My number one tip to solve back pain and its not what you think.


If you have read some of the posts on this blog, you will see there are many things you can change to help solve back pain. There is no one magic bullet to help solve back pain, but there is one thing that is at the top of my list, and it is an easy one.

You are probably seeing an Osteopath, Chiropractor or your preferred manual therapist either currently or in the past. Why isn’t it working? Or why is it only relieving some symptoms temporarily?

Working with animals for the past ten years has given me many insights into the effectiveness of osteopathy and the one change I want you to know about, I see time and time again with horses.

Most horse owners I talk with know that animals heal quicker than us humans. The first comment is about how well horses improve because they have “less baggage”. While it plays a part, it is not what I always find, and the change I want to discuss I feel is more of an issue than how much emotional baggage there is.

The one thing most of the horses I see does after treatment to correct its back pain or discomfort is that it is put back into the paddock and allowed to do what it needs to do for a short period after treament. Sleep, eat, drink, roll, gallop, buck, neigh. snort. It is I feel the next few hours and days after treatment where the change occurs.

The osteopath does not fix you or your horse. It fixes itself. The osteopath is just the facilitator to “remind” the healing mechanism to make the change. Osteopaths understand this and space treatments further apart than many manual therapists. We know the healing comes from within as it is a principle of our wonderful profession.

Horses who “need” to be worked straight after treatment require more treatment like us. Even if I advise a short rest, the owner wants to either keep weight down, fitness up and temperament tired. Most of the time the horse would benefit more with a short rest. Just like us.

We book the appointment, and it’s a rush just to get there at the right time. We are eager to lie down and rest while the osteopath goes about their work and then when done we flip back into work mode and carry on our day.

If you think about it know wonder the change can be small after treatment. How can the body continue to make changes when we have suddenly moved out of a healing phase back into an aroused heightened physiology to get through the rest of the day?

The horse doesn’t, and pre-school children don’t either. They so what they need to do to promote healing. Allowed to sleep, run, play or eat.

That’s the secret.

My patient’s response to this request is frequently met with resistance as life is busy. Just finding the time to get to the appointment is tricky. I know I’m a patient too. I know the times I see my osteopath while squeezing in work either side means the consultation is compromised. It happens, but I try to minimise it.

What would occur in an ideal work would be just like the horse a period of 12-48 hours of peaceful, relaxed nurturing activities, much like a spa or retreat holiday? Time to rest or time to gently move.

In real life just reorganising the rest of the day around the osteopath rather than the other way. It’s important; you are paying good money for it and your health should be the most important thing for you.

So put the phone away. Plan a walk in a park, go back to bed for an hour, eat a nutrient dense meal that night. Stay off caffeine and alcohol for the rest of the day. Go to sleep the time you aim for to get your 7-9 hours.

Just prioritise this important part of treatment as it was many decades ago when Osteopaths saw patients in the hospital so they can prescribe the correct rest and care 24/7.

If you are already doing this and your back pain is still an issue, then please look to the many changes I know work to help you find health, and move out of pain.


Chris York