Why does your low back hurt? An osteopath's approach
Did you know that the Australia bureau of statistics estimates 70-90% of the population will suffer from low back pain at some point in their lives!? You are not alone. Here at Wellness on Hopetoun we treat patients with low back pain DAILY! It is actually one of the most common things our Osteopaths see here at our practice.
Osteopaths are trained to take a detailed medical history to determine if your pain is due to a muscle strain or joint sprain, or something more serious that requires referral to your local doctor. After taking your history osteopaths conduct an examination; this will involve you performing some movements, such as bending forward, or rotating your back from left to right, and palpation of certain muscles and joints. This is to help your osteopath determine what structure is causing your pain.Some structures that can cause of low back pain are;
Now, that’s the easy part! Determining which structure is causing your pain is normally quite straight forward; it gets a little more complex when we ask “why?”. Your osteopath will want to look further into why you are experiencing your pain.
Sometimes it will be due to something you are doing in your everyday life.
Is it your poor posture while at work?
Do you sit for too many hours of the day?
Do you have poor technique while lifting weights of running?
Does you mattress need updating?
Sometimes it’s due to a structural cause.
Do you have flat feet?
Is one of your legs slightly longer than the other?
Do you have scoliosis?
Have you previously injured your low back?
Sometimes it is due to a restriction or weakness elsewhere in the body.
Do you have limited upper back movement?
Are your hips functioning properly?
Do your buttock muscles and core support your low back properly?
Sometimes, and more often than not, it’s a combination of the above.
For example you may have a weakness in your buttock muscles from sitting for too many
hours of the day, or you have tight hips due to having flat feet. That's why we take a “whole body"
approach to your low back pain. We wont just treat where it hurts, we
will ask ourselves why it hurts.
Think of it like a house on stumps, if the stumps are sinking this may lead to the plaster
cracking. If you just continued to patch up the plaster (just treating the site of pain), the cracks
would continue to appear until you had
your house re-stumped (addressed the cause of your pain).
Have a think if you can identify what might be causing your low back pain; it might be as simple as buying a new mattress or changing your workplace desk set up. If you're not sure, book in with one of our Osteopaths, we would love to help. Once we identify the cause of your pain we will tailor your treatment plan specifically to you.Your treatment plan will consist of;
- Hands on manual treatment: which may include stretching, soft tissue massage, joint manipulation, dry needling and taping. These techniques may result in looser muscles, increased mobility in your joints and a decrease in pain.
- Lifestyle advice: such as ideal sitting or sleeping posture, recommendation of heat or ice, which exercises to do, and which to avoid.
- Exercise prescription: including stretches, mobility and strengthening exercises.