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Back Pain and Sciatica

Facts and Statics

Back pain is the largest single cause of disability in the UK, with lower back pain alone accounting for 11% of the total disability of the UK population.

Low back pain probably affects around one-third of the UK adult population each year. Of these, around 20% (1 in 15 of the population) will consult their GP about their back pain. One year after a first episode of back pain 62% of people still have pain and 16% of those initially unable to work are not working after one year.

Treating all types of back pain costs the NHS more than £1000 million per year. In 1998 the health care costs due to back pain were £1,632M, of which £565M was the cost of non-NHS health care costs These large non-NHS costs are mainly accounted for by the use of private therapists (acupuncturists, occupational therapists, osteopaths, Massage therapists, physiotherapists and others).

Most cases of back pain aren’t caused by serious damage or disease but by minor sprains, strains, injuries, a pinched or irritated nerve, or due to poor posture that has developed over time.


Short-term, acute, back pain


If you’ve only had your pain for a few days or weeks, the following advice may help relieve your symptoms and speed up your recovery:

  • remain as active as possible and try to continue with your daily activities

  • use hot or cold compression packs – try hot and cold and see which may reduce the severity of the pain. Then apply the one that is more effective. 

Although it can be difficult to be cheerful or optimistic if you are in pain, it’s essential to stay positive as this can help you recover faster.

 Long-term, chronic, back pain

Usual treatment includes:

  • Acupuncture 

  • Physical therapy – such as Sports Massage and  osteopathy

  • Stronger painkillers – be very cautious not to become dependent on these

  • Exercise classes – where you are taught specific exercises to strengthen your muscles and improve your posture.  This includes Pilates and specific rehabilitation exercises


Risk factors

Anyone can develop back pain, even children and teens. These factors might put you at greater risk of developing back pain:

  • Age. Back pain is more common as you get older, starting around age 30 or 40.

  • Lack of exercise. Weak, unused muscles in your back and abdomen might lead to back pain.

  • Excess weight. Excess body weight puts extra stress on your back.

  • Diseases. Some types of arthritis and cancer can contribute to back pain.

  • Improper lifting. Using your back instead of your legs can lead to back pain.

  • Psychological conditions. People prone to depression and anxiety appear to have a greater risk of back pain.

  • Smoking. Smokers have increased rates of back pain. This may occur because smoking prompts more coughing, which can lead to herniated disks. Smoking can also decrease blood flow to the spine and increase the risk of osteoporosis.

How Can Acupuncture and Manual Therapy Help Your Back Pain?

With our unique vision of the body as a whole, we take a full history along with full-body assessment to understand the primary cause of your pain. Depending on the report of findings, we may use one or a combination of modalities to address both underlying cause and pain symptoms. Acupuncture along with manual therapies such as Sports Massage could help with alleviating the symptoms.
Several studies* has shown the effectiveness of acupuncture for managing the symptoms of back pain. Guidelines from the American Pain Society and American College of Physicians suggests doctors should consider acupuncture as an alternative therapy for patients with chronic low-back pain that's not helped by conventional treatment

For more informations about the studies on use of acupuncture with Back pain clease click here and here.

Image by Katherine Hanlon

If you have any questions please contact us today. We have helped many people to resolve their back pain so they can feel better and live happier.   

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