Causes, prevention and treatment for many types of back pain

Back pain is a very common problem to see a Bowen Therapist about. The majority of adults in the UK will experience some form of back pain during a year. Every week I help people with their back problems, give me a call asking for Kim on 01954 204142 or email me at

A Bowen Move being carried out on the backThe first thing to do is if you are worried then go see your doctor. In rare cases back pain can be a symptom of a more serious issue (though back pain in itself is a very serious issue to those suffering it). If you cannot put your finger on what may be causing it (i.e. working at PC for long periods or digging in garden - some trigger) then get yourself checked out. For example, urinary infections can cause quite intense lower back pain.

Types of back pain

  • Acute - Where a very sharp pain is felt in the back and its usually fairly obvious what the trigger is. It may be heavy lifting (children, shopping) or gardening (bending over weeding or digging). This pain can be incapacitating and the only thing you will feel like doing is getting into the most comfortable position possible and laying/sitting/standing still. You have injured a muscle or tendon and it now needs rest to get better. This is why a doctor will simply say take it easy for a couple of weeks and take some pain-killers. This will usually work, but the problem could and often does re-occur.
  • Chronic - The term chronic is often used to describe intense pain, but in this case refers to the length of time the condition lasts. This type of back pain doesn't get better in a few days or weeks. Often (thankfully) the pain isn't as great as with the acute cases but the persistance of it gradually wears one down - physically and emotionally. Tablets, stretching, heat pads, freeze sprays and various types of deep tissue massage or therapies like acupuncture can and often do help but for many people don't last. You are tired, you are irritable you simple don't know what to do. Sound familiar?

Causes of back pain

Acute back pain is usually caused by a overdoing what your back is capable of. So lifting too much in the wrong way or twisting suddenly. Chronic can be a left over from an acute back pain incident where the immediate injury has subsided but not completely healed properly. It can also be caused by much more serious injuries like a herniated aka 'slipped disc'. There are some skeletal disorders that can cause chronic back pain - again if in doubt please talk to your GP.

Prevention of back pain

Bad posture is something I was certainly warned about as a child by my much wiser teachers. It takes a long time but bad posture can cause long term back problems and its down to you to sort it out.

  • Standing - Don't slouch, keep your shoulders back, head up and try and keep your body as straight as possible.
  • Desk work - Think right angles. Don't slouch, feet on the floor knees at right angles, back straight, head up with the top of the screen at eye level. Get a good chair with back support.
  • Driving - Don't slouch! Tilt seat back very slightly and ensure you are not too close or too far away from the steering wheel or pedals for comfortable, relaxing driving.

Have a rest. Don't stay in one position too long. The Alexander Technique may help with better posture.

We cannot avoid lifiting heavy objects in our everyday lives. When lifiting try not to bend over too much else you will end up taking the strain with your back rather than with your legs. Squat down and try and keep your back straight when lifitng. A comprehensive guide to lifting is available from the Health and Safety Executive

Try and strengthen your back with exercises such as Yoga or Pilates both these exercises strengthen your 'core'. There are specific exercises that may be given to you after a Bowen treatment to help strengthen your back.

 What would a Bowen Treatment do for my back pain?

It would depend on the cause of the back pain. Bowen can provide substantial relief to back pain. Significant relief is usually obtained within 2 or 3 sessions even for long standing complaints.