This is mainly associated with the lower back, but it may also occur higher up, in the thoracic spine. Back pain is a condition that affects most people at some time during their life, with pain and stiffness being the most frequent symptoms.
In some cases, it gets better without the need for any treatment. However, in others, there are repeated episodes, or it becomes chronic. Back pain can also be associated with other symptoms, such as leg pain, sciatica or chest pain.
It often results from:
- An injury involving a sudden movement.
- Repetitive movements.
- Poor posture.
- Injuries to other parts of the body.
This can then be aggravated by:
- Bending awkwardly.
- Lifting, carrying, pushing or pulling incorrectly.
Sometimes back pain happens for no apparent reason, such as waking with it or making a small movement like bending forward to pick up a coffee from the table.
Problems with the back that may lead to pain are muscle strain, ligament sprain, disc bulge with possible associated nerve irritation, fascial tightness, sacroiliac joint dysfunction and facet joint syndrome.
In order to properly treat back pain, it is necessary to identify the painful structures and where the pain is coming from. Even though the pain may be felt in the back, the problem may originate in another part of the body, such as the knee, ankle or ribs.
Medical investigations such as X-rays and MRI's may not pinpoint the cause of the back pain. It may be because the back is not the original problem or the problem is not something doctors are looking for, such as misalignment of vertebrae. This is where Osteopathy is very helpful. Osteopaths are able to feel misalignment in the spine or other joints and slight swelling in the tissues that may not show up on X-ray or MRI.