Can Osteopathy help lower back pain?

Can Osteopathy help lower back pain? Did you know research shows that there is moderate to strong evidence for the use of mobilisation, soft tissue techniques and manipulation for lower back pain. A 2018 primary care guideline review for the management of simple lower back pain is to avoid the use of pain medications where possible.

Our newest team member Osteopath Dr Joshua Kelsall answers the question Can Osteopathy help lower back pain?

Lower back pain… Can Osteopathy help?

Osteopaths are commonly thought to be skilled in dealing with the spine, which is probably why most patients we see present with back pain. Osteopaths train to assess and diagnose a wide range of musculoskeletal conditions including back pain. We can often assist in resolving and managing your back pain. It’s common for a patient to have 2-4 treatments with an Osteopath and feel better and like they their issue is resolved. On the other hand, it’s also very common for a patient to have treatment every 4-6 weeks to manage the pain, effects of lifestyle and maintain optimal function and avoid flare-ups.

How common is back pain?

60-90% of the population will experience lower back pain in their lifetime. If you haven’t yet, it is likely you are going to at some point. Fortunately, 40% of the time, your back pain should resolve within the week, with the right care/management. For those not so lucky, around 44% of people will experience chronic lower back pain. Chronic lower back pain can greatly affect daily tasks and is a common cause of days off work. So, who can help?

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence advises.

“manual therapy (spinal manipulation, mobilisation or soft tissue techniques such as massage) for managing low back pain with or without sciatica.”

This should also be accompanied with prescribed exercises tailored to your needs. Osteopaths train to do exactly this! Many people who visit a GP with back pain are prescribed pain killers without any exercises or physical treatment. I do not advise not seeing a GP or not using pain killers but in the absence of serious pathology there is strong evidence for manual therapy and the reduction of back pain (Hidalgo et al., 2013). There is also mounting evidence against the use of pain killers for simple lower back pain where possible

So why see an Osteopath? 

In my experience with treating back pain, I find the longer a patient puts up with pain the longer it takes to resolve. I’ve had many patients put up with the pain for months to years before they finally do something about it. Often when they do seek help it can be bought under control within a few sessions. We can educate and provide a plan, advice and treatment to keep it at bay or under control. My recommendation is don’t put up with pain, book in to see an Osteopath to have your pain properly assessed, diagnosed and a treated.

You can see Osteopath Dr Joshua Kelsall at our Brisbane City and James Street New Farm Clinics Tuesday – Saturdays. Click here to book with Joshua

Hidalgo, B., Detrembleur, C., Hall, T., Mahaudens, P. and Nielens, H. (2013). The efficacy of manual therapy and exercise for different stages of non-specific low back pain: an update of systematic reviews. Journal of Manual & Manipulative Therapy, 22(2), pp.59-74. Read the article here

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