Osteopathy is a system for detecting, treating, and preventing health issues by massaging, stretching, and moving a person’s joints and muscles. This system is based on the principle that the wellbeing of a person depends on their connective tissues, ligaments, muscles, and bones functioning together smoothly. In this blog post, we will take a look at how osteopathy can help with lower back pain specifically.
What is an osteopath?
Osteopaths use massage, stretch, and physical manipulation to help the body to heal, enhancing blood supply to tissues, relieving muscle tension, and increasing the mobility of the joints. They are focused on getting your body back into a state of balance. A range of techniques are used, but two things that are not are surgery or drugs.
Treating different types of lower back pain with osteopathy
Lower back pain is one of the most frequent reasons people visit osteopathy clinics. Even though the pain can feel like you’ve got severe damage in your back, this is not always the case.
When it comes to back problems, traditional treatment can be restricted because x-rays tend to have limited value in terms of revealing why a person is in pain. You could have a perfect back on an x-ray, yet you may be in agony.
A lot of cases of back pain tend to occur because the spine has become more and more restricted as time has gone on. This means that movement is too focused on one part of your spine, rather than being shared between it all. This can cause painful spasms, even with trivial movement, such as bending down to pick something up from the floor.
The good news is that this type of lower back pain is typically easy to treat. After visiting your osteopath, you can expect significant relief of pain, with most problems being resolved fully within six weeks.
Back pain also commonly arises from disc problems, especially in young adults. Such issues are often caused by lifting and bending. They can result in sciatica, which can cause shooting pain down the back of your leg.
Spinal disc injuries can take several months to get better, as they are continually under pressure from the weight of the rest of the body. The type of tissue they are made from also results in a longer recovery period.
By seeing an osteopath, they will help to focus on maximising movement everywhere else, so that the impacted area - whether this is a spinal disc or another part of your spine - is not under unnecessary stress, helping you to recover as quickly and effectively as possible.
Other reasons for back pain include slips and falls, osteoarthritis, and fractures. Back pain is also common during pregnancy, and osteopathic treatment is considered safe and gentle for both the mother and baby.
Different osteopathic techniques used to ease back pain
There are a number of manual techniques that an osteopath can use in order to try and lower back pain. The focus here is to relieve muscle tension while also increasing joint movement. The techniques chosen will depend on the part of the spine that’s causing trouble, as well as the pain being experienced.
These techniques include massage, whereby the osteopath will directly apply pressure to soft tissues in your back with the purpose of relieving pain and reducing any tension in your pack. Manipulation is another technique that may be used. This is when the osteopath will make a faster thrusting action with their hands at a specific point on your spine. This can help improve nerve function, lower inflammation in your back, and relieve pressure on the joints in your spine.
Lymphatic pump techniques may also be used to aid the movement of lymph (fluid in the body), correcting any blockages around the spine that may be causing pain. If the osteopath is trying to increase the range of motion in your spine, they may find it useful to ask you to push against them, while they apply force back in a specific area. This is known as the muscle energy technique. These are just a handful of techniques that may be used.
So, how do these techniques help back pain?
The manual techniques that are used in osteopathy will improve how your back works, as well as relieving pain. The effects can last long enough so that you can get moving again and start doing the activities you love so much. For back pain, keeping active, rather than resting, is the best approach. There have been numerous studies that have shown that osteopathy is just as effective as other back pain treatments, and it does not involve any drugs or surgery.