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Can you help with back pain?

This is one of the most common questions I am asked. The answer is, I can certainly assess your condition and most likely set you on the path to recovery with some treatment(s) and a bespoke rehabilitation programme. Sometimes I may need to refer you to a more appropriate person such as a physiotherapist or GP to get a scan or x-ray to confirm my thoughts. Although, this is generally for more serious conditions and only to confirm or rule out a particular cause. Lots of cases of lower back pain are muscular in nature and can be treated with massage therapy and directed self help.

Many people suffering from back pain, be it sciatic symptoms or other conditions, immediately turn to a GP. Unfortunately these days (and I know this from experience) the GP's first response is to issue pain killers and suggest rest. Whilst this may reduce pain levels in the short term, it does not get to the root cause of the problem and will not make it go away. Others will immediately opt to see a surgeon.

Canadian professor Stuart McGill, PhD with over 30 years as a leading expert in back injuries states that "95% of the most challenging patients he has ever treated DO NOT require surgery". Indeed surgical intervention in some cases can move the problem elsewhere.

A 60 - 90 minute appointment with me allows far more time than any GP has to assess your condition, taking a full history and conducting any necessary tests to 'provoke' your symptoms and come up with a plan to help you recover. As back pain is often caused by years of repeated movement or reaction to an injury elsewhere, it often takes a while to repair. This means that it may well take 2-3 initial sessions within a month or so to get you moving relatively pain free, although not always. During this period you will also be given specific stretches or exercises to assist your recovery as part of your daily routine. Once we have established a probable cause and seen significant improvement in your symptoms, I will offer advice on future maintenance sessions if appropriate along with ongoing support and advanced self rehab programmes.

Unfortunately compared to your GP my services are not free of charge, but neither are they excessively expensive. Compare two or three appointments to the cost of ibuprofen or naproxen for months on end, not to mention the side effects these drugs have.

I cannot diagnose conditions as I am not qualified to do so, but I can make an educated assessment and offer best advice / treatment. On this basis, I believe that my answer to the original question should probably be a straight yes!

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