
Health Kinesiology uses muscle testing to identify imbalances in the body that could be hindering your body’s proper function, leading to back pain.
Herbal Medicine can be used to create personalised herbal remedies and tinctures to target the cause of and provide relief from your back pain.
Indian Head Massage uses soothing, flowing movements and firm pressure on specific points to ease tension in the muscles of the head and neck, reduce stress and promote relaxation. This is helpful if stress is the main cause of your back pain.
Osteopathy helps improve the symptoms of back pain using joint and spinal mobilisation, along with traction, massage and stretch techniques to decompress the vertebrae, reduce muscle tension and improve posture. Your osteopath might advise you on your sitting posture when at your desk or when driving as this may help.
Physiotherapy can support the recovery of back pain by working with exercises to improve flexibility, strength and posture of the spine and pelvis. Physiotherapists often advise you on how to set up your workstation, in order to minimise the physical stresses on the back.
Reflexology uses precise application of pressure to reflex points on the feet, hands, ears and face that correlate with particular organs, glands or systems within the body. Reflexology aims to restore balance to encourage the body to heal itself. Reflexology also helps promote relaxation and alleviate stress.
Sports Massage can be used to locate, identify and treat areas of specific tensions within the neck, shoulders and back. Sports massage is particularly beneficial in treating backache and pain caused by a sedentary work posture.