top of page
  • Writer's pictureFlow Osteopathy

What causes upper or lower back pain and how can it be treated?

Updated: Dec 20, 2023

Good spinal health plays an essential role in your overall health and wellbeing. Anyone who has suffered with back pain knows the impact on your mind and body. It can really affect your daily living. Your spine is a complex and flexible structure of bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons and nerves. It carries the bulk of your weight and plays an essential role in protecting the nervous and circulatory systems that run down your spinal cord.

Person holding their lower back in pain

Your back and spine are sensitive to irritation. With some exceptions like spinal cord trauma, most conditions are not serious, although the pain can be debilitating. Wear and tear can also lead to chronic pain, particularly as we age. Taking care of your spine and back is important at any age and by maintaining its strength and flexibility, it will be better equipped to cope with the daily strains placed upon it and will be less vulnerable to chronic and acute back pain conditions.

What can trigger upper or lower back pain?

Upper or lower back pain can be triggered by the following:

• Sudden falls or accidents, which involve force or an obscure movement of the spine.

• Poor posture particularly in a seated position and for long periods.

• Bending and lifting without supporting the spine correctly.

• Referred pain from neck and shoulder injury.

• Sporting activity that involves twisting, impact or repetition.

• Periods of prolonged rest, inactivity and sleeping position.

How might back pain present itself?

If you’re suffering with back pain, you may experience some of the following symptoms:

• A sharp pinch or shooting sensation that comes on as you move into a certain position.

• A dull (painful) constant ache that may radiate in a particular area, or refer pain to other areas.

• A sharp nerve pain that tends to occur in one area but can often radiate down the closest limb.

• A feeling of weakness or a sense that your back may “give way” is common across the lower part of the back.

• A general sense that your upper body feels jammed up or out of alignment.

It is uncommon for these symptoms to be the sign of a more serious health condition. If you experience other general health symptoms, such as incontinence or numbness, or your back pain has come on suddenly after a forceful accident, you should seek medical advice immediately.

How is back pain treated?

There are various ways that back pain can be treated, which may depend on factors such as the severity or personal preference. Here are some of the most common back pain treatments:


If your back pain is relatively mild, you may wish to try some self-help exercises to reduce your recovery time. The NHS recommends that you remain active and continue daily activities as much as possible. There are also some specific exercises that you can have a go at which may help to alleviate your discomfort – please visit the NHS back pain webpage for example videos.


If your back pain is severe, you may feel like you need to visit your GP. They may prescribe you with medication to help ease your pain and/or may refer you for other treatments.


In extreme cases, surgery may be given as an option for those suffering with back pain.

Manual therapy

Manual therapy can be in the form of a physiotherapist, chiropractor or osteopath. This type of treatment usually works by manipulating or massaging your back to alleviate discomfort. Your GP can refer you for physiotherapy, but chiropractic or osteopathic treatments are not usually offered on the NHS and will need to be booked privately.

If you’d like to know more about manual therapy – specifically osteopathy – as a treatment for back pain, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. I'm a qualified, experienced and welcoming osteopath based in Ilkley and Knaresborough, Yorkshire, who is trained to assess, diagnose and treat various musculoskeletal conditions, such as back pain. I use hands-on techniques, which may include massage, mobilisation or manipulation, to relive tension and discomfort in your muscles or joints which are related to your back pain. Treatment is gentle and you’ll often be given follow-on exercises to complete at home in order to aid recovery. Learn more about me and my back pain treatment via our website. You can also book an initial consultation via the online booking calendar.

126 views0 comments


Post: Blog2_Post
bottom of page