All Posts Tagged: back pain

Low Back Pain and Nerve Flossing

A patient can feel severe discomfort when the sciatic nerve is pinched or pressed. A tingling feeling, a lack of sensation, deadness, and even frailty in the hip, buttock and leg can be symptoms witnessed. For under 60-year olds, the customary cause of sciatica is a herniated disc.

For older adults, the most likely source of sciatica is spinal stenosis which is a narrowing of the openings of the spine the nerves travel through, and spondylolisthesis, which is when one vertebra slides forward on the neighbouring vertebra.

The sciatic nerve is made up of five nerve roots that exit the spine in the lower back. They then merge into one nerve that travels through the buttock and down to the leg. At the back of the knee, the nerve divides into two nerves. These two nerves are the tibial and common peroneal, that travel into the inner and outer lower leg and foot.

In most instances, a nerve root moves freely in and out of the spine through holes located between each vertebra. Tthese are known as intervertebral foramen (IVF). Exercises such as hamstring stretches or kicking a rugby ball create resistance within the sciatic nerve and pull the nerve roots out of the IVFs. Likewise, when we stand upright and stare at our toes, this pulls the spinal cord upward and the nerve roots move into the IVFs.

When undertaking management of sciatica, osteopaths will make use of an approach named nerve flossing. Similarly, with flossing teeth, the forward and backwards movement of the dental floss is theoretically the same move as the back and forth motion of the five nerve roots, that combine into the sciatic nerve. To draw the nerve roots out of the IVF, extend the head and neck skyward and then bend the foot/ankle skyward in addition (toes toward the nose). To flex the nerve back into the IVF, aim the foot/ankle down while the head/neck flexes progressively (chin to chest). Replicate several times as long as pain or other symptoms are not exacerbated. The concept underlying this is to relieve the nerve root by minimising sticking in the IVF.

Nerve flossing is generally conducted by an osteopath to ensure it is well tolerated and safeguarded, so that the patient can carry out the movement at home multiple times a day. Studies suggest that this method helps minimise stress on the sciatic nerve whilst pulling on the hamstrings, which are invariably tight in patients with low back pain.

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back pain

Low Back Pain

Ongoing low back pain also known as chronic low back pain is a common occurrence in the world today. Statistics have suggested that low back pain has been experienced by 80% of the UK population (1).

Below we will look at some strategies to help.

In a recent study researches looked at treating 3 groups of patients with spinal manipulation (2).

1) received ‘fake’ spinal manipulation for 12 treatments

2) received spinal manipulation for 12 treatments

3) received spinal manipulation for 12 treatments and fortnightly visits of spinal manipulation for the next 9 months

Group 1 reported no relief from treatments

Groups 2 & 3 reported significant relief

Further research has determined spinal manipulation and adjustments to be safe and a successful way of treating chronic low back pain (3), 

Joanna and I regularly use Spinal Manipulation to treat low back pain. We can also provide advice on self managing your back pain which can really make a difference to your day to day life.

If you have not used osteopathic care your for symptoms. Give it a try, the evidence supports it and so do our patient reviews.

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Back Pain

Back Pain With Working Long Hours

Long Work Hours Linked to Musculoskeletal Back Pain

Using data from the Fourth Korean Working Conditions Survey involving nearly 25,000 workers, researchers report that working over 40 hours a week is associated with up to a 40% increased risk for pain in men and up to a 66% elevated risk for pain in women. To learn more visit this link
Annals of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, December 2018

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The Weather’s Not to Blame For Your Aches and Pains

New research from The George Institute for Global Health has revealed the weather plays no part in the symptoms associated with either back pain or osteoarthritis.

It’s long been thought episodes of both back pain and arthritis can be triggered by changes in the weather, including temperature, humidity, air pressure, wind direction and precipitation.

Professor Chris Maher, of The George Institute for Global Health, said: “The belief that pain and inclement weather are linked dates back to Roman times. But our research suggests this belief may be based on the fact that people recall events that confirm their pre-existing views.

“Human beings are very susceptible so it’s easy to see why we might only take note of pain on the days when it’s cold and rainy outside, but discount the days when they have symptoms but the weather is mild and sunny.”

Almost 1000 people with lower back pain, and around 350 with knee osteoarthritis were recruited for the Australian-based studies. Weather data from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology were sourced for the duration of the study period. Researchers compared the weather at the time patients first noticed pain with weather conditions one week and one month before the onset of pain as a control measure.

Results showed no association between back pain and temperature, humidity, air pressure, wind direction or precipitation. However, higher temperatures did slightly increase the chances of lower back pain, but the amount of the increase was not clinically important.

