I have had quite a few clients present to the clinic recently with both acute and chronic lower back pain. Traditional assessment and orthopedic testing has suggested that there has been some underlying facet joint restriction in the lumbar spine with associated tightness/spasm/guarding of the surrounding musculature that is somewhat related to their reason for attending the clinic.

Often these clients respond well to osteopathic manual therapy and find that there pain reduces and range of movement improves over several sessions. The issue with this though, is that often they find themselves suffering from the same problem some months down the track, often to seek out the same treatment to alleviate the symptoms. It is very important to reduce pain and improve movement so that the individual can resume daily activities without any issue, however it is also just as important to identify why this injury is occurring, as well as any musculoskeletal or non musculoskeletal factors are maintaining or aggravating back pain.

Commonly I find that when I carry out a more dynamic or functional assessment (this involves gait assessment, single leg balance & reach excursion tests, assessing functional movement patterns such as squat and lunge etc), the clients movement patterns quickly reveal that there might be issues further afield that could well be contributing to their current pain state. Typically areas that observed to be contributing include the thoracic spine, hip and foot/ankle. Once treatment, prescription of stretches, mobilisers and corrective exercise are put in place to address these areas of either lack of mobility or excessive mobility, they find that their back pain either subsides or the frequency of their back pack pain episodes reduces.

As Osteopaths we are taught that the body is a whole and we pride ourselves on not just looking at and/or treat the area of pain. A tight hip flexor can lead to poor hip extension which can lead to one overloading their facet joint. The same can be said with someones thoracic spine that doesn’t extend or rotate well. Someone who presents with a foot/ankle joint that doesn’t function well in the upright position can have a big impact further up the chain, possibly leading to one developing pain in their lower back at some stage down the track due to compensation.

Sometimes you may ask why the Osteopath is treating one area of the body when it doesn’t relate to the sight of pain. This is often because they suspect that this area is somewhat contributing to the problem and believe that addressing this musculoskeletal area will not only improve your symptoms, but also reduce the risk of further recurrence. It is important that you carry out those exercises prescribed by the Osteopath to help improve your mobility and/or strength so that further back pain episodes can be reduced.

To find out more about osteopathy at Principle Four Osteopathy, please call 03 9670 9290 or email info@principle4.com. At Principle Four Osteopathy we have an interest in both hands on manual therapy and exercise prescription. Your Osteopath will identify and give you an explanation as to what is going on, as well as provide you a treatment and management strategy to avoid further recurrence. Principle Four Osteopathy is located in the heart of the Melbourne City CBD 3000 at 29 Somerset Place, near the corner of Little Bourke & Elizabeth St. Check us out at www.principlefourosteopathy.com

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