At Bright Osteopathy we see a lot of patients suffering with lower back pain, it’s probably the most common type of injury we see in the clinic and it can be debilitating. Lower back pain refers to pain in your lumbosacral area, which is from your 12th ribs to the top of the pelvis and in some cases pain can be referred down into the buttocks and the legs.

Lower back pain affects 60% of the UK population at some point during their life. The pain and symptoms associated with lower back pain can range from mild to acute and the symptoms can have a detrimental effect on people’s lives. Our osteopaths feel it’s important to understand and establish the cause of your symptoms as quickly as possible and putting an effective management strategy in place can prevent symptoms from becoming chronic.

The National Institute for Health & Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines recommend manual therapy – such as osteopathy, which includes spinal manipulation, mobilisation and soft tissue techniques for treating lower back pain with or without sciatica as part of a treatment package which includes exercise.

Can An Osteopath Help With Back Pain?

A woman wearing black sportwear having back pain

Yes, we can! Osteopaths are highly trained to help you understand and diagnose the cause of your back pain. Osteopaths do this by taking a thorough history from the patient to find out where their pain is, when their symptoms started and whether the patient has an history of similar symptoms as well as a thorough medical history. The osteopath then examines the patient to find out what movements aggravate their symptoms. By getting a thorough understanding of your symptoms, the osteopath can make an accurate diagnosis and provide tailored hands on treatment. We will also provide you with exercises to help with your symptoms in the short and long term, helping you get back to what you love as quickly as we can.

How Bright Osteopathy Helps With Back Pain

Our osteopaths at Bright Osteopathy are passionate about helping you live more comfortably. Whether this is being able to tackle day to day activities without back pain, do a day at work comfortably or compete in a sporting event we can help you understand your back pain better and put an effective management plan in place.

Back pain can have a big impact on peoples life as it can be difficult to do even the simplest of tasks without being reminded of your pain and because of this we think it’s important to establish the cause of your symptoms sooner rather than later.

Our osteopaths use hands on techniques to help alleviate your symptoms, these include articulation and mobilisation of joints and soft tissue techniques to help massage muscles, ligaments and tendons which allows them to work together in a more balanced way. Our practitioners are also trained in Western Acupuncture (dry needling) which is a technique aimed at releasing myofascial trigger points helping muscles relax, be less painful and improve their range of movement. Our osteopaths can also help and advise you on the best, most suited exercises and stretches for your symptoms for both the short and long term management.

Our aim is to get you back functioning as soon as we can, whether this is being able to work pain free, getting you back playing golf once a week or running a marathon at the weekend, the goals for our patients vary, but we are committed to helping you live as comfortably as we can. We aim to help educate our patients and help them understand the cause of their symptoms, giving them the ability to be more in control of their pain.

What Happens When An Osteopath Cracks Your Back?

The technical name for the ‘click’ is a cavitation, which is defined as the formation of vapour or gas bubbles in a liquid. In our body, the liquid in our joints is synovial fluid which is a thick, viscose liquid that helps provides cushioning and reduces friction in our joints. The ‘click’ happens when there is a reduction in pressure which occurs through a mixture of gas and liquid. When there is a separation in the joint, the gas bubbles formed in the synovial fluid vaporises and the gas bubble gets released giving rise to the audible noise you hear. The noise has come to define this technique, but the evidence concludes that the technique works just as well with or without hearing the pop – it might just be slightly less satisfying for the patient & the practitioner!

These ‘clicks & pops’ can occur spontaneously when getting up from being seated for example, you might hear a click from your ankles or knees. However, when visiting an osteopath, they may use joint manipulations during your treatment to help provide relief from your pain, if these techniques are suitable for you and you may hear a click from the joint.

The technique is commonly used by osteopaths, chiropractors and physiotherapists to help treat neck and back pain. It involves a quick thrust to a joint over a short lever, which it is called a high velocity thrust (HVT). A common, but old belief is that HVTs put bones back into place. This was once a belief by practitioners, but as explained above, the evidence now shows us this isn’t the case. Sometimes patients will say it feels like it needs clicking back into place – In our clinical experience this is often when a patient is suffering with acute back pain, with muscle spasm and / or joint restriction which manual therapy can help with.

What does Spinal Manipulation or HVT do?

  • Increase the range of movement at a joint 
  • Help treat both acute and chronic back pain 
  • Reduced muscle tension 
  • Release endorphins – which helps modulate the inflammatory process, promoting analgesia.