What is Back Pain?

Most back pain is simple back pain (or backache), pain that is linked to the way in which the bones, ligaments and muscles of the back work together.

This pain usually: 

  • Occurs as a result of lifting, bending or straining.
  • Comes and goes.
  • Most often affects the lower back.
  • Does not usually signify and permanent damage.
  • Some back pain is linked to nerve root pain. 

This is much less common than simple back pain which accounts for about 5% of back pain cases. Nerve root pain is usually caused by compression of the start of a nerve as it leaves the spinal cord. Herniated discs (commonly, but incorrectly, called slipped discs) are one cause of nerve root pain.

Symptoms of back pain

Pain itself is a very subjective feeling and its perceived severity is highly influenced by personal opinion and the circumstances under which itoccurs. 

The symptoms of back pain can vary hugely from one person to the next.

They include:·        

  • Aching     
  • Stiffness    
  • Numbness  
  • Weakness
  • Tingling (pins and needles)

Coughing or sneezing can often make back pain much worse by causing the muscles of the back to go into painful spasm. The pain may start in your back but may travel elsewhere. It often goes into the buttocks but may go further down the leg and even into the foot.

If the pain gets really bad or lasts for a long time, you may experience:      

  • Difficulty passing urine      
  • Difficulty sleeping  
  • Sexual problems    
  • Depression

Osteopathy for Back Pain

Osteopathy uses the manipulation of the body and the spine to cure disease. Over half of the people who go to an osteopath do so for back pain. Osteopaths use their hands and fingers to feel the patient's body and identify damaged areas. 

These areas may have a slightly different temperature or tone or respond differently to movement than normal healthy areas of the body. Once the injured area has been found, a variety of manual techniques are used to try to correct the problem. Osteopathy usually also involves a special form of massage that helps muscles relax and lets joints move more easily.

Osteopathy is not recommended for some people with back pain, including people with brittle bone conditions or inflamed joints, and women in the early stages of pregnancy.