Osteopathy and Low Back Pain. A Practioner’s view.

Osteopathy and Low Back Pain

Over the years I have experienced first hand how Osteopathy can relieve Low Back Pain.

 What is Osteopathy?

Osteopathy is a branch of medicine that considers that the musculoskeletal system has a fundamental role in wellbeing. One of it’s tenets is that structure governs function.. It is common sense to see that joints that function smoothly and efficiently will result in the optimum performance of the body generally.

 How can Osteopathy help Low Back Pain?

The skeleton is designed to work in very strict parameters and our posture is designed to provide the optimum conditions for it to function. Our bodies can tolerate wide variants to the ideal situation. We tend to take our bodies for granted especially our spine.  Our lumbar spine is our main mobility centre. All movement systems training understand this. Consider Tai Chi as an example, fluid efficient movement employs flexible hip movements whether deflecting an oncoming force to one side or the other or delivering  a force with either the right or left arm. The ability to rotate the hips is dependant on the mobility of the lumbar spine. The Lumbar spine controls rotation, flexion ( bending forward) extension ( bending backward) and side bending. The reason Osteopathy is so successful in treating low back problems is because of the understanding of the mechanics of the spine.

The Lumbar Spine



When you consider what the lumbar spine has to do it is no wonder that it runs into trouble some times.  If you check here you will get some idea of causes.

Having an overview of the situation often gives an idea of what can be done. We need to be able to separate the wood from the trees. First establish the overall situation nand then initiate a  detailed remedial approach.

The “Click”

Many people are amazed that when an Osteopath has diagnosed the problem pretty soon in the treatment a “click” has been heared as the practitioner manipulates the spine. If the practitioner has got it right the outcome is dramatic pain relief if not immediate then soon after. The “click” is when one particular vertebra has moved in relation to its neighbour. Rather like when people click their fingers as the joints seperate

Thoracic Spine

In many cases treatment of the thoracic spine ( the 12 verebrae above the 5 Lumbar vertebrae) Has a beneficial effect on the lower back. One of the reasons is that this part of the spine controls how rhe weight of the upper body is transmitted through the base of the spine.

Cauda Equina

T12/L1  Diagram Cauda Equina

A common supposition if we think about it at all is that the spinal cord runs all the way down to the base of the spine with the nerves branching of the main trunk. This is not the case.

The main trunk line of the Spinal cord stops around the T12/L1 area (sometimes a little lower) i.e. at the junction of the Lumbar and Thoracic Spine.

Why can’t My GP solve this low back problem.

Your  GP is not usually a back specialist.  The usual routine is NSAIDs or Pain killers ( Favourite as of Nov 2017  seems to be Co-codamol, which keeps the laxative companies happy (Contains codeine and paracetamol) Codeine is an opiod and can be constipating.. Then an appointment will be made for physiotherapy ( remedial exercises). Often after weeks the situation is not resolved which is where the Osteopath steps in. My advice yes do let your doctor know because you may need there referral if Xrays or scans become necessary but set in motion consultation and treatment with a specialist.

 How do I know who to visit?

All Osteopaths are state registered and all have received rigorous training and will have all the necessary knowledge and skill to solve most low back problems. If they cannot sort the situation they will know what best to do.

Word of mouth recommendation is obviously good. Osteopathy is an art as well as a skill and some Osteopaths can maybe get a good result whereas another may not. We must remember that we are dealing with an organic living structure that is part of an amazing organism

In the UK      www.osteopathy.org.uk/register-search/

In the US      http://www.osteopathic.org/

In Canada    http://www.osteopathic.ca/

If you have any questions please use the comments section below.

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