New NHS clinical guidelines on treating low back pain

Friday, January 13, 2017 - 15:30

New NHS clinical guidelines include exercise and manual therapies to treat low back pain

The NHS estimates that one in three adults will experience low back pain in any given year, and almost every adult in the UK is likely to experience at least one episode of back pain during his or her lifetime. 

Given the prevalence of low back pain in the UK, the NHS has updated their clinical guidelines for treatment and we couldn’t agree more with their recommendations.  

The recommendations from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) include exercise, education, and manual therapies such as Osteopathy and deep tissue massage to help treat low back pain effectively.  More specifically, NICE recommends that manual therapies should be combined with exercise and/or psychological therapies to provide the most benefit to patients: 

“Consider manual therapy (spinal manipulation, mobilisation or soft tissue techniques such as massage) for managing low back pain with or without sciatica, but only as part of a treatment package including exercise, with or without psychological therapy.”

You can read the full guidelines for GPs here.   

The clue is in our name….

For the last ten years the therapists at St Clements Osteopathy and Massage have offered manual therapies to help our patients to reduce low back pain.  If you already are a patient with us, then you know that we always have placed emphasis on patient education, mobility and exercise when we provide treatments. 

Last year we began producing our own videos to demonstrate safe, effective stretching techniques.  Please do have a look at Chris Haworth’s video demonstrating stretches for the shoulders and Louise James’s video on stretches for the low back and let us know what you think (and what you might want to see more of in the future). 

Because stress management is also an effective tool to add to the pain management toolkit, we have created videos on Mindfulness techniques that feature Osteopath Ben Ousey.  More videos and other resources are on the way throughout 2017, so do check back in with us from time to time.

Manual therapies (when needed), exercise, and education

No matter what your starting point might be, there are simple steps that you can take to improve your own back health (no pun intended).  By making use of manual therapies when needed, by improving your mobility through regular stretching and exercise, and by educating yourself on issues such as reducing the risk of prolonged sitting, you can improve the health of your own lower back.