Back pain therapy will consist of manipulating the body is some way to release tension, correct misalignment and generally allow the spine, and hence the body to work more effectively, and repair itself. There are three main areas of physical therapy relating to the back, and these are:
Physical Therapist (Physiotherapist in some countries)
A Chiropractor will release what they call subluxations in the back; slight imbalances that cause the spine to be misaligned. These subluxations in turn cause the whole body to be out of balance, for example for the hips to be tilted to one side or the other, for vertebra to become angled against one another. The vetebral tilting wil lead to issues such as trapped nerves, the most common of which is Sciatica. Further degredation of the vertebra will cause a herniated disc, and may cause the body to start to build spurs of bone that ultimately lead to a partial fusion of the back (to protect the vertebra from rubbing against one another).
In terms of back pain, the chiropractor will reset the back so that over a number of treatments will move back toward the shape it should be. You should get some temporary relief from having the spine set back into place. To put the back into the state is needs to be for optimal function is generally a longer term proposition, years rather than months, and an ongoing effort. Sciatica’s cause, or nerve pinching can be resolved through chiropractic sessions.
An osteopath will look at the body as a whole, rather than looking at the back pain specifically. For example posture may be a factor in back pain, or some muscular issue. The osteopath is concerned with the holistic well being of the body, and with returning the body to the state of equilibrium. In this way, the body through it’s self-regulatory systems, will repair and rebuild itself. An osteopath is a longer term proposition, although the osteopath may be able to help you with short term relief of symptoms.
A Physical Therapist will use massage, stretching and special exercises to return the function of the body to its normal state. A physical therapist should be able to use massage, heat, and muscle stimulation to relieve the painful symptoms of sciatica, and is also likely to prescribe you to perform various stretches and exercises to release the piriform muscle and other muscles possibly responsible for the sciatica aggravation.