According to NHS England, 80% of us will be affected by back pain at some point in our lives.
Common causes of mid–back and lower-back pain include:
A muscle strain, or pulled muscle, occurs when your muscle fibres become overstretched or torn. This is usually caused by fatigue, overuse, or improper use of a muscle.
Minor muscle strains can take a few days to a couple of weeks to heal.
Joint Restriction/Facet Lock
In every vertebra there are small joints called facets. These allow movement to occur in the spine.
Sometimes these joints can become “locked”. This usually occurs from an injury, or from repetitive bad posture, such as sitting at a desk badly for a long period of time. The vertebra’s movement then becomes restricted, and the muscles surrounding it become tight and may even spasm. This can cause a huge amount of pain.
Osteopathic treatment combining deep soft tissue massage and possibly joint manipulation means this can often be significantly improved or resolved within a few treatments.
Pain in the mid–back can be caused by the ribs.
The ribs attach to the spine at a point called a “rib head”. The rib head can move slightly and become locked, which then causes the muscles around the rib (called the intercostal muscles) to tighten and spasm to protect the rib.
This can be very painful, especially when you take a deep breath.
Osteopathic treatment can be very beneficial in combining deep soft tissue massage and possibly joint manipulation. Manipulation of a rib head to correct the problem, can often cause very quick relief although it may take a few treatments to completely resolve.
Disc Injury & Sciatica
Between each vertebra there is a gel–like structure, called a disc (or intervertebral disc). This disc acts like a cushion between the vertebrae to absorb shock.
Sometimes, however, this disc can become damaged. To make it simple, think of the disc like a “donut” with jam in the middle.
If there is pressure put upon the disc it can “bulge”. As the bulge increases, the dough part of the donut (annulus fibrosus) can become torn, often caused by lifting and twisting injuries.
This can then allow the jam part of the donut (nucleus pulposus), to escape. We then call this a herniated or prolapsed disc. (Sometimes referred to as a “slipped-disc”).
This jam can, in some cases, end up pushing on a nerve, causing more pain, often down the leg (sciatica).
Note: Long–term, severe disc injuries may need imaging to determine whether steroid injections or surgery are warranted.