Back and neck pain may be caused by injury, inflammation or stress. It may also be referred pain, due to a problem at another site away from the focus of the pain.
Problems in the back and neck can cause severe debilitating pain. Yet in many cases, examinations and X-rays fail to show the cause of the pain. In addition, conventional medical techniques are unable to provide adequate relief for back and joint pain sufferers. Alternative therapies such as acupuncture and craniosacral therapy may help to ease the pain and enable you to live a more normal life.
DEFINING BACK ACHE
Back pain can affect anybody at any time, regardless of age, occupation, or level of health and fitness. In most cases, the pain is felt somewhere along the spine between the neck and the coccyx. This area can be divided into three sections, each of which are prone to particular types of pain: the lower back (lumbar sacral spine); the upper back (thoracic spine); and the neck (cervical spine).
THE LOWER BACK
The lumbar spine, the five jointed vertebrae that make up the lower part of the back, are under a lot of pressure during lifting. For this reason, lower back pain, which is also known as lumbago, is most likely to affect those whose jobs involve heavy lifting or carrying. There are a wide variety of conditions that can cause lower back pain. These conditions include back strain, disc disorders and sciatica, arthritis of the spine, ankylosing spondylitis, and pregnancy-related back pain.
THE UPPER BACK
Back pain in the thoracic spine is usually due to damage through physical activity, such as strains in the latissimus dorsi muscle caused by lifting accidents. In the elderly especially, upper back pain may be due to osteoporosis. Pain may also be referred from another site; for instance, duodenal ulcers or gall-stones can cause aching in the upper back.
The neck is an extremely delicate structure and thus is vulnerable to several painful disorders. A patient may suffer greatly from any swelling or inflammation of the muscles or joints in the neck because they are so tightly packed together. Two common but painful complaints of the neck are whiplash injury, and cervical spondylosis (neck arthritis).
Did you know?
Back pain is one of the major reasons for taking time off of work? Almost 31 million days of work were lost in 2013 due to back, neck and muscle problems, according to the Office for National Statistics.
Natural therapies can help
We love what we do, and our clients keep coming back to us because of our professional approach to alternative therapies and medicines. We offer a wide range of natural therapies at the clinic, which could be used for management of back or neck pain, but also many other conditions. You can discover more about all our treatments from the home page.
Our acupuncturists Gabriella Kispal and Georgina Wise are both members of the British Acupuncture Council. They have successfully treated many patients for back and neck pain. In some severe cases, the patients were unable to move before the treatments.
Acupuncture appointments are available five days a week at the clinic, Monday through to Friday. We offer early morning and late evening appointments on selected days.
Research has shown that acupuncture is significantly better than no treatment and at least as good as (if not better than) standard medical care for back. It appears to be particularly useful as an adjunct to conventional care, for patients with more severe symptoms and for those wishing to avoid analgesic drugs. It may help back pain in pregnancy and work-related back pain, with fewer work-days lost. The credits for this research are detailed in an article about back pain on the British Acupuncture Council’s website. Their article also provides more information about the benefits of acupuncture treatments: https://www.acupuncture.org.uk/a-to-z-of-conditions/a-to-z-of-conditions/back-pain.html
Craniosacral therapy is a very gentle way of working the body using light touch. It is distinct from osteopathy because it does not involve the manipulation of the bones and muscles. Many people start having craniosacral therapy because they have acute physical problems like headaches, neck pain or bad backs.
During the treatment, most patients experience a feeling of deep relaxation, some even fall asleep or go into a dream-like state. It can be a very different feeling to anything experienced before, but it is extremely pleasant. The number of sessions required depends on the conditions involved and how long an injury or strain has been sustained.
Rod Hague is our Craniosacral Therapist, he is available for appointments on a Tuesday at Chichester Natural Health Centre. His initial consultation and treatment will last about an hour and a half, and follow-up treatments are an hour.
“Quite often people will come to see me when they have tried a lot of other things, so the trauma could be quite a long time ago. So, getting the body to let go of that trauma can take quite a long time. Similarly, I saw a lady who had really bad sciatica because she was pregnant, and she only had one treatment and didn’t need to come back. Some people come only for an MOT once a year, just to maintain health.”
Craniosacral therapy is non-invasive, so it can be used on anyone from newborns to the elderly. Unlike massage, the therapy does not stimulate the lymphatic system, meaning that it is suitable for cancer patients.
If you are interested in booking in, there is always a warm welcome for you at Chichester Natural Health Centre – so why not call in or telephone to find out more. Our reception is covered six days a week.
Chichester Natural Health Centre, 5 City Business Centre, Basin Road, Chichester, West Sussex, PO19 8DU
Information used from Reader’s Digest “Health and Healing – The Natural Way”. Photographs are our own or from Unsplash.