Back pain is a major problem, and around 10 million people suffer from back pain in the UK. Treating back problems costs the NHS approximately £1,000 million each year and lower back pain is the leading cause of long-term disability. One way to resolve persistent back pain is to visit a chiropractor.
Whether you live in London or you are enjoying a holiday in the capital, back pain is likely to cause you a lot of stress and discomfort. It’s hard to enjoy regular things when you are in pain. Sitting on the tube for 45 minutes or wandering around the National Gallery is a misery if your back is aching and all you want to do is lie down on a hard surface.
Often, back pain is temporary, caused by lifting something awkwardly or that was too heavy. It’s agonising, but the pain generally goes away with rest, usually within a week or so. In the meantime, over the counter pain relief pills and gels will help. But what happens if your pain doesn’t go away?
Visit Your GP
In the first instance, visit your GP. Although it is sometimes hard to identify the causes of back pain, your doctor will want to examine you to rule out any more serious problems. Medical conditions that can cause back pain include the following:
- Herniated disc – also known as a slipped or prolapsed disc, this condition is extremely painful.
- Sciatica – characterised by a sharp, tingling pain, sciatica is caused by irritation of the sciatic nerve that runs from the lower back.
Other medical causes of back pain include ankylosing spondylitis, spondylolisthesis, an infection, cauda equina syndrome, and cancer.
It’s best to visit your doctor before making an appointment with a chiropractor. If you are a non-UK resident in London on holiday, you can still see a doctor. The only difference is that you may have to pay upfront for healthcare. Visitors from the EU are entitled to reciprocal free healthcare, as long as they have an EHIC card, but be aware that not everything is covered. If paying fees might cause you financial problems, always ask for a cost estimate before accepting treatment.
Backpain Caused by Musculoskeletal Disorders
Chiropractors specialise in back pain caused by musculoskeletal disorders and disorders of the nervous system. They are experts at manipulating the spine to relieve pain. They adjust and move the spine using a hands-on approach to ensure it is properly aligned. This allows the spine to heal itself, rather than the patient resorting to drugs or surgery.
If you are suffering from back pain that’s not caused by a more serious underlying health problem, a chiropractor can help. However, not all chiropractors do good work, so it is important that you choose the right one for your treatment. The last thing you need if you have a long-haul flight booked to go home in a week is to spend the trip home in agony because of ineffective treatment.
In most areas, you can’t visit a chiropractor on the NHS, but if you visit a GP in London, they may be able to recommend one or let you know whether the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) in the area covers the cost of chiropractic treatment (if you are a London resident). If not, you will have to pay for private treatment.
Ask for Recommendations
A GP is the best person to ask about chiropractors, but if they can’t help, ask around to see if anyone you know can make a recommendation. You may find that family or friends have had a positive experience with a local chiropractor and are happy to recommend that person. If you are visiting London, Google is your best friend.
When searching for a chiropractor online, always check whether the person is registered with the General Chiropractic Council (GCC). If you use an unregistered chiropractor, you are not protected in the event the treatment causes you problems. In addition, an unregistered chiropractor probably isn’t qualified to do the job and could make your back pain significantly worse.
Look for registered chiropractors in your area. The London Back Pain Clinic is home to experienced chiropractors and can offer appointments to local residents as well as visitors. They are ideal if you are within travelling distance of Canary Wharf, Harley Street, or Wimpole Street.
Read any reviews available on the clinic you choose to check there are not a bunch of disgruntled clients. If there are, this person is best avoided. Check to see how far away the clinic is, so you can judge travelling time. Remember, travel in inner London is often complicated by delays and such like, especially during peak travel times. Where possible, look for a chiropractor accessible by tube or overland train, so you don’t have to worry about parking or congestion fees.
Once you have found someone suitable, give them a call to discuss your problem. A reputable chiropractor will have no issues seeing you for an initial assessment appointment. Make sure they give you a detailed outline of costs that states how long the treatment plan will last and what it includes.
If you are only visiting London, a chiropractor might not be for you, but if you live in the city, give one a try.