The findings reinforce earlier research on back pain and inclement weather from The George Institute which received widespread criticism from the public on social media.

Professor Maher, who led the back pain study, added: “People were adamant that adverse weather conditions worsened their symptoms so we decided to go ahead with a new study based on data from new patients with both lower back pain and osteoarthritis. The results though were almost exactly the same – there is absolutely no link between pain and the weather in these conditions.”

Back pain affects up to a third of the world’s population at any one time, whilst almost 10 per cent of men and 18 percent of women over the age of 60 have osteoarthritis.

Associate Professor Manuela Ferreira, who led the osteoarthritis research at The George Institute, said: “People who suffer from either of these conditions should not focus on the weather as it does not have an important influence on your symptoms and it is outside your control.”

A/Prof Ferreira, Senior Research Fellow at The George Institute and at the Institute of Bone and Joint Research, added: “What’s more important is to focus on things you can control in regards to managing pain and prevention.”

The studies were carried out across Australia with average daily temperatures ranging from 5.4C to 32.8C.

Book your appointment now call 0141 339 0894

We look forward to helping you soon.

Michael & Joanna

Article: Acute Low Back Pain? Do Not Blame the Weather – A Case-Crossover Study, Keira Beilken BPhty, Mark J. Hancock PhD, Chris G. Maher PhD, Qiang Li MBiostats, Daniel Steffens PhD, Pain Medicine, doi: 10.1093/pm/pnw126, published online 15 December 2016.

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Sitting Down All Day Can Be a Pain the Butt

You may have heard of the recent trend of standing desks. They’re elevated desks so you are on your feet while at your computer working. But, if you don’t have a standing desk you’re probably sitting at one while reading this email. Sedentary work habits are causing many of us to suffer back pain.


Here is some solid advice in preventing back pain if you work sitting down in an office all day.


  • First is getting up out of your chair and do some light stretching every 30 minutes. It doesn’t have to be a lot.
  • Next is to fidget, shifting around in your chair helps alleviate pressure on your joints.
  • Take your phone calls standing up. It will also improve your posture making you sound more confident over the phone. (Extra benefit)
  • Drink lots of water, staying hydrated helps with concentration and productivity. It also gets you moving to the bathroom when you gotta go.


Those are just some of the ways you can combat back pain because sitting down all day can damage your joints and muscles.

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Back Pain And Running – 8 Thing You Should Know

Have you ever noticed every time you go running, you have lower back pain either during or after the run? If so, you may be wondering if you should quit running, find an alternative sport, or simply stop all activity and adopt a sedentary lifestyle. If you love the benefits of running and want to continue, is there anything you can do to make running tolerable? First, NEVER stop doing activity and adopt a sedentary lifestyle – it will start a slow decline with an unhappy ending! So, let’s see if we can make running work for you!

  1. STRETCH: In general, stretching helps “warm up” your muscles and joints and can prevent the low back from hurting during or after your run. In past articles, we’ve reviewed simple stretches, even some that can be done from a sitting position (when you’re in a hurry). Yoga-based exercises are also excellent!
  2. FOOT STRIKE: The “proper” gait or method your feet hit the ground is very important! To avoid low back injuries (not to mention foot, ankle, knee, or hip injuries), run SMOOTHLY so the heel strike is gliding/glancing vs. a hard vertical load. The foot then “ROLLS” from heel to toe, first on the outside of the foot and then shifts to the inside during which time the arch flattens out, getting ready to “spring” you forward. The heel then lifts up and you push off the ball of the foot and big toe.
  3. RUNNING POSTURE: Lean forwards when you run – DON’T run vertically like a Po-Go stick! By doing this, your momentum move you forward – NOT downwards into the pavement (like a “jack hammer”)!
  4. CORE STRENGTHENING: By keeping your “core” (midsection) strong, your back is more supported and less likely to become injured. Core exercises include pelvic tilts, the “dead-bug”, bridges, prone swimmers, lunges, squats, sit-ups, arch-ups, side bridges, 4-point kneeling/opposite arm/leg, and many others. These can be done on the floor and/or with a gym ball. Balance exercises are also very important!
  5. RELAX: Have you ever noticed when some people run, they just look “tight” and uncomfortable. RELAX – don’t shrug your shoulders up to your ears. Let your arms hang down bent at your sides. Don’t clench your teeth or make a fist – RELAX!!!
  6. PADDED INSOLES: There are many brands of padded insoles – try some and see how they work for you.
  7. RUNNING SHOES: The key here is TRY THEM ON and walk around inside the store. There are a lot of good supportive shoes so just find a brand that works for you!
  8. FLAT FEET: This is common and NOT a reason to stop running. Ask your Osteopath about foot orthotics and the function and importance of the arches
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