Back pain is a very common problem, with reports suggesting as many as eight out of ten of us will suffer from it at some point during our lives (1). Around 5.6 million working days in the UK are lost each year due to back pain, second only to stress (2, 3).

Back pain can affect anyone at any age, and can often be the result of a sprain or a strain of the structures of the back such as the muscles, ligaments, joints or damage to the discs. Osteoarthritis or wear and tear in the back can also be a reason.

Most of us know that back pain can be painful and inconvenient, but it’s not usually serious and will often resolve on its own within a few weeks.

However, many people seek osteopathic treatment to address it quickly (4) and at a time and place of their own choice; and osteopaths are skilled at helping prevent back pain from becoming a chronic, long-term condition.

Back pain in my practice

Typically, more than half of the people I see in my practice in Dorchester have, back pain, why does it happen? Because I believe we live in our bodies and the pain is an expression of being busy, lifting lawnmowers, dogs out of cars, fixing the bike, twisting with the trolley in the supermarket or falling off a horse – an unexpected sudden movement and may feel instantly demobilized. It could also be you have sat at your desk too long to meet a deadline. Your concentration telescopes into this one area and you worry something serious has happened. Very often I find soreness elsewhere in the body related to what you’ve done and moreover, from experience that it is not serious and together we can create a change pretty quickly. My patient testimonials describe this.
I enjoy working backwards with you to find out not only what occurred but how, and where possible, it can be avoided next time. If you do have previous injury or problems in your back it can be even more important to receive swift treatment and exercise advice to get better and feel better sooner.

How can Joanna help?

  • Osteopaths are well known for treating back pain and patients report high satisfaction with treatment. There is good quality evidence supporting the beneficial effects of manipulation for back pain and the National Institutes for Clinical Excellence recommends osteopathy for sub-acute and chronic low back pain.
  • Osteopaths can use a wide range of gentle manual treatments depending on your age, fitness and diagnosis. Joanna may gently massage the soft tissues of your back or rhythmically “rock” the joints to release tension and sometimes we may gently manipulate the back to loosen the joints and you may hear a “click”. The treatment approach is discussed with you before hand so you can say what kind of approach you prefer. Joanna may incorporate sports massage techniques or use acupuncture depending on your particular back pain.
  • Treatment is different in every individual and sometimes it might involve treating other areas in the body such as the hips or neck
  • I may offer advice on your lifestyle particularly if I feel something you are doing repetitively is part of the reason why you have back pain. I may offer advice on your posture and give advice on diet and exercise or give you specific exercises.
  • If osteopathy treatment cannot completely heal or discover the cause of the back pain, Joanna may refer to your GP or a specialist for any additional investigation.

Some of the back conditions patients visit osteopaths for include:
Acute back pain
Chronic back pain
Some Disc problems
Mechanical back pain
Ankylosing spondylitis

(1) Palmer KT, Walsh K, et al. Back pain in Britain: comparison of two prevalence surveys at an interval of 10 years BMJ 2000;320:1577-1578
(2, 3)
(4) Gurry et al. (2004) looked at a multidisciplinary setting within Plymouth Primary Care Trust (PCT)46. It found that the return to work time was quicker using this service which included osteopaths than GP and physiotherapy services alone.

Links to websites…

Arthritis Research UK
National Osteoporosis Society

Backcare UK