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Back and Neck Pain

Causes of back and neck pain

There are many causes of back pain. Luckily most are due to non-specific causes or broadly termed mechanical back pain and it is this category which is especially amenable to more conservative therapies such as Osteopathy.

The most common causes are:

  1. Overuse and Over-activity injuries (e.g., from gardening or unusual activity).
  2. Trauma e.g. from Sports injuries.
  3. Wear and Tear (osteoarthritis) of spinal (facet) joints.
  4. Wear and tear of intervertebral discs (Degenerative).
  5. Prolapsed or herniated intervertebral disc.
  6. Whiplash, typically as a result of motoring accidents

Standing, sitting or bending down for long periods

Strains from lifting, carrying, pushing or pulling loads that those are too heavy.

There are conditions which can aggravate Back or Neck Pain

  1. Illnesses and disease e.g. even a simple flu or cold can cause back ache, the mechanical forces from coughing or sneezing can be the cause of acute pain.
  2. Overweight.
  3. Poor posture, weak trunk muscles popularly referred to as a weak core.
  4. Moods such as anxiety or depression can also aggravate back pain; and can even bring on pain.

Back Pain – a quick guide to non specific and Inflammatory back pain

This guide identifies groups of people who require different approaches to treatment and management of their condition.

Non Specific Back pain

Non-specific low back pain is pain, tension, soreness, or stiffness in the lower back which cannot be attributed to a specific cause. Sprains and strains of the back are included in the concept of non-specific low back pain. It is not by itself a disease, more a symptom or complaint.

Mechanical Back Pain

Is typical of non-specific low back pain but can also include specific causes such as Sciatica, facet joint disease, vertebral fracture.

The pain here varies with posture or movement. For example, in some people low back pain is aggravated by standing and relieved by sitting or lying; in other people, low back pain is aggravated by sitting and relieved by standing depending on its causes.

Inflammatory Back Pain

In this condition back or neck pain and stiffness is aggravated by rest or sleep, often waking the person in the night. It is usually relieved by physical activity. It usually lasts for more than thirty minutes after getting up in the morning and is relieved by physical activity, and non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

It is typical of rheumatic conditions like Rheumatoid Arthritis as well as Ankylosing Spondylitis, but can also be caused by other insults to spinal structures such as disc protrusions and vertebral collapse seen in Osteoporosis.

"I have been going to see Mr Holve for over 15 years. Whether a serious injury from playing Rugby or a long term back problem from my Cricket, Mr Holve has never failed to either help me heal quickly or cured the condition with minimum fuss. I would never go anywhere else."

Councillor Simon Marcus, and Ex- Captain of Hampstead Heathens

"We have been treated by Laurens on a number of occasions for shoulder and lower back problems. Each time, after one or two short treatments, the pain and restricted movement has been resolved. The last episode involved a slipped disc and muscle spasm that meant I could not get up or walk easily. Both manipulation and acupuncture helped and within 2 days I was able to move properly.

We would unreservedly recommend Laurens and have already done so as he is very gentle, clear in what the problem is and how he is going to resolve it, personable and an excellent osteopath."

Dr Mark Zuckerman – Hospital Consultant , Dr Tanya Levine – Consultant Pathologist

"I was under the care of the National Neurological Hospital in central London after losing muscle and strength in my left arm. An MRI revealed protruding discs causing pressure on the spinal cord such that there was loss of muscle/ function and I was due for major surgery through my neck thats associated with a 15% chance of incurring serious complications. Luckily for me, I was introduced to Laurens Holve at his practice in Oakeshott Avenue, Highgate, Laurens performed his initial assessment, taking the more comprehensive perspective that regarded my problem as part of me as a person and not just based on an MRI scan, and after a handful of treatments I regained approximately 50% of power in my arm and thus averted major surgery. I am endebted and totally endeared by Laurens and cannot thank him enough."

Dr T Nicholaou BSc MRCP MD [Res], Consultant Medical Oncologist

"Whenever sciatica, tennis elbow, shoulder and lower back pain have bedevilled me my first port of call has always been Laurens Holve. His unique blend of insightful knowledge, gentle humour and well-aimed therapy have quite literally kept me going for years."

Jeremy Taylor – Science Writer

"To have confidence in a practitioner is fundamentally important to me. I have been treated by Laurens Holve for over 20 years. He is quite simply my first port of call. Always treating whatever problem with great expertise, honesty and constant common sense; with humour never far away."

Barbara Flynn – Actress

"Laurens Holve is an exceptional health practitioner. Trained and skilled in multi disciplines I am pleased to have had the privilege of working with him throughout my twenty six year career. His knowledge is matched only by his instinct with regard to the structural medicine offered by osteopathy. His experience as an acupuncturist has him, in my opinion, as a leader in a field of invaluable therapeutic benefit. By being able to combine this with osteopathy and his training in traditional Chinese medicine he leaves me with no hesitation in supporting his work through this testimonial. He is a wonderful colleague, friend and human being to whom I have turned both personally and, on behalf of my patients, professionally for both physical ailments and psychological support."

Dr R. Sharma MB, BCh, BAO, LRCP&S(Ire,) MFHom

"I have known Laurens for thirty years and he is the only person whom I would completely trust with my back and neck problems. Not only is he an excellent, first-rate osteopath, but he also gives great advice on aftercare and maintaining good back health. I have seen a few back doctors in my time, but Laurens is unequivocally the best. I never hesitate in recommending him to all my friends who have back problems. I just hope he doesn’t decide to retire early!"

Michelle Doughty – PR executive and writer, London, UK

"If you have a bad back, a bad neck, a bad leg, or a bad anything else, Laurens Holve is your man. Some osteopaths are osteopaths. Laurens Holve is a magician."

Waldemar Januszczak - The Sunday Times Art Critic and film maker of television arts documentaries

"As a runner I have consulted Laurens Holve on a number of injuries I have sustained. Always knowledgeable and clear in his diagnosis. He has used both Osteopathic and Acupuncture treatments, which I have found highly effective. I would strongly recommend Laurens Holve to everyone."

Steve Richards – Political columnist for the Independent and BBC presenter

"As an international consultant I have to be in a tip-top condition all the time to give my best to clients, workshop participants, colleagues and suppliers. To give the best, I have to feel great. Laurens fixes backs, necks, arms, shoulders, knees, ankles etc. I default to him for any joint or muscle pain. He accurately diagnoses cause, works on repair and leaves you to do the exercises and activities to complete the job - with an accurate prognosis for healing time.

So I feel great - and no tear or minor sports injury stops me from being at the top of my game. And in my spare time? I'm a field archaeologist. Laurens' healing keeps my back supple so I can play my full part digging and trowelling with the team."

Roger Mayo – Director, MT&D Learning Solutions

"As a fellow acupuncturist, I have been visiting Laurens for many years when I have needed treatment for various ailments. I can thoroughly recommend his professional approach to treatment & admire his dedication to updating his skills through attending relevant courses. Being an acupuncturist myself, I am very careful about who I will let treat me. The fact that I have been Lauren’s patient for many years should speak volumes itself."

Beth Ingham, Acupuncturist/Chinese Herbal Medicine