Lower back pain is one of the most common reasons that people consult with a health professional, such as a doctor, physical therapist, or osteopath. Unfortunately for all of us, there are many mechanical ‘weak’ points in the spine due to our upright posture and these areas easily accumulate the strains of day-to-day life, not to mention acute injuries. For many of us, even by our late twenties and early thirties there can be wearing of the joints and stiffening of the spinal muscles.
Of course, these are normal changes to undergo as we age, but that doesn’t mean you lack the power to keep it at bay and avoid injury. Whether you have already experienced this or not, maintaining spinal health is essential to an enjoyable life and there are numerous ways to minimize the risk and severity of back pain.
Approaches to managing back pain
Back pain is still somewhat of a mystery. Although the medical literature of back pain is enormous, there is still no strong evidence that one treatment method is significantly more effective that everything else. We do know, however, what tends not to work so well, and what approaches are detrimental. It is of the utmost importance to be highly informed about the physiology of back pain and of your options.
For simplicity sake, healing and preventing back pain can be divided into two basic categories: standard medical care, and allied and physical medicine. Of course, everyone’s personal and physical situations differ, so it’s hard to say exactly how one should go about lower back pain. In many cases, both are used in tandem.
Standard medical care
Standard medical practice is usually the first port of call for people with a back complaint. Intervention is often quite simplistic though: advice to stay active, which is good, and prescription of medication, which can be helpful for acute issues, but very detrimental over the long term. Many doctors have gone so far as to prescribe strong opioids for patients who experience chronic back pain, a frightening fact as opioids are highly addictive and have caused a national public health emergency in many countries.
There are, of course, many physicians becoming increasingly enthusiastic and skilled in preventative healthcare.
Allied and physical medicine
There are a huge range of alternative and physical treatments for back pain. Passive treatments like acupuncture and massage seem to provide huge benefit to some people, however, that evidence that passive treatments on their own help people with chronic back pain get back on track is quite weak. In general, most people with chronic or complex back problems do better with active treatments like exercise and movement therapies in conjunction with passive treatments.
The notion that yoga or pilates could do more for your chronic pain than the decades-long wisdom of a medical doctor is difficult for many to wrap their minds around, but it’s often true. Engaging in consistent exercise that helps your body to unwind, stimulating tissues spinal tissues and be present in your body is one of the best ways to regenerate the body.
Much of back pain can be caused by tension—a result of stress, anxiety, or similar circumstances. Relieving emotional stress and physical tension and getting regular varied movement are some of the core benefits of activities like yoga. But the same goes for any non-straining, enjoyable physical activity.
Osteopathy: the best of both
Not many people are aware of what an osteopath is, and a good
Known to offer a highly effective but gentle, safe and lasting solution for acute and chronic pain, osteopathy also treats various injuries and illnesses. From abnormal body patterns and postural or functional strains to traumatic forces and restrictions in body tissues, osteopathy powerfully resolves them with a long-term fix. Whether you need low back pain treatmentor acute neck pain treatment, you can go see an osteopath to have your problem successfully addressed in a comprehensive manner.
Osteopathic treatment is appropriate for people of all ages and conditions, including pregnant women and elite athletes. Like many alternative medical approaches, osteopathy is based on the belief that the body is equipped with a natural capacity for self-healing and regulation, that the doctor must treat holistically in order to bring about true and lasting healing, that body structure and body function are interrelated, and that a radical solution will make symptoms disappear.
Osteopathy does not deal with superficial remedies or quick fixes for symptoms, but is, instead, concerned with addressing the root of the pain or illness in order to completely eradicate the problem. When just the surface issues are addressed, they are sure to recur and establish a pattern until they are truly dealt with at the very core. Osteopaths examine the living anatomy of the body to zero in on the true cause of pain. For instance, it’s very possible that the cause of knee pain actually originates from the foot or the pelvis. When the problem is taken out at the source, all other symptoms will cease to exist. With such an approach, osteopathy is able to greatly minimise the need for drugs and surgery, both invasive remedies typically prescribed in western medicine. Treatment is wholistic, including hands-on therapies, along with exercise rehabilitation and education and preventative care strategies.
It is important to be able to differentiate osteopathy from chiropractic, physical therapy, and massage therapy. For the most part, the main contrast is reflected in the fact that osteopathy is part of the practice of conventional medicine and requires formal medical education with residency training.
Where pain, injury, and illness are concerned, osteopathy is a very safe bet for a successful treatment.