Chiropractic for the treatment of lower of back pain and sciatica
The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) recently published new guidelines for the treatment of lower back pain and sciatica. NICE is an organisation that provides guidance and advice to improve health and social care on a national level. These are the guidelines used by the NHS and other healthcare professionals. This guideline for the treatment of low back pain and sciatica covers everything from public health advice to surgical interventions.
The guidelines recommend a number of interventions for low back pain, including spinal manipulation and soft tissue massage techniques. Exercise and psychological therapies are also recognised as important in the treatment of lower back pain and sciatica.
What is spinal manipulation?
Let me explain in a little more detail what these treatments consist of. Spinal manipulative therapy is an umbrella term for a variety of methods and techniques available to chiropractors and other healthcare professionals. Depending on the nature of the issue, one or more of these interventions can be utilised to restore joint movement and function.
The chiropractor will observe and feel the movement of your spinal joints, looking for stiff joints. They will then apply a small thrust to a specific joint, to help improve movement there. The amount of force or movement used in the manipulation varies according to the techniques that the healthcare provider has been trained in, and how they can adapt them to your needs.
Spinal manipulation has been practiced by health practitioners for thousands of years. There are reports suggesting it’s use as far back as Egyptian times. Over the last 100 years’ chiropractors have been increasingly considered as some of the leading specialists in spinal manipulation. Although chiropractors carry out a wide range of types of treatments from massage to exercise advice, we have developed over a hundred different spinal manipulation techniques, which we refine for each person individually.
When you see a chiropractor they often refer to the spinal manipulation as an “adjustment”. It’s worth noting as well that we are trained to adjust and treat other joints or muscles throughout the body.
In relation to spinal manipulation itself, which is one of the treatment types recommended in this NICE guideline for the treatment of lower back pain and sciatica, the only healthcare professionals in the UK to have these techniques included as part of their required degree training are chiropractors and osteopaths. If a physiotherapist or GP wants to learn how to manipulate spines they have to undergo additional postgraduate training.
Soft tissue techniques for back pain
The guidelines recommend the use of soft tissue techniques for the treatment of lower back pain and sciatica.
There’s a wide variety of soft tissue techniques that can be used to treat back pain and sciatica. I predominately use stretching and massage techniques to help reduce stiffness and tension within the muscles and connective tissue. There is nothing more satisfying than improving someone’s hip and back range of motion with well-targeted massage and stretching.
At our chiropractic clinic in Eastbourne we have a large team of chiropractors, which is great for our patients, because we often discuss severe cases and share techniques we specialise in.
Exercise and back pain
For a wide variety of people, I find that spinal manipulation and soft tissue techniques are best combined with specific therapeutic exercises, that are aimed to strengthen specific muscles and stabilise joints. Part of my assessment at Lushington Chiropractic Clinic is to identify the areas of the body that need to be strengthened and the areas that need increased mobility. This assessment helps me to develop a personalised care plan, based on the individual findings of each guest.
You may be wondering what role psychological therapies have in the treatment of lower back pain and sciatica.
What we do know, how we feel and our past experiences of pain have a big influence over our pain levels. Especially persistent pain that has been around for a long time. Our pain threshold becomes reduced. We also know that our muscles can become tense when we feel like this. One technique I use alongside the manual therapy and exercise is cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).
Nice to hear from NICE
This was something I was pleased to hear about. Considerable thought goes into devising the treatment plans for the guests at our clinic, so it is gratifying to read that the techniques we use have been incorporated into the NICE guidelines. This reinforces our belief that the treatment packages used here in Eastbourne are of the highest standard.
If you would like to find out more about the treatments available here at Lushington Chiropractic in Eastbourne, do not hesitate to contact either myself or another member of the team.
Want to find out more about sciatica?
If you’ve enjoyed this blog and would like to find out more, then please check out one of our other blogs on Sciatica below.
By James Revell
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