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I've done something to my back and it is eye-wateringly painful. I'm breastfeeding so can't take anything other than paracetamol. I'm prone to sciatica anyway but I'm hoping a bath, hot water bottle and a good night's sleep will sort it out.
If it doesn't I'm considering a visit to an osteopath. Are they likely to be able to fix it straight away or would I have to go back for several weeks? I'd love to get rid of my back pain once and for all.
In my experience they can do some stuff instantly, as they can unlock muscles that have gone into spasm around an injury. They can't "fix" the injury (ice pack, then heat pack should take down swelling and aid healing).
Longer term, they can rejig your spine. In my case, he had to move my pelvis by a couple of inches. Took 6 months, but ended 20 years worth of pain.
It really does depend on what you've done. I've had great immediate results in some cases (pregnancy - hips seized up a bit), but it took longer in other cases (chronic stress tightness in my upper back).
Depending on your pregnancy and birth it's possible that your core muscles are a bit stuffed so you may not have the lower back support from muscles that you need.
If you do go to an osteo ask about strengthening exercises suitable post-partum and also maybe look at pilates?
From personal experience, there's no point in having physio until the joints are back in the right place, so a visit to an osteopath first might be the best bet. It does sometimes take several visits because if the muscles are locked solid, they can only manipulate things bit by bit. You can then switch to a physiotherapist afterwards if you want to.
Be very careful. I was in a similar situation after my second pregnancy and sciatica is a sign that all is not well. You need to get it diagnosed properly if it is that painful. I didn't, and have ended up with a permanent foot drop (partial paralysis of the leg and foot) as a result of an undiagnosed slipped disc. The osteo didn't realise what had happened, and those massages and manipulation did more harm than good. I know I sound like a horrible voice-of-doom but really wish I had known then what I know now. I suggest a visit to the doc, and definitely wait until the pain is less severe before going to an osteo.
Burner - what happened to you is awful. But actually I have heard more stories like this where the patient went to GP. Specialist back problems are not a gp's specialism and nor should they be.
Having said that, with any manipulative treatment you must be confident that the practitioner is qualified. Word of mouth is best. But check online and that he/she is associated with relevant industry bodies in the first instance.
Osteo or Chiro can both be super helpful in these situations.
Hi gallicgirl I'm an osteopath myself and having read your post my initial advice to you would be take the heat away, i.e hot water bottle. Most back pain can be related to some sort of inflammation around a joint which in turn causes muscular spasm. Adding heat will not help decrease inflammation (quite the opposite). Heat does often make us feel temporarily better as it soothes the muscles that are probably spasming however once you take it off you are no further ahead (maybe even further back) as the root cause of the inflammation is still there. I only ever advice heat if I am sure it is only a muscle that is affected and even then I often say to alternate with cold. I would advise a pack of frozen peas on the bit of your back that is sore for 10 mins up to once an hour (no more frequently or you'll freeze) Try to keep up gentle movement like walking around as inflammation can build when we are stationary (that is often why we are so stiff when we try to get up again). As far as your original question about whether you would have to attend more than one session my answer would be not necessarily, every problem is different and your osteopath should have open discussion with you about prognosis and treatments. They should not be signing you up for more than one straight away. I hope you feel better soon, any questions feel free to ask. Back pain is just horrid and so difficult when you have a little baby to look after.