Dun Laoghaire Osteopathic Practice

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Back Pain

The spinal column consists of 5 main structures:
(1) the vertebrae and their joints,
(2) the discs between the bodies of the vertebrae,
(3) the ligaments which hold the vertebrae together,
(4) the muscles which move the spine and finally
(5) the spinal cord and the peripheral nerves.

Most common causes of back pain will involve one or more of these structures.

  1. The facet joints are located towards the back of of the vertebral column and are commonly implicated in acute and chronic back pain. Acute injury to these joints can cause severe pain, sometimes even after simple movements.

    Fortunately, with careful management, these acute symptoms generally settle quickly. These joints may also be compromised by wear and tear arthritis, often exacerbated by poor posture. These chronic conditions can be helped by improving the quality of movement and stretching and releasing the back muscles; improving function and reducing pain.
  2. Disc injuries can vary in severity from bulges and herniations, to full blown prolapses. They may or may not be traumatic and may give long term pain or resolve reasonably quickly. Disc injuries can cause sciatica, as the herniated part of the disc can press on a nerve as it exits the spinal canal (see section on sciatica). Treatment aims to improve function with gentle spinal movements, stretching and massage.
  3. The many ligaments of the spine and pelvis are often the cause of back pain. The ligaments provide the joints with stability and when injured, can result in acute disability and pain - careful management is required.
  4. The back muscles can frequently be injured, becoming tight and painful from incorrect or repetitive use. Secondary spasm may be caused by protecting an injury to other structures. Many people suffer from muscle fatigue from daily activity such as computer use or long periods of driving. These muscles usually respond very well to treatment - such as a combination of specific massage and stretching.
  5. The spinal cord can be damaged in acute trauma. Peripheral nerves can also be affected by disc injuries as mentioned above.
Dun Laoghaire Osteopathic Practice

Phone: 087 2309808

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