Back Pain: Causes & Treatments
Back pain, particularly in the lower region, is an issue that we frequently encounter and treat in our patients. Lower back pain refers to discomfort experienced in the lumbar region of the spine (hence the now largely outdated term, “lumbago”).
Back pain symptoms range from stiffness and aching to sharp, severe pain, and they can affect people of all ages and lifestyles. In fact, nearly everyone will experience back pain at some point in their lives. Unsurprisingly, for some individuals, chronic back pain can be highly debilitating and mentally draining.
The root causes of back pain are numerous and diverse, but the most prevalent ones include:
- Facet joint pain
- Disc Injuries (disc prolapse)
- Muscle Strains
Our multi-disciplinary clinic specialises in diagnosing and treating back pain using a range of cutting-edge, modern therapies. These include osteopathy, physiotherapy, chiropractic, therapeutic massage, dry needling, and our state-of-the-art rehabilitation suite, with support from our private doctor if required.
Understanding Facet Joint Pain
Each vertebra in your spine articulates with the segment above and below via small joints called facets. These joints are designed to allow for free movement of your spine but also help its stability.
The joints have a good nerve supply and provide positional awareness feedback to your central nervous system – where and how your body is positioned and how it’s moving.
These nerves, which obtain their information from the joint capsule, also link to, and supply, the surrounding deep spinal muscles – collectively called the ‘paraspinal’ muscles.
Unfortunately, your facet joints can sometimes “lock up”. There are numerous reasons why and how this can happen, either through injury, or if you’ve overloaded your back with unusual stresses such as from moving house or heavy gardening. Conversely, you can find yourself suffer from facet joint sensitivity simply because you’re not moving enough – such as when you’ve been sitting for long periods.
If one or more of your facets become sensitive then their movement will be restricted by the surrounding muscles, which will contract or ‘tense’ in a protective manner. This can often lead to pain, which can be debilitating.
At Acer House Practice, our osteopaths, physiotherapists, chiropractors, and other healthcare professionals employ a variety of advanced techniques to swiftly alleviate your pain, ranging from deep soft tissue massage to joint manipulation.
We may also give you exercises to enhance your lumbar spine mobility or strengthen the surrounding muscles as well as identify the cause of your problem to minimise the risk of recurrence.
Disc Prolapse or “Slipping a Disc”
The term “slipped disc” is a misnomer. Discs are made of a gel-like substance and separate the vertebrae in your spine. They provide cushioning along the length of your spinal column and help absorb shock and perform essential movements such as bending and twisting.
If you put excessive pressure on a disc, for example, by lifting or twisting, it can lead to a “bulging” disc. If the bulge worsens, the disc can tear, resulting in a herniated or prolapsed disc (the so-called “slipped disc”). If this protrusion presses on a nerve or the resulting inflammation irritates it, the pain can intensify significantly and even radiate down your leg – causing sciatica.
Our osteopathic, physiotherapy and chiropractic treatments include soft tissue massage, articulation, and stretches to modulate pain of the surrounding region and potentially relieve pressure on the disc and/or nerves.
We might use gentle movements, such as sciatic nerve neurodynamic exercises, to help your recovery and, if required, we may refer you for further investigations, such as an MRI scan, to determine the best course of treatment and recovery time frames.
Our doctor may also prescribe you with medication or refer you for further interventions, if required. Severe disc injuries may necessitate steroid injections or even surgery but, fortunately, this is rare because our physiotherapy and osteopathy treatment helps most disc injuries to recover.
Once our clinician thinks it is appropriate, they will move you on towards recovery, which might include exercises or working in our own rehabilitation suite.
What our patients say about us
Being a Professional Team GB freestyle skier I was experiencing issues with my knees, I dropped into Acer house for a physiotherapy session with Phil Jeffs who was excellent… I feel a remarkable difference. Highly recommend.
Peter is amazing at what he does, very professional and caring. Acer House Practice is a very smart, beautiful practice with very modern facilities.
I highly recommend both Peter and Acer House Practice.
Located in the picturesque village of Farningham in Kent, Acer House Practice is easily accessed by road and public transport with free parking on site or within the village.