Backcare Awareness week starts next week and this year the aim is to raise awareness in back pain in older adults.
Back pain increases as we age, with low back pain (LBP) being the most common symptom of pain and disability in adults aged 65 and above, and one of the most common reasons for visits to their GP. People over 70 are more likely to suffer severe and chronic back pain with poor treatment options.
The range of symptoms and pain varies from mild, severe and disabling. This pain is shown to lead to a loss in quality of life, with older adults increasingly losing their independence and ability to perform what would once have been easy daily tasks, leading to social isolation and anxiety.
Older adults are generally often unaware of the causes for their back pain and uncertain how to manage it. There is growing evidence that more people around the world are suffering from low back pain with inadequate and inappropriate treatment solutions.
Mechanical ‘wear and tear’ increases as we age, as we naturally develop changes to the structure and movement of our spine.
Research suggests that pain can be managed without surgery (unless in extreme cases this is the only option) and without the use of pain killers. More conservative approaches such as acupuncture and osteopathy or a combination of both can be effective.
A recent study suggests that osteopathic manual therapy (OMT) with stretching and manipulation is shown to be effective in the management of chronic low back pain.
One of the most beneficial ways to reduce pain is through exercise. Research shows that exercises are more effective than just having treatment alone. Exercises that are strengthening and not putting anymore undue pressure on the body are the most beneficial. Avoiding exercise and movement actually delays recovery.
The most important factor to note is the consistency and regularity of exercise. NICE guidelines recommend a combination of exercise and manual therapy treatment with appropriate advice and reassurance as the most evidence-based solutions for managing pain. The benefits are similar to the use of anti-inflammatories and massage; reducing pain levels and improving movement and quality of life.
However, what works for one person, may not be the solution for another, so it is important to get an assessment before you carry out any form of activity, to ensure you are not increasing your risk of further injury or discomfort.
What to expect from our osteopaths when treating pain?
Our aim is to reduce the level of pain by calming it and encouraging more movement to the body. The type and extent of techniques used will be tailored to your individual needs. We will carry out a thorough clinical assessment, providing you with a diagnosis and treatment plan and in rare cases you may need to be referred to a specialist for further investigation (e.g. X-ray or Scan).
Our treatment includes the use of manual therapy techniques, soft tissue stretching and manipulation of the joints. We also advise you on self-management and exercise to help you move more freely.
Here at the Estuary Clinic with our extensive experience, we have found that the use of osteopathic manipulative treatment and the holistic approach of osteopathic medicine in the management of pain is the most effective method of treating back pain, especially in older patients.
If you are experiencing any symptoms associated with low back pain we can advise and treat you and reduce your pain as soon as possible.
Please contact us today either by email [email protected] or by calling us on 01394 875 770.