The body is amazing at self-healing. Especially when young, the body can easily adapt to the strain it endures. However, eventually our body loses some of its elasticity – particularly in the discs between the vertebrae and joint cartilage in the spine. When these become restricted, their range is decreased as is the local circulation to the surrounding fluids and tissues.
Problems with the spine may also be brought on by trauma, whether one incident, or repetitive strain. What may seem like a minor strain may actually be severe and take longer to heal than expected. Other past injuries, new demands and stress can aggravate the condition to a debilitating point. Other common causes of back pain include poor muscle tone, lack of regular exercise, obesity, smoking, poor posture, muscle imbalance, sacroiliac dysfunction and depression.
While you might think back pain is the only indication of trauma to the spine, we frequently see other health issues. All stresses affect our immune systems, and a depleted immune system can manifest in different ways.
Common associated symptoms are:
- Undue fatigue
- Menstruation problems
- Vulnerability to infections
- Mood swings
- Disturbed sleep
- Digestive problems
- Clicking jaw
- Pain in arms and legs
Some of the specific concerns we look for and treat include the following:
- Muscle imbalances – Imbalance in the hip flexors and gluteal muscles can contribute to back pain.
- Posture – We use our joint receptors to bring information to the brain that affects our balance and spatial awareness. If there are old injuries and accumulated scar tissue, our joint receptors may not function correctly, affecting our ability to contract our back muscles in coordination with other trunk muscles.
- Abdominal issues – All our abdominal organs are attached to the spine. If these organs are not moving freely, they may impact the back’s ability to move with ease.
Osteopathic treatment for back pain and spinal concerns is approached from a holistic perspective. We see the interconnection between the different systems on the body.
In an initial examination, you may be asked to perform some simple physical actions such as walking in a straight line or touching your toes, so that we can observe mobility blockages and how your body is compensating. We then manually examine your spine, joints, muscles and tendons to identify points of restriction or excessive stress, using our finely attuned touch.
Osteopathic Practitioners use a range of gentle manual treatments that may include stretching soft tissue to improve circulation and flexibility, passive mobilization of joints, and muscle energy work that involves stretching and resistance efforts.
Osteopathic Practitioners are also great believers in preventative medicine. Thus we may make suggestions for managing your lifestyle to avoid recurrence of back pain and associated issues.