Lower back pain is one of the most common problems to affect people of all ages with 8 out of 10 people estimated to suffer from lower back pain at some stage in their lives.
Although often acutely painful, lower back pain is not usually as serious as it may seem to the patient and is often due to sprains and strains of the soft tissues such as ligaments, tendons, muscles, joints or discs. If treated early and not allowed to become a chronic problem, a quick and full recovery can be expected.
Research has shown that spinal manipulation (such as performed by Osteopaths) provides better short-term improvement in pain and activity levels than other treatment options, resulting in higher patient satisfaction and that manipulative therapies, such as Osteopathy, combined with an exercise programme is the most effective treatment for back pain. NICE (the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) has issued guidelines to GPs for the management of lower back pain which includes a recommendation to suggest manipulative therapy such as Osteopathy as part of a package of care.
Lower back pain is sometimes accompanied by sciatica, irritation or compression of the sciatic nerve, causing symptoms such as pain, pins & needles and numbness in the leg. Whilst the recovery time for patients with sciatica is often longer, it can still be successfully treated with manipulative therapy.
Occasionally, patients may require referral back to their GP or to a specialist for further investigations.