Marguerite Youngs, Kelsall
I first visited The Osteopathic Health Centre over five years ago with low back pain. I was impressed by the professionalism and friendliness of the staff and pleased with the huge improvement in my back...

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Osteopathy Neck Pain

 

Osteopathy Postural Problems

 

Osteopathy Disc Problems

 

Osteopathy Whiplash

 

Osteopathy Stiffness

 

Osteopathy Sports Injuries

 

Osteopathy Children

 

Osteopathy Children

 



At the Osteopathic Health Centre Chester we can help you recover from a host of conditions including; low back pain, neck pain, sports injuries, arthritis and muscle spasms.

We are conveniently placed for visitors coming to us from all parts of; Cheshire, Wirral, Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales, Chester, Christleton, Tattenhall, Tarporley, Malpas, Kelsall, Helsby, Frodsham, Hawarden, Great Sutton, Ellesmere Port, Queensferry, Hawarden, Flint, Wrexham.

Low Back Pain
 

Many adults at some time in their lives will be troubled by lower back pain. In some cases the pain will disappear as quickly as it came, in others low back pain can become an ongoing issue which seriously interferes with their lives.

Lower back pain is a vague term which does not explain the reason behind the pain. The key to successfully treating low back pain is to diagnose the cause, establish the sequence of events which have led to the pain developing and recognise any maintaining factors such as posture habits, work environment, unsuitable bed or stress.

 

There are many different causes of low back pain and initially it is important to distinguish between two different categories
 

  • Low back pain caused by problems within the mechanical/musculoskeletal system. This includes pain arising from muscles, ligaments, joints, discs, degenerative changes (wear and tear) and poor posture.
     
  • Back pain originating from serious pathology. This means that there may be a disease process or a serious abnormality which is causing the symptoms.

 

 

When a patient consults an osteopath a detailed case history is taken including questions about the onset and progression of symptoms, medical history, accidents, illnesses etc and then a physical examination is performed. Taking into account all the information gathered from this process an osteopath will reach a diagnosis and decide whether the patient is suitable for osteopathic treatment. If your symptoms fall into the first category it is likely that we can help. If we suspect that you fall into the second category you will be referred back to your GP for another opinion and some tests may be necessary.

 

 

Mechanical causes of low back pain – the main culprits!

The spine is like a finely tuned piece of mechanical equipment. Any mechanical stresses and strains which are more than the spine can cope with may cause injury; such as when we lift an object which is too heavy or lift in an awkward manner.

 

Minor strains, such as repeatedly bending, can cause an injury (similar to repeatedly stretching and relaxing a piece of elastic; eventually it loses the ability to spring back into shape).

 

 

Muscles

The lumbar spine has strong muscles which run on either side of the back.  There are also small muscles which run in between the individual vertebrae. It is possible to tear muscle fibres during movement resulting in pain, restricted movement and inflammation.  The most common cause of muscle pain in the low back is when the muscles go into spasm (hypertonic) which may be secondary to another injury such as a ligament or disc strain.  The muscles can over contract as a protective mechanism; the body’s way of trying to prevent damage by immobilisation.  This muscular response results in pain and restricted movement which begins to lessen in severity as the underlying injury heals.

 

Ligament Strains

Ligaments connect one bone to another and in the spine they run from the top of one vertebra to the bottom of the vertebra above helping to contain the disc.  They also connect the pelvic bones to the spine and run in between the small facet joints.
 

Ligaments can be strained by traumatic injuries such as falls, sudden unanticipated movements, repetitive movements or postural fatigue.


Ligament strains in the low back are common and can be slow to recover if there is poor muscle tone such as weak abdominal muscles.

 

Disc strains/prolapses

The discs in the spine function as shock absorbers and are another cause of low back pain  See Disc Problems.

 

Sciatica

Sciatica is a medical term which means pain felt in the course of the sciatic nerve and it may accompany low back pain. See Sciatica.

 

Postural Problems

The lumbar spine has a curve in it from front to back which is called a lordosis.  For optimum function this curve needs to be maintained within normal limits. 
 

An exaggerated lordosis can place an increased mechanical strain on the ligaments, discs and joints resulting in strain. Someone with this condition will be likely to experience pain when standing for long periods of time. Weak or unconditioned stomach muscles can contribute to this problem. As osteopaths we commonly see this condition after abdominal surgery or in women after having children. Sometimes it can simply be as a result of the way in which your individual spine is constructed. 

With careful treatment and advice regarding exercise this condition can usually be brought under control. Sitting slouched at work or when relaxing in the evening curves the spine outwards and can strain the ligaments at the base of the spine. See our section on  Postural Problems.

 

 

How the Osteopathic Health Centre can help 

Osteopaths look at each person as an individual, taking into account how the problem has arisen, posture, life style and any on-running mechanical stresses and strains which may be preventing the injury from resolving.

 

We aim to alleviate back pain by improving the mechanical function of the spine using gentle manual techniques delivered using the hands and by supplementing the treatment with individually tailored advice regarding exercise, posture and how to use your spine.