Backpain Relief

Backpain professionals


Backpain professionals

 

Health professionals & techniques

Pain target graphic

This backpain professionals section offers a basic insight into some of the professional disciplines which may be helpful in treating back pain.

Not all these disciplines are medically recognised but just as everyone experiences back pain in their own way and no too sufferers are the same, it would be foolish to dismiss any treament without some knowledge of it. Note that many of these therapys overlap so massage, for example, may be practiced by backpain professionals in different disciplines.

We welcome contributions from backpain professionals working in any discipline and will expand the section as necessary to cover the many practical therapys which are available to offer pain relief.



 


Acupuncture

Acupuncturist

Probably originated in China although there are also Japanese, Tibetan and Korean versions taught and practiced.

In acupuncture, very fine needles are inserted into specific parts of the body where theory claims there are meridians along which qi, a vital energy flows. This is done with the intention of relieving pain in other, related, parts of the body and also for other general health reasons

While there is no proven scientific confirmation of the theory, extensive research does seem to suggest that the treatment is successful in relieving back pain in some - but not all - cases.

 

Alexander technique

The 'Alexander Technique' is based on the teachings of F. Matthias Alexander, who first observed and formulated its principles between 1890 and 1900. It is a mental and physical discipline for the self-prevention of unhelpful or harmful habits that interfere with the condition of the individual as a whole.

Useful as a long term lifestyle philosophy but not suited to short term pain relief.

Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy uses essential oils - aromatics made by crushing and distilling a single herb or flower - in holistic treatments to improve physical and emotional well-being. It is claimed that these oils have therapeutic properties, which can used to improve health.

The oils are most commonly used in massage, or in baths, using a few drops in the warm water. There is some evidence that these oils can be absorbed into the blood stream and then become metabolised into the body.

Aromatherapy is probably an effective treatment for stress-related problems which are often the cause of back pain.


Chiropractors

Spinal X ray

Chiropractors focus on manual manipulation therapy including spinal adjustment and other joint and soft-tissue manipulation. There are two main groups and many sub-styles within the profession.

A chiropractor may use X-Rays prior to starting a course of treatment, or may solely depend on what his hands tell him about the patient's condition. Treatment can occassionaly be painful and there are suggestions that there is a small element of risk in this therapy.

General Practioners - Doctors

Should always be your first line of defense! GP's - General Practioners - like their title suggests, are fully trained across a whole range of health problems. They are best placed to give advice about your particular circumstances and they know and can refer you to suitable specialists in back pain and effective treatment.

In the UK., NHS Direct is a 24/7 free medical advice service. A 'phone call to them might help you decide if a visit to your GP is necessary, or if you would benefit from alternate treatment.


Osteopathy

Osteopathy recognises the importance of the link between the structure of the human body and the way it functions. Osteopaths use a developed sense of touch called palpation to focus on the body’s skeleton and joint function along with the muscles and soft tissues.

Gentle stretching and mobilising techniques are used in addition to the manipulation of joints in order to relax muscles and stiff joints. Some gentle massage is used and the osteopath may also carry out manipulation using short, quick movements to spinal joints.


Homeopathy

The practice of treating 'Like with Like' - taking natural substances which have been so diluted to the point where non of the original substance is measurable. The concept theorises that the resultant dilute fluid still retains the 'spirit' or memory of the original substance.

While not specific to back pain treatment, it may be prescribed in conjunction with other therapy.


Reflexology

Reflexology involves a similar philosophy to acupuncture therapy. Based on a theory that all the body's organs are mirrored in the feet, relexologists believe that massage of specific areas of the feet will result in clearing blockages in the corresponding areas of the body.

 

Physiotherapists

Physiotherapists diagnose problems in the joints and soft tissues of the body, and carry out a assessment and generate a treatment plan for your particular problem. Physiotherapy for back pain can ofer a broad range of treatments to relieve pain, promote relaxation and help to restore movement.

Physiotherapists may use a range of techniques include manipulation, mobilisation and massage. They may also oversee a full exercise programme to increase general fitness or to strengthen muscles which support the spine.

Occupational therapy

Occupational therapists are generally concerned with the longer term management of health problems on an individual or community basis.

 

Massage

Woman receiving massage

Perhaps the least contentious health therapy and one which has probably been with us for longer than any other form of treatment. There are many different forms from the classic 'Swedish' style massage which uses stroking, wringing and cupping movements to stimulate blood flow, to the most gentle stroking and application of vital oils such as some aromatherapy treatments.

See the article on massage and back care by Geof Warren.


Pharmacists

Too often overlooked and usually very cost effective! Your local pharmacist is highly trained and is licensed to give professional advice. While not a back pain professional, he or she is well qualified to say if you need see your doctor and will be able to advise on non prescription medication, which in most cases will be all you need.

 

Pilates

Pilates focuses on building your back, abdominal and pelvic muscle strength and improving your posture through a series of low repetition low impact stretching and conditioning exercises.

Pilates provides a complete body workout and helps you develop an awareness of how the body works, encouraging your mind and body to work in harmony.

Yoga

The word comes from the Sanskrit and means a union or conjunction between mind, body and spirit.

The most commonly taught form of in the West yoga is Hatha Yoga where students exercise to stretch and flex the body, develop breath awareness and learn relaxation. It may also involve meditation.

Yoga teachers are not specifically backpain professionals. The exercises they promote may be gentle or physically very demanding. In relation to back pain, yoga should be considered as a long term lifestyle option, not a treatment.

Note - Backpain professionals

pain graphic

In the majority of countries, medical professionals in most of these disciplines have undergone a full course of study and are government licensed. This ensures that they are qualified to practice - it does not mean that they are all equally experienced or skilled.

Wherever possible, speak with your GP prior to placing your health in the hands of anyone who is unknown to you. Your doctor will have local knowledge and can almost certainly suggest a backpain professional with whom he is comfortable. And remember; just because someone may have helped your friend, your own problem may be quite different.


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