Alec Tinker Osteopath in Yorkshire – Back pain, Rehabilitation, Sports Injuries

Low Back Pain

Here’s a nice statistic for you, throughout our lives over 90% of us will experience low back pain at some point. Low back pain has been extensively researched over the years and yet unfortunately there is still no magic pill, technique or exercise that will cure it.  However there are ways that the vast majority of back pain can be eased, and one of these is osteopathy.

Young man holding his lower back, in pain

What is back pain?

Pain felt between the bottom rib and the top of the buttocks is classed as low back pain, although the pain may also be felt in the groin, buttocks and thigh. This pain originates from muscles, ligaments, tendons, nerves, discs, joints, bones, organs and even the brain.

There are numerous possible reasons for the pain; the most common include bad posture, bending awkwardly, repetitively lifting incorrectly and accidents. What is important to understand is that the severity of the injury may not reflect the amount of pain felt for a number of reasons which I shall mention later. For the majority of people the pain will go away other next month or two. However 30% will have a recurrent episode of back pain in 6 months and 40% within one year. Making small changes such as doing some exercise, managing stress and sleep can help.

Few things to be aware of: 

Red Flags: These are signs and symptoms that may suggest your pain is something more serious.

  • Change in bowel or bladder function
  • Constant pain, unremitting
  • Pain worse at night
  • Pain in both legs
  • Recent serious illness or infection
  • Anaesthesia around the legs and anus

If you have any of these symptoms it is recommended that you see your GP or A&E straight away.

X-ray and MRI

The vast majority of people do not need to have imaging taken and even when it is done it is not necessarily very reliable. In a well known study 98 people without any back pain were given an MRI. The results showed that 2/3 of the people in the study had disc problems. This proves that pain doesn’t always equal injury and vice versa.

Yellow Flags: These are things that may increase the amount of pain felt and increase the likelihood of the pain persisting or reoccurring.

  • Fear avoidance behaviour – not moving because of the fear of pain. Best advice for most low back pain is to keep moving even if it hurts a little.
  • Low mood – having a positive attitude can make a remarkable difference.
  • Not taking responsibility for getting better – don’t leave it all to the health practitioner.


  • Bed rest only for very acute pain but don’t forget that Motion is Lotion!
  • Medication, pain meds may help reduce that pain so that you can keep doing normal day to day activities.
  •  Acupuncture, massage and manipulation can also help reduce pain.
  •  Exercise, pilates and yoga.


For the vast majority of people with low back pain the prognosis is good. The key to getting better and reducing the chance of a reoccurrence is knowledge.  Understanding that your pain is not going to last forever and that it is not a serious condition will help you stay positive and stop you avoiding movement. Seeing an osteopath, physio, or chiropractor will help by giving you a more specific diagnosis and treatment that should reduce pain.  But the most important thing to take away from this blog is that if you do have low back pain keep moving! Movement is medicine.

Below is a short video about low back pain.

No Comments Yet

Add Comment Register

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

1 × one =

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Current month ye@r day *