Osteopathy – helping you to avoid pain

This is the time of the year when we are starting to venture back into the garden. Clearing vegetation may be satisfying on the one hand but may give rise to some unwelcome aches and pains on the other, especially in the low back.

You may be wondering why suffering with back pain is so common. There are many different reasons and usually it is an accumulation of stresses in the body which finally causes the symptoms. The problem can usually be traced to an accident or trauma which occurred many years previously. Often pushing a heavy wheel barrow or spending a long time bent over can aggravate an underlying problem. A case of the ‘straw that breaks the camel’s back’ is an analogy I often use. Sometimes the pain arrives some time after the injury because the body is very good at adapting to strains. However, as they accumulate, it may be something as small as tying a shoelace which can precede the onset of pain.

Some of the common types of trauma include bad postures or repetitive strains at work. Seating positions are very important as we now spend far longer sitting in front of the computer or TV. An osteopath can advise you how best to set up your chair and screen and how to prevent your trunk muscles getting lazy. Other traumas may be more direct such as falls, car accidents, dental trauma and childbirth.

Following some simple advice can help to prevent back pain.

  1. When lifting, stand in front of the object, bend your knees, keep your lower back arched and keep the object close to your body.
  2. When sitting do not slouch, push you back-side well into the seat, sit tall and support your back with a cushion if you need to.
  3. Be sensible with physical exertion, build up gradually if you are unfit.
  4. If it hurts, Stop! Pain is there for a reason. Early warnings can help you to prevent the situation getting worse.
  5. Gentle exercise such swimming or yoga can help to improve your strength and flexibility.
  6. Seek osteopathic treatment if the pain does not ease. If you have other symptoms or feel unwell, consult your doctor.
  7. Check with your osteopath after a painful episode to see if it is safe to return to normal activity.

Osteopathy is a gentle manual therapy which helps the body to function better by improving its mobility and giving pain relief. Osteopaths use a highly developed sense of touch to enable them to diagnose a problem and detect sites of trauma in the body. It also gives us information about the health of the body tissues. By using various manual techniques such as muscle release, gentle joint articulation and balance we can restore a degree of healthy functioning to the whole body.

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