Back Pain, More than Just an Ache?

If you are like many other people in the Worthing, Sompting, Lancing, Offington, Goring-by-sea, Tarring, and Broadwater area you may benefit from osteopathic practice. You have likely felt back pain at one point or another and may benefit from Osteopathy. Studies have found that 29% (confidence interval 95%) of the population of the U.K. have back pain at any given point (Webb et al. 2003).

When back pain comes on there is always a degree of uncertainty surrounding what is the problem and why I have this pain. In the beginning, it is quite easy to think ‘o it is just an ache it’ll go away. The first question one should ask themselves is how long I should wait until I go and get this checked out. The simple answer is it depends. The lengthier answer to this question should come from three simple metrics. These are pain scores on a scale of 1-10, how did it happen i.e. traumatic injury or general delayed onset muscle soreness? Or is it getting worse with time? If you are answering a pain score of about 4/10, it is not just a bit of normal soreness after the gym and it doesn’t appear to be getting better on its own after a week it may be best to go and get it checked out. Osteopaths use a variety of assessments to gain a better understanding of a pathology which include a detailed case history, active and passive assessment, as well as orthopaedic and special tests.

There are several pathologies that could be wrong with a person, such as-  

Non-Specific Mechanical back pain – low back pain not attributable to a recognizable known specific pathology i.e. infection, tumor, osteoporosis, fracture, structural deformity, inflammatory disorder, radicular syndrome, or cauda equina syndrome (Abbott, J et al. 2006)

Muscle strain / neuromuscular disorders- Since muscles act as a target organ, their state of tension is modulated by electrical information from the motor component of the corresponding spinal nerve. Thus, an irritation of a spinal nerve root can cause an increase of the muscle tone (Mueller-Wohlfahrt 2013).

Stenosis – anatomically can involve the central canal, lateral recess, foramina, or any combination of these locations. Central canal stenosis may result from a decrease in the anteroposterior, transversal, or combined diameter secondary to loss of disc height with or without bulge of the intervertebral disc and hypertrophy of the facet joints and the ligament flavum (Genevay and Atlas 2010).

Disc bulge / herniation – Loss of hydration and disc collapse, which increases strain on the fibers of the annulus fibrosus surrounding the disc. Tears and fissures in he annulus can result facilitating a herniation of disc material, should sufficient forces be placed on the disc (Schoenfeld and Weiner 2010).

Radiculopathy / Nerve root irritation – a syndrome of pain or sensorimotor deficits due to compression of a nerve root (Caridi et al. 2011)

Get back to doing the things you love

All these pathologies are cause for concern and would be a reason to go and see an osteopath to help reduce the symptoms and aid you on your journey to not only improve your overall health but as well to help you get back to doing the things that you love doing the most. Sports such as cricket, rugby, golf football, and water sports could all be severely impacted because of your back pain. Osteopaths are not only for those that want to get back to playing sports though. Osteopathy can as well be beneficial for people who just want to be able to get a good night’s sleep, be able to reach into the bottom cupboards, reach the top shelf in their kitchen or in general just be able to perform their activities of daily living.

If any of this sounds like something, you may be experiencing please come into Worthing Osteopathic and Wellbeing and let us help you and your back pain.

Abbott, J.H., Fritz, J.M., McCane, B., Shultz, B., Herbison, P., Lyons, B., Stefanko, G. and Walsh, R.M., 2006. Lumbar segmental mobility disorders: comparison of two methods of defining abnormal displacement kinematics in a cohort of patients with non-specific mechanical low back pain. BMC musculoskeletal disorders7(1), pp.1-11.

Caridi, J.M., Pumberger, M. and Hughes, A.P., 2011. Cervical radiculopathy: a review. HSS Journal®7(3), pp.265-272.

Genevay, S. and Atlas, S.J., 2010. Lumbar spinal stenosis. Best practice & research Clinical rheumatology24(2), pp.253-265.

Schoenfeld, A.J. and Weiner, B.K., 2010. Treatment of lumbar disc herniation: Evidence-based practice. International journal of general medicine3, p.209.

Mueller-Wohlfahrt, H.W., Haensel, L., Mithoefer, K., Ekstrand, J., English, B., McNally, S., Orchard, J., van Dijk, C.N., Kerkhoffs, G.M., Schamasch, P. and Blottner, D., 2013. Terminology and classification of muscle injuries in sport: the Munich consensus statement. British journal of sports medicine47(6), pp.342-350.

Webb, R., Brammah, T., Lunt, M., Urwin, M., Allison, T. and Symmons, D., 2003. Prevalence and predictors of intense, chronic, and disabling neck and back pain in the UK general population. Spine28(11), pp.1195-1202.

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