“What is wrong with my lower back?”

It’s the question nearly every body I meet asks me.  More than “How are you?”  Or “Where are you going on holiday this year?”  That’s because I’m an Edinburgh osteopath specialising in lower back pain.  I’ve specialised in it for 25 years.  And written two books on lower back pain.  It was the main focus of my Masters Degree in the Clinical Management of Pain.

First, where is your lower back?

It might seem like a daft thing to state, but it’s important to agree which part of you we’re talking about.  The anatomy texts agree that the top of your lower back is your 12th rib on each side.  And the bottom of your lower back is the crease below your buttocks. We do not include further down your leg.  If you’re interested, we specialise in lower back and sciatica treatment. So, now that we’ve agreed where your lower back is…

What is wrong with my lower back?”

It’s at this point I think “What am I doing?! Trying to answer  a simple question that has many possible answers.” You might think there are so many possible things that could go wrong with your lower back.  And you’d be right.  There are.  The trouble is that they have a very poor relationship with actual pain.  So, lots of people are walking around with imperfections, and no pain.

Pain only happens when your brain is alarmed enough to feel that you need a warning.  That’s what pain is – a warning system.  So, if you’re in pain, it’s because your brain thinks you need to be warned about something.  Usually this is about some minor damage that has occurred. But it can happen without any damage at all e.g. think about phantom limb pain. Think about it.  What other purpose could pain possibly serve?  It’s in our interests to be warned that if we keep doing something we may end up with a real problem.  So, it’s better to give us a jolt of pain when it’s still a threat, or just a minor injury.

OK, so I’m avoiding the question “What is wrong with my lower back?”  You’re right.  If you want an accurate diagnosis, I can’t give you it without having more information about you and your back.  Sorry.

What’s the best you can do for my back?

If you want to know in detail what’s wrong with my lower back?  And you can afford £59 for an in-person, or Skype consultation, or you want to consult an “osteopath near me“, just book an appointment with an osteopath.