How should you actually manage low back pain?

February 19, 2018

Low Back Pain (LBP). A common ailment that affects a huge chunk of the population, having a massive impact on day-to-day lives. However, with LBP being so common, why does the management of it vary so much? And why do so many people claim to have the key to successfully treating it?



Facts about LBP


LBP will affect between 70 and 90% of us in our lifetime, increasing in likelihood up to the age of 65. It also accounts for approximately 13% of work related absences a year, making it a huge economic burden, with rates of sick days related to LBP and spinal surgery increasing in the last decade. 


But don't worry, it's not all doom and gloom. Despite the common misconception that once you get a bad back you'll have a bad back for life, 90% of patients withy LBP improve within 8 weeks!




How should you mange LBP?


Most of the time, less is more when treating LBP. Gimmicks and miracle cures aren't really any good, and in all honesty should be avoided. This is the same for old advice of bed rest...


Seeing a healthcare professional means that they can help discuss your condition, advise you on a diagnosis as well as a management plan. This usually will help re-assure you that nothing is massively damaged (as nothing usually is), but also means you can be doing the best things possible. It also means that you can be assessed for any symptoms that may need to be investigated further.


You can usually carry on doing your routine daily activities as well, which you can talk to an Osteopath/Physiotherapist about. Most of the time as well you will be provided with tailored exercise programmes that will help you on the road to recovery. 


Manual therapy, such as what you would receive from an Osteopath or Physiotherapist etc, is always best when accompanied with a tailored and structured exercise programme. 


The image below, taken from the NICE website, shows a portion of the recommended management of LBP, more specifically the parts that are relevant to manual therapies (Osteopathy, Physiotherapy etc). As you can see the use of exercise, manual therapy and sometimes psychological therapies can all be necessary individually or in combination for the treatment of LBP.





What should I be careful of when managing LBP?


In my opinion, it is always best to see a healthcare professional. Obviously you may think I'm a little bias, but this can help massively in your long-term recovery. 


In general you should be careful of;

  • Anybody who offers you a quick fix

  • Treatments that involve only electrical machines that cause electrical stimulation or traction only

  • Practitioners that offer no exercises or exercise plans at all

  • Special shoes, insoles, belts corsets etc provided on their own


The bottom line...


Be prepared to do some home exercises, keep moving and be active. This means that you can usually keep on doing your normal daily activities.


Manual therapy including soft tissue techniques, spinal manipulation and mobilisation can help as well in conjunction with other methods to manage you LBP. 



Please note, this is article is only for general advice and you should seek the opinion of a healthcare professional for full management advice for LBP. To book an appointment at Alpha Health, please call 0208 304 7237 or click here to book online.





The above information is for patients aged over 16 suffering with LBP, taken from the NICE guidelines. 


For more information on these topics please follow the following links;


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