Back pain is an increasingly growing problem in the western world, and research has shown that as many as sixty percent of the UK’s population will suffer from back pain at one point in their lives. Back pain can come from a number of sources, whether from a strain from lifting something too heavy, repetitive strain from work such as stocking shelves, or can seem to start out of nowhere. In many cases, back pain will sort itself out with time, but if it continues for several weeks a visit to the doctor may be called for. In many cases, the cause of back pain may not even appear on a CT scan or MRI. In these cases, conservative treatment may be called for.
Pain killers, from over the counter medications like paracetemol or ibuprofen to prescribed stronger pain killers, are often recommended for back pain but they do not always cure the problem. Those that are seeking less evasive treatments or prefer to avoid pain killers would do well to consult an osteopath, either on their own or on the referral from their GP.
What is Osteopathy?
Osteopathy is the practice of treating problems with muscles, joints, nerves, and ligaments by gently manipulating the body, which results in easing pain, reducing swelling and improving mobility, without the use of drugs or surgery. In many cases, back pain that does not follow an obvious injury is caused by bad posture or sedentary lifestyles, such as sitting in front of the computer for hours without thinking of proper posture or sleeping on an uncomfortable bed. Osteopaths are trained to recognise these signs and help patients improve their lifestyles while treating the problem.
This form of treatment may also be recommended by GPs as a first line of defence in fighting other medical issues such as whiplash or other injuries incurred in car accidents, sciatica, recovering from a slipped disc or other painful problems with the spine. Osteopathy can often correct the problem without having to resort to drugs or surgery.
What to Expect When Seeing an Osteopath
On your first visit to an osteopath, he will want to make a detailed medical history, so expect to answer questions about your diet and lifestyle. Typically, the first session will also include a physical examination in which you will asked to perform a series of movements. The osteopath will use his hands to identify abnormalities in the structure and function of your body, helping him to make a full diagnosis and outline a treatment plan.
After the osteopath has made his diagnosis and gone over a treatment plan with you, he may give you advice on posture, exercise, and even diet to help improve your back. He will also perform a variety of stretching and manipulative techniques on your body to help reduce the painful symptoms and encourage your body to heal.