News - Managing pain

How can I avoid surgery for back pain?

Back pain holds the unfortunate title of being the leading cause of disability in the UK, accounting for 11% of all disabilities. It’s also responsible for employers losing £624 million each and every year.

Today spinal surgery costs the NHS £200 million per year with 10,000 people having spinal surgery each year. In addition there are large numbers of people having injections for back pain, with little evidence that these injections are effective. Plus with increasing waiting times it can feel like the solution to your back pain is never going to arrive.

Undergoing any surgery is a risk, and many people would like to avoid having surgery on their back, but the pain can become so intolerant it feels like it’s the last, and only, option.

So, how can you avoid surgery for back pain?

 

Osteopathy – A viable alternative to back surgery?

Whether dealing with progressive conditions, those that arise out of trauma, or injuries sustained during sports (such as tennis or squash), osteopathy routinely treats conditions such as:

  • Arthritis
  • Slipped discs
  • Sciatica
  • Undiagnosed neck, shoulder or back pain
  • Problems with posture caused by driving, work or pregnancy

What does osteopathy treatment entail?

Osteopathy approaches conditions from the viewpoint that the overall health and wellbeing of the patient relies on numerous systems working together – systems that link the muscles, ligaments and connective tissues.

By using a combination of manipulation, stretching and massage, your treatment may have one or more goals, including:

  • Increasing the mobility of joints
  • Relieving muscle tension
  • Enhancing blood supply
  • Helping the body to heal

 

Previously a study into typical osteopath treatment plans for those with back conditions found that sessions generally took place twice a week for two to four weeks, and follow-up treatments were no more frequent than once or twice a week over a set period. However, with that said, every patient is different, and their treatments plans are unique.

Depending on the pain, and the treatment required, we usually recommend you come to an appointment once a week and we’ll give you exercises you can do at home between appointments. Doing the exercises at home, in addition to seeing us, will give you the best chance of seeing an improvement in your pain.

The big question – Is there scientific proof behind choosing osteopathy over surgery?

Osteopathy is continually linked to drastic improvements in painful back conditions; with a recent US study finding that the manipulative treatments of osteopathy not only reduced pain, but did so to such a point that surgery could be avoided.

In July 2018 Channel 4 broadcast an episode of Live Well For Longer that looked at back pain. It compared what effect doing yoga, physiotherapy or osteopathy had on people’s back pain. Osteopathy reduced back pain by a third on average.

There are no dead set osteopathic session structures for those with back pain, however we find that between five and six consecutive treatments are enough to achieve an improvement in pain.

When faced with a long wait for painful back surgery (which may not have a concrete outcome) you’ll want to explore all your options before committing to any invasive procedure. So, if you feel you have no other option but to see a surgeon, come and see us first.  We treat back pain all the time – it’s the number one reason why people come to us.

To make an appointment just call 020 8316 5316 or book online.