- Back pain
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Back pain and sciatica


Back pain is common and is the largest single cause of sickness absence from work.  It will affect most of us in our life at some time and for many people it can become a chronic problem.


Back pain usually feels like an ache, tension or stiffness in the lower back area and can be triggered by various things such as bad posture, bending awkwardly or lifting incorrectly.  The pain is not usually caused by a serious condition.  In most cases, the pain is caused by tight muscles, strain to ligaments, or the small joints of the spine not moving properly.  At least half of people with back pain have recurring problems, so it is vital to seek advice.

Sciatica is pain caused as a result of the sciatic nerve being compressed and irritated.  Commonly, this is caused by a bulging disc in the lower spine putting pressure on the small nerves of the back, causing them to become inflamed.  The sciatic nerve is made up of a group of these smaller nerves that exit the spine at the lower part of the back and travels all the way down the leg to the foot.  The pain can be very intense and cause a major impact on your day-to-day life.

Our physiotherapists are highly skilled and qualified at assessing people with lower back pain and diagnosing the cause of the problem.  The lower back may be where you feel the pain, however, the cause may be related to how you are moving/sitting/standing generally.  A thorough assessment will be carried out to initially rule out any potential serious cause of your back pain.  A small proportion of people will require a referral for further investigation and the opinion of a consultant surgeon or rheumatologist.  We have close links to these colleagues within the hospital and access to state-of-the-art MRI scanners if required.  We will ensure you are seen by the right person at the right time.

The most appropriate treatment for the majority of people with back pain is physiotherapy.  The National Institute for Health & Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines advise that a course of manual therapy, including spinal manipulation or mobilisation and massage, are all effective treatments options for lower back pain.

At the Centre for Clinical Physiotherapy we have the knowledge, expertise and facilities to effectively treat and manage back pain and/or sciatica.  Treatment may include a combination of massage, spinal mobilisation / manipulation and acupuncture to help relieve muscle spasm and pain; specific exercises to improve flexibility and strengthen your lower back; and advice to minimise the strain and load placed on the spine during normal day to day activities, thereby helping to reduce the long term chance of reoccurrence. Treatments are delivered by highly skilled and experienced physiotherapists who are passionate about delivering the highest quality service and the best possible results for you.

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