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Chronic Back pain and Osteopathy

Updated: Mar 30

Chronic pain is a debilitating condition that affects millions of people worldwide. From back pain to arthritis, chronic pain can have a significant impact on a person's quality of life and overall well-being. In this blog post, we will delve into the statistics surrounding chronic pain to shed light on the prevalence and impact of this widespread health issue.

According to recent statistics, around 28 million people in the UK are living with some form of chronic pain, and back pain is one of the most prevalent types. In fact, back pain is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and it is estimated that around 80% of the population will experience back pain at some point in their lives.

Chronic pain can be caused by a variety of factors, including:
  • Musculoskeletal conditions: Conditions such as arthritis, back pain, and fibromyalgia are common causes of chronic pain.

  • Injuries: Accidents and injuries can lead to chronic pain that persists long after the initial trauma has healed.

  • Chronic illnesses: Conditions like diabetes, cancer, and autoimmune diseases can also be accompanied by chronic pain.

Chronic back pain can have a significant impact on a person's quality of life. It can make it difficult to perform everyday tasks, such as walking, sitting, or even sleeping. Many people with chronic back pain also experience mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety, as a result of their condition.

It is typically classified as pain lasting for 3 months or more. The back consists of three main spinal segments, which are moveable: the cervical spine; thoracic spine & lumbar spine. Altogether there are 33 individual bones, including sacrum, and coccyx. Each partition of the spine have unique bony structures to adapt for its ability to function. For instance the thoracic spine main function is to hold the rib cage and protect the heart and lungs.

The upper back is classified as cervical and thoracic vertebrae to 12th rib.
The lower back is classified as 12th rib to iliac crest on the pelvic bone, sometimes the gluteal fold.

- Affects 60% of population at some point in their lifetime
- Increases linearly from 30 -60 years.
- Lower back pain most common complaint.
- Prevalence of chronic back pain in adults ages 24- 30 years is 4.2%
- Prevalence of chronic back in adults age 20-59 is 19.6%
- Leading cause of activity limitation and absenteeism from work
- Women> Men

- Obesity
- Occupational factors (twisting; lifting; sitting; bending)
- Stress
- Fatigue, Depression
- Maladaptive coping strategies, lifestyle
- Fear & avoidance for work/ movement
- Past history of chronic syndrome
- Stressful life changing event
- Current /past emotional trauma

- Impact on daily activities and function
- Impact on household chores, study and work
- Impact on sleep, diet, and energy
- Depression, anxiety, past trauma
- Time of work
- Loss of employment
- Reduced productivity

Whilst osteopathy does not cure the issue, the osteopathic techniques are designed to:

- Encourage blood circulation
- Encourage lymph stagnation
- Encourage mobility
- Eliminates toxic waster products,
- Helps reduce excess water and air in the body
- Help improve gut health
- Help with sleep

By doing so, this will allow the neural connection in the brain to function sufficiently, which in turn reduces pain sensitivity. In essence, will help the pain become more manageable and less impactful on daily life.

Laxmaiah Manchikanti MD, Vijay Singh MD, Frank J.E. Falco MD, Ramsin M. Benyamin MD, Joshua A. Hirsch MD. Epidemiology of Low Back Pain in Adults. Oct 2014; 17 (2).

Rodrigo Dalke Meucci, Anaclaudia Gastal Fassa, Neice Muller Xavier Faria. Prevalence of chronic low back pain: systemic review. 2015; 49:1.

Hanife Baykal Sahin, Soykan Karacaoglu, Ethan Capkin, Fatima Kara. Restless leg syndrome in patients with chronic low back pain. 2023 Feb; 17 (1): 23-27.

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