Osteopathy Treats Lower Back Pain

By Dr Guy Ashburner | September 3, 2011

Osteopathy Treats Lower Back Pain

Osteopathy Treats Lower Back Pain - Over 80% of people will have low back pain at some point in their lives and in most developed countries, it is the leading cause of absenteeism from work costing millions in lost production and time off. Most back problems are the result of wear and tear on the spine over a period of time.

The high incidence of low back pain that osteopaths are required to treat, are caused by problems with the muscles, joints or ligaments of the lower back. These can lead to backache or referred pain in other parts of the body.

The range of osteopathic treatment for back pain includes massage, gentle release and soft tissue techniques myofascial release methods, muscle energy techniques. Osteopathy is ideal for dealing with back pain.

The low back is comprised of the vertebrae that constitute the spine and the muscles that are attached to it. Between each vertebra lies a disc, composed of strong, rubber-like tissue that facilitates movement and flexibility whilst additional reinforcement is provided by the ligaments attached to the adjacent vertebrae. As well as providing structure to the body, the spine protects the spinal cord, carrying nerves from the brain.

Osteopathic manipulation techniques for back pain are believed to work by reducing bulging discs and correcting the internal displacement of disc fragments, freeing adhesions around a prolapsed disc, inhibiting the transmission of nerve impulses and relaxing tense muscles through stretching.

Causes Of Low Back Pain

Non-specific/Simple Low back pain can be caused by the sprain or strain of a ligament or muscle, a dysfunction in one of the discs or a problem with one of the small facet joints between two vertebrae. Whilst these are classified as simple or non-specific low back pain, the discomfort can vary from mild to very severe. Typically the pain is located in one area of the lower back, but it can spread to other areas of the body such as the buttocks or thighs. The causes and symptoms can be treated through osteopathic interventions.

Nerve Root Irritation

Nerve Root Irritation occurs when one of the spinal nerves which exit from the spinal chord, for example the sciatic nerve, becomes irritated either by pressure from swelling due to an inflammatory reaction in an associated tissue such as a strained joint; chemical reaction or pressure on the nerve from a muscle as in piriformis syndrome. Actual nerve root pain is very severe and is either due to a prolapsed disc pressing on a nerve root or degenerative changes in the spine causing the bone to press on the nerve root.

Cauda Equina Syndrome: This is a serious and rare disorder caused by pressure on the nerves at the base of the spinal cord. Symptoms include: low back pain, disruption of bowel and bladder functions, numbness to the saddle area and weakness in the legs.

Other Causes

Inflammation of the joints, or arthritis of the spine can cause back pain. The common types of arthritis include: Osteoarthritis, Ankylosing Spondylitis and Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Less common causes of lower back pain include bone disorders, tumours and infections.


View a list of common complains that Osteopathy can assist with

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