The expert’s advice: back pain

PUBLISHED: 16:16 16 June 2009 | UPDATED: 15:25 20 February 2013

Massages are great for back pain

Massages are great for back pain

If your back hurts don't take to your bed, it's the worst thing you can do says remedial and sports massage therapist Di Byard-Jones of Room 2 at Alderminster.

If your back hurts don't take to your bed, it's the worst thing you can do says remedial and sports massage therapist Di Byard-Jones of Room 2 at Alderminster.

Almost half the population of Britain suffers from back problems with 50 million working days a year lost through pain. These are eye-opening figures and prove that if you suffer from muscular problems you are not suffering alone.

If you have experienced neck or back ache often coupled with sciatica (shooting pain down the leg), you will know how debilitating it can be and, to be honest a REAL pain in the bottom! Unfortunately, in this work orientated society, it can often be a vicious circle that what you do can cause or aggravate the muscular problem but there are a variety of successful treatments available.

For the majority of us a visit to the GP is rightly the first port of call with the medical solution often being pain killers. However, although this may ease the problem, it can disguise the underlying cause. The answer to tackling muscular pain is a combination of the appropriate treatment along with self help and prevention.

Don't lose hope

Step one is to find a treatment which suits you and the particular problem.

There is often confusion over different forms of treatment and between those practitioners who treat predominantly the skeleton eg: Chiropractors and Osteopaths, and those who treat solely muscular and soft tissue problems; massage therapists.

Another problem can lie in not identifying the true source of the pain or injury for example numbness and tingling in the fingers can often be neck associated and sciatic pain in the lower leg can originate from the spine.

The skeleton and muscles are intrinsically linked and obviously sometimes both need to be treated. However, so much back and neck pain is muscular and not skeletal that it is manipulation of the soft tissue which is essential and can bring relief.

Muscle mechanics and tendon technicians

Muscle specialists are normally sports and remedial massage therapists. Don't let the word 'sport' put you off it simply means they can treat sport-related injuries as well as 'builder's back' and 'RSI elbow'.

For example whiplash type injuries are not solely suffered through a road accident. One patient suffered a whiplash type injury while limbo dancing on holiday and scuba diving, football, rugby, painting and decorating can also cause injury; to list but a few.

The pain of a whiplash injury, however, can be agony and often a sufferer does not identify the injury with the associated back, neck and shoulder pain.

Whether there is a skeletal problem or not there will be muscular pain which needs to be eased.

Self help

Be mindful of your posture and sit at your work desk properly with good seat support, do not twist with a computer screen at an angle and take regular breaks even if just to stand and stretch your legs. More and more employers are eager to help their staff and it makes sense, if they can keep you at work the company is more productive.

Driving is a major cause of back pain and sciatica. Again take regular breaks if you can and try not to get stressed.

Invest in a good bed or mattress; remember we spend a great proportion of our lives in bed.

Have regular treatment every one or two months once the problem has eased.

Di Byard-Jones can be contacted at Room 2, Shipston Road, Alderminster, CV37 8NY. Tel: 01789 450090. www.room-2.co.uk A free stretching and muscle toning leaflet is available on request.

Guide to muscle treatment

With an injury; use rest, and ice within the first 48 hours.

Seek guidance from a GP.

Approach a specialist in the field of muscular treatment.

Let them identify the problem.

Adjust your lifestyle.

Lift properly.

Lose weight especially around the abdomen which causes lower back strain.

Slowly add physical exercise into you lifestyle.

Attend to posture

Regular top-up treatment.

Useful websites include: www.backpainexpert.co.uk and www.fht.org.uk

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