(Note: The contents of this webpage are reproduced from the leaflet available in our clinic. A pdf copy of the leaflet is available by clicking here )
Back pain is a common condition that most people will experience during their lives. Your back is a complicated web of muscles, ligaments, tendons, cartilage and bones. Together these give your back the strength to hold you up, the sensitivity to react to small instabilities when standing or walking, and flexibility. This need for the back to be strong, sensitive and flexible means it is prone to aches and pains.
Upper back pain is felt from the ribcage up. The upper spine is very strong and stable which allows it to support the weight of the upper body, as well as anchor the rib cage. Because this section of the spinal column has a great deal of stability and only limited movement, there is less risk of injury to the intervertebral discs
In a number of instances you may need to visit a hospital urgently. If the back pain is acute (has happened recently or suddenly) then you may need to contact NHSDIRECT on 0945 4647 or online via http://www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk for advice.
There is more specific guidance on the back page of this leaflet giving information during 2012 the NHS direct website highlighted as appropriate to call 999.
In some cases you may know what has caused or exacerbated the situation, however, you may also need a diagnosis from your GP or other professional. Usually there is no need for tests such as x-rays or scans as the area is visible or can be assessed by touch.
Correct nutrition can help reduce inflammation. For example consuming more anti-inflammatory Omega 3 Fatty Acids (e.g. fish or flax) can reduce inflammation in the body. Similarly taking less meat/dairy reduces the intake of the pro-inflammatory compound, arachidonic acid.
Reduce excess caffeine, sugars, alcohol and tobacco. These substances are used habitually by many, but may have a detrimental effect on overall wellbeing. Caffeine is an adrenal stimulant and will increase muscular tension, tobacco decreases the blood circulation that is vital for muscular and skeletal health, excess sugars may lead to carrying excess body weight which puts more strain on the back (as well as creating a risk of diabetes), and alcohol is actually a depressant which may mean back pain feels worse than it is (more on the role of mood later).
4. Is the treatment on offer appropriate for my condition and circumstances?
5. Can you get information and advice on the treatment on offer from multiple sources, speak to the therapist, or speak to people who have had treatment.
We provide information to answer some of these questions for some therapies available at Woodland Herbs in the next section, however as everyone’s situation is unique it is not possible to give specific individual guidance in this leaflet.
Q: How many treatments?
Most therapists believe they can help in many situations, however they would need to get "hands on" to assess and this will require a full first visit. After the first consultation and treatment it is possible that you will need 1 or 2 further sessions to be able to assess if you are responding to the treatment. It may be that 1,2 or 3 sessions are enough to resolve the situation, however it is also possible that once the therapist has identified how you are responding to treatment, they will be able to give guidance on how they believe you will progress with more treatments or if regular ongoing sessions may be useful .
Q: Can my GP refer to a therapist?
It is difficult for GPs to recommend treatments as they would become accountable for the care provided. They are more likely to recommend not having a treatment they feel is inappropriate, OR to be "relaxed" if you wished to try something they didn’t object to. GP referral is not needed for any of the therapies at Woodland Herbs although the therapist may ask to contact your GP before treatment in some situations.
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