Osteopathy and Back Pain
It is reported that around 80% of people will experience some sort of back pain during their life.
According to the Global Burden of Disease 2010, low back pain is the single leading cause of disability worldwide, and one of the most common reasons for missed work. Perhaps not surprisingly the majority of those workers are in sedentary occupations; spending the bulk of their day sitting at a desk.
There are many different reasons for back pain ranging from arthritic changes, poor posture, incorrect ergonomic setup, lack of exercise, limited flexibility, genetic factors and weight gain. Fortunately many of these are preventable and treatable. Pain is a warning, and if we ignore the initial subtle pain signals we run the risk of the pain progressively getting worse.
Important factors affecting Low Back Pain
- Back pain is closely correlated to a lack of exercise. Exercise generally improves blood flow and muscle strength, relieves muscle tension and alleviates the build-up of stress in the body. Eloquently said by Aristotle; “movement is life”. One of the reasons we aim to have optimal mobility in our bodies is to reduce the stiffness that builds up in our bodies. If there is reduced mobility in our musculoskeletal system it requires more energy to maintain the status quo, and we start to compensate for the restricted areas.
- Sleeping is the time our bodies desperately need to restore and repair during the night. Bad sleeping habits, insomnia and a poor sleeping posture all affect the overall health of our bodies, especially over a prolonged time period. If pain is worse in the mornings it is often a sign of inflammation. Spending a couple of minutes stretching out your lower back before getting out of bed will help ease this.
- Work posture is one of the key components when it comes to managing back pain. It is advised to explore the option of having a stand-up desk which allows you to change between sitting and standing. When sitting at a desk, the spine should be completely supported, with a concave low back support; either a feature of the chair, or use a small pillow behind the lower back. Sitting forward leaning towards the computer screen places huge demands on the unsupported spinal muscles as well as the neck muscles. Slouching also encourages the shoulders to roll forward and causes strain on the lower back.