Osteopathy for Back Pain

Written by Stephen Sacks – Medically reviewed by Stephen Sacks – Last updated May 20, 2024

Whether the result of recklessly lifting that couch you suspected was too heavy; poor posture that leaves you hunched over a keyboard for 8 hours a day; or simply sleeping at slightly the wrong angle if you’re over the age of 35, back pain is a reality that pretty much everyone will experience in their lifetimes. It’s so common, in fact, that back pain is the leading cause of employees taking time off from work in the UK (The Institute of Occupational Medicine (IOM)), resulting in up to 7 million GP visits annually. 

Unfortunately, back pain doesn’t seem to be a problem that’s on the decline. A recent article in The Guardian discusses how the rise in remote work is leading to an epidemic of back and neck pain as we become more sedentary. Although back pain can often be treated promptly and effectively through physiotherapy, the NHS is facing a shortage of physiotherapists, leaving many on endless waiting lists (Goodier and Gregory). 

Osteopathy is a highly effective alternative to physiotherapy that combines many of the practices used in physiotherapy with a deep understanding of soft tissues and proven alternative medicines such as acupuncture, dry needling, and electrotherapy. This multi-pronged approach not only brings much-needed relief but also increases blood flow, reduces inflammation, and supports long-term healing and strengthening of the back.

Contact Stephen Sacks Osteopathy for effective and affordable back pain osteopathy for:

Please feel free to contact me in Harley Street or Highgate to discuss your back pain.

Understanding the back and back pain

“Why does my back hurt?”

Our backs comprise muscles, ligaments, tendons, discs, and bones, and all of these are susceptible to injury, degradation, and damage that could cause back pain. Depending on the component and the nature of the injury, one could experience back pain as localised or radiating and acute or chronic. 

  • Muscle pain and injuries are the most common causes of back pain and can be brought on by hundreds of causes, especially as we get older. Very often, this includes muscle strain and/or tearing due to over-exertion in the gym or on the field, stiffness and dull pain due to poor posture or sleeping position, and sprains caused by sudden movement.
  • Ligaments attach the different bones in our body to each other. When they are stretched, they often remain painful and inflamed for an extended period of time. Left untreated, ligament injuries can cause long-term damage as you adjust your posture for more comfort.
  • Tendons connect muscles to bones and, just like ligaments, are prone to overstretching and inflammation that causes localised pain and reduced flexibility and mobility. 
  • Intervertebral discs act as cushions between the vertebrae in our spines. When these discs herniate or degenerate, nerves may get trapped and pinched, leading to radiating back pain or sciatica.  
  • Bone and skeletal problems like osteoporosis and scoliosis may cause structural instability, poor posture, and direct nerve impingement, all contributing factors to back pain. 

While it can be tricky to self-identify exactly which of these is the cause of your back pain, visiting a specialist like an osteopath can help you identify exactly what is hurting, apply osteopathic methods to bring relief, and provide you with guidelines for minimising or preventing future damage. 

“How did I hurt my back?”

While the bones, muscles, and other parts of our backs are quite strong in terms of the weight they can lift and support, it’s also important to remember that our backs are made up of hundreds of parts that are intricately interlocked. Even a small sprain in a minor supporting muscle can lead to one preferring one side for walking, sleeping, or carrying, leading to long-term changes in posture and, eventually, back pain and problems. 

Some of the ways people often hurt their back muscles include twisting motions, overstretching, lifting heavy weights with the back instead of legs, extended periods of sitting with the neck in a forward position, such as when driving or working on a computer, and sleeping on a mattress that does not offer adequate support or keep the spine straight. 

Furthermore, there are also several medical conditions that result in back pain, including cauda equina syndrome, the compression of a cluster of nerve roots in the lower back; back or spinal infection; shingles; and cancer of the spine.

Finding effective treatment for back pain

The one silver lining to a condition that causes pain and discomfort to millions around the world and costs the global economy billions in lost revenue each year is that there are several effective diagnostic and treatment options for back pain, many of which are not reliant on invasive surgeries or pharmaceutical treatment. Depending on the cause of your pain, you could contact an osteopath, physiotherapist, chiropractor, GP, or rheumatologist. They might treat you themselves, or refer you to a specialist who can help with your specific problem.

What is important, though, is not to ignore back pain that is persistent or recurring. Back pain quickly compounds into a variety of other problems when left untreated or treated with analgesics that help you handle the pain but don’t address the underlying causes. As you start favouring one side of your body or adjusting your posture for pain relief, you put additional strain on muscles and joints as they try to cope with the additional load. Down the line, this causes alignment and mobility issues that can severely affect your mobility and quality of life.

Looking for a Back Pain Osteopath in London?

Contact Dr. Stephen Sacks at 020 3865 9044 or through his online portal for an obligation-free discussion about your back pain and treatment options. 

Why choose an osteopath for back pain?

Osteopaths, like myself, take a holistic approach to health and pain management, understanding that many of our ailments are interconnected and must be addressed as such for overall well-being. Critically, we understand the relationships between back pain and problems in other parts of the body; problems or injuries to the foot, ankle, knee, shoulders, neck, and hip might all manifest as back pain, and vice versa. 

This understanding allows us to detect and diagnose conditions affecting holistic health instead of simply treating the symptom of a larger problem—pain. It’s not uncommon for osteopaths to diagnose problems and then work collaboratively with other specialists to provide comprehensive treatment that addresses pain and the underlying issues.

Stephen Sacks osteopathy for back pain

As a registered osteopath and member of the British Osteopathic Association, I’ve been helping people from all walks of life improve their mobility and quality of life for almost two decades. I take pride in providing thorough care that combines a variety of techniques, such as osteopathy, deep-tissue stimulation, acupuncture, and more.

What to expect from your first visit

After pleasantries, my first goal is to get a comprehensive understanding of your medical history, previous injuries, and ongoing medical problems, no matter how unrelated or insignificant they might seem to your back pain. We then use this detailed medical history, along with a physical examination, to detail and discuss a bespoke treatment plan based on your needs. This treatment plan might include visits to a GP or other specialist for medical prescriptions or specialised imagery such as CT or MRI scans. 

Your first session will also include treatment that, significantly more often than not, provides on-the-spot pain relief and mobility improvements. I understand that some are unsure or apprehensive about certain treatments, such as acupuncture and electrotherapy. I take great care to discuss any procedures, their benefits, and what to expect before applying any treatments, ensuring you are comfortable at all times. Post-treatment, we’ll discuss practical steps that you can take to help keep your back pain-free until our next session. 

If you would like further information on how to help yourself with back pain, please take a look at ‘The Good Back Guide’, the acclaimed book by my colleague, Barrie Savory.

For more information on how manual therapies, a general term for treatments that involve physical manipulation, including osteopathy, are effective treatments for back pain and getting people back to work, consult the NICE guidelines on:

Workplace health: long-term sickness absence and capability to work (2019)

Low back pain and sciatica in over 16s: assessment and management (2016)

Works cited

Goodier, Michael, and Andrew Gregory. “Back and neck problems driving major UK health crisis, say medical leaders.” The Guardian, The Guardian, 19 January 2024, Accessed 5 May 2024.

The Institute of Occupational Medicine (IOM). “Sickness absence – work related causes – back pain.” Sickness absence – work related causes – back pain, The Institute of Occupational Medicine (IOM),  Accessed 6 May 2024.