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Low Back Pain

The lumbar spine is a complex load bearing area also providing the neural supply to the legs and many internal organs. It is greatly affected by posture and biomechanical dysfunction, and can cause debilitating pain. Back pain is very common and may be due to a variety of tissues:

  • Muscle Strain
  • Ligament sprain
  • Facet joint irritation
  • Nerve irritation
  • Disc herniation
  • Sacroiliac dysfunction

These tissues may not necessarily be the cause of the problem, but just the weak link in the chain. A pelvic torsion is a very common cause of back pain, as it causes an artificial leg length difference. The base of the spine is then no longer level and to compensate the spine has to curve sideways, resulting in the muscles on one side being stretched and on the other side being shortened. This causes muscle strain and can lock up the vertebrae of the spine causing facet joint inflammation and pain. Massaging the muscles of the back in this case will only result in symptomatic relief and the pain will soon return. Correction of the pelvis is required, and this can be done by articulation or manipulation. This allows the base of the spine to become level and allows the spine to return to the neutral position.

Osteopathy is most famous for treating low back pain, and the results sometimes can be spectacular - a patient hobbles in, doubled-up with pain, and after one manipulation is restored back to full health. The Osteopath then earns the accolade of 'Best Osteopath in Town' from that patient. Unfortunately not all back pain responds in this manner - it depends on the tissues causing the injury. An acute facet joint irritation, for example, can respond extremely well to manipulation and may need no further treatment. A ligament sprain in the back, however, just like a ligament sprain to the ankle will take far longer to heal, as it has a poor blood supply. While one treatment cures to back pain can and do happen, it is wise to be realistic when you visit an Osteopath.


Hitchin Osteopathic Clinic, Old Park Dental Surgery, 72 Old Park Road, Hitchin, Hertfordshire SG5 2JT 01462 432609