Lower Back Pain

An increasingly common problem for individuals, lower back pain is believed to affect around 80 per cent of people at some time in their life. For the lucky it perhaps occurs once and goes away never to reappear. For others it’s a persistent problem that becomes extremely debilitating at time or, worse, starts affecting their everyday life, forcing them to make choices they wouldn’t otherwise. Depending on the cause and area of the pain treatment could involve stretches, pain management, referral to a doctor etc.

How to tell if you have lower back pain

You experience:

  • Non-specific pain because poor posture is putting strain on joints and muscles
  • Pain after lifting or carrying a heavy object. In this instance the disc has become separated from the vertebrae. Damage can range from a small strain (annular) to a prolapsed disc which can cause nerve irritation in the leg (sciatica). Tests, including those with an MRI and Xray can help identify the difficulty.
  • Muscle spasms – which are painful and restrictive

Coccyx Pain

Located at the base of the spine, the coccyx (tailbone) consists of up to five vertebrae with an articular disc in between. They can vary quite considerably when it comes to shape. A physical examination is often carried out by a doctor and a local anaesthetic used to determine where exactly the pain is coming from. Active X-rays can help so too can steroid injections. Stretching exercises such as yoga and a coccyx pillow can also help.

Osteopathic treatment includes manual therapy using internal techniques and work on the nearby muscles and ligaments to help relieve pressure on the coccyx.

How to tell if you have a problem with the coccyx

You experience:

  • Pain on sitting after playing sports and landing on your coccyx
  • Pain after horse riding or giving birth

Causes of Coccyx Pain (Coccydynia)

Firstly pathology must be ruled out; this is uncommon but is essential!

Through evolution we have lost certain muscles and ligaments that were used to control and move our tails. So now we lack the ability to manipulate our coccyx back into the correct position and must be done so by an external force that I shall explain more later.

But first, here are common reasons for injuring ones coccyx: falls onto your coccyx, impact sports, winter/extreme sports, horse riding, child birth/pregnancy.

Investigations and Treatment

A physical examination is usually performed by your practitioner. This can involve both internal and external examination of the coccyx, sacrum and surrounding muscles and ligaments.

A local anesthetic can also be used to make sure that it is the coccyx that is causing the pain and is not being referred from another structure, such as the low back.

Active x-rays can be performed comparing the seated and standing positions, however, many Dr are not aware of this test and it is rarely used.

Orthopaedic specialists will often use local steroid injection into the coccyx or in extreme cases remove the coccyx.

As an osteopath, manual therapy has moved to be very effective at easing and relieving coccyx pain. We use both external and (less commonly) internal techniques to take the coccyx back into extension and reverse the affects of any falls that the coccyx has felt. We also work on the surrounding muscles and ligaments to ease the pressure being placed on the coccyx.

Some exercises to extend the back through Yoga or through a lumbar extender have been shown to ease the pain. Also suitable coccyx pillows can help to control the tenderness whilst sitting.

If you feel like this is affecting you then please feel free to give us a call.

Growing Pains

Affecting up to 45 per cent of youngsters, growing pains tend to
hit between the ages of seven and 12. They are caused by the muscles
and not the bones. One hypothesis is that during a ‘growth spurt’,
a child bones grow rapidly. The muscles which surround these bones
struggle to keep up with the speed of the bone growth and therefore,
as they are stretched, become very tight. They pull on their
attachments via their tendons, which can be very painful, and can
sometimes result in conditions such as Osgood Schlatters.  Growing
pains tend to make themselves known after a day of heavy exertion.

Although they are fairly common and can be painful and distressing, growing pains will not cause long-term damage.


How to recognise growing pains:

  •  Cramp-like pain
  • The calves and thighs are most commonly affected
  • The pain occurs after a lot of running around or a busy day
  • knees


      Caused by the joints being over used (ie wear and tear), the cartilage rubs away so that bone ends up rubbing against bone and forming osteophytes (new bone-like growth). It results in pain and inflamed joints. Movement is restricted to the point it can prove extremely debilitating.

      How to tell if you have arthritis

      You experience:

      • Stiffness first thing in the morning
      • Pain (is osteoarthritis is involved)
      • The joints feel hot and swell up