Category: Back Pain

Back Pain and Sciatica

Back Pain and Sciatica

Back pain and sciatica is common, but that doesn’t mean it’s normal for it to occur.

At my Glasgow osteopathy clinic I spend much of my time assessing and treating back pain due to it’s high incidence. There are many structures in the low back which may give pain to other parts of the body. The pain and stiffness can become worse if not identified and treated sooner rather than later.

Government statistics state that “Up to 70% of people will experience back pain in their life” and that “around one in three men and one in four of women in some age groups suffered for the whole year with back pain.”

Osteopathic treatment is often the most effective first line of treatment in correcting mechanical problems caused by back pain and preventing things from becoming persistent.

Back problems are often misunderstood.

Most cases of acute low back pain are classed as ‘simple low back pain’ or ‘non-specific low back pain’. Simple low back pain means that the pain is not due to any underlying disease that can be found. In some cases the cause may be a sprain or strain or maybe even spasm of a ligament or muscle.

In other cases the cause may be a minor problem with a disc between two vertebrae, or a minor problem with a small ‘facet’ joint between two vertebrae. However, the causes of the pain are impossible to prove by tests and so it may be impossible for a doctor to say exactly where the pain is coming from, or exactly what is causing the pain.

The longer you put it off, the harder it will be to get going again.

Simple does not mean that the pain is mild – the pain can range from mild to very bad. Typically, the pain is in one area of the lower back, but sometimes it spreads to the buttock or thigh. The pain is usually eased by lying down flat, and is often made worse if you move your back, cough, or sneeze. So, simple back pain is ‘mechanical’ in the sense that it varies with posture or activity.

Problems with your back can cause pain in areas you may not associate with coming from your back. Leg pain and buttock ache, groin pain or tingling in the toes can all come from the base of the spine. This is why a back strain can be mistaken for a hamstring strain.

Conversely, a problem elsewhere in the body may give you back pain. A problem with your hip or ankle, for example, may cause you to walk differently leading to a pain in your back.

Don’t be another back pain statistic.  As an osteopath I’m ideally suited to helping you.

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Frequently asked questions about osteopathy

Back Pain Self Help

Relief for back pain

Self help tips for back pain, muscle spasm/tightness and inflammationRelief from back pain

Some quick tips from me at Glasgow osteopath to help prevent and manage lower back pain. In preventing sports injuries, I wrote about the reasons for injuries. Over Christmas, these reasons are just as valid. Hopefully, if you follow this advice, you should stay pain-free. If for any reason you do have back pain I’ve also included some self-help tips.

If unfortunately, you do get problems; you may notice your back pain feels inflamed or bruised. Your muscles may feel stiff, or they could spasm. If this post doesn’t help I will be open between Christmas and New Year

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Sitting slumped on the sofa watching TV. With the advent of bingeing on box sets and the extended time we have over Christmas watching them I expect to see an increase in back pain patients in the new year. This increased sitting can make the muscles and ligaments at the base of the spine feel as if they’ve been stretched leading to the sensation of stiffness and pain.

There are a few ways to stop this happening in the short term.

  • Make sure you support your low back. Use a cushion to stop the unsupported curling and stretching at the bottom of your spine.
  • Shorten the time spent sitting. Sitting isn’t bad, but sitting in the same position for too long maybe. The answer for this is to take breaks from sitting. Get up and do something else. Make a cup of tea (it doesn’t have to be a long break).

I discuss longer-term prevention strategies to low back pain during treatment sessions and exercises that may help

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An example of misuse that appeared in a newspaper a few years ago was lifting the turkey out of the oven while bent over. (A quick note here. In 20 years of osteopathic practice, I hadn’t seen anyone who’d hurt themselves lifting a Turkey until Christmas 2016.)
Back pain from lifting is often more likely if you’re not used to lifting, or if you never lift with a bent back. The tip here is “Lift properly”. Bend your knees rather than your back and keep the weight as *close to your body as possible. It may also be a good idea to say, when lifting the turkey, don’t keep the oven tray too close. I find burns last a lot longer than back pain.

This type of pain often feels sharper, but it is vary rare that any damage occurs. Even though you may not feel like it, movement is often the best way to start getting pain back under control.

New use, Overuse and Abuse

I’m placing these three together and aiming this at people with games consoles. With the advent of Wii and Xbox Kinect, and now the Nintendo Switch people may find that they are doing movements they’re not used to (New use). Or a competitive nature might keep you playing on to beat your top score or get even with your partner (overuse and abuse). While the technology and the games may have advanced, the same conditions exist .

Advice here;

Take frequent breaks, and vary the task
Vary the type of game you’re playing (different actions)
Don’t play “winner stays on”.

I really do hope you have a great break and that you won’t need any help or advise from me, but if you do or you’re not sure that osteopathy can help, then try one of my free 15 minute assessments.

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Disclaimer: All the information contained within this post should never take the place of a qualified Medical Practioner. In the Scotland  NHS24 will be available over the Christmas period. I can also be contacted through E-mail or Twitter.