Lower back pain has reached epidemic proportions in the western world and is the most common complaint treated by Osteopaths. Research shows that 60% of the UK’s population will suffer from it at some stage during their lives. Back pain responds well to osteopathic treatment – reducing pain and restoring mobility and quality of life.
Back pain can be caused by repeated poor posture, stress, overstrain, wear-and-tear, disc injuries as well as various diseases. It can cause pain or other symptoms in other areas which may be triggered by irritation of the spinal nerves.
This is one example of “referred” pain, caused by the irritation of the sciatic nerve. This is the longest nerve in the body and affects a large part of the leg. This is normally the result of a low back problem.
Unfortunately, shoulder problems are quite common and cause variable amounts of pain and limitation of movement. This is sometimes brought on by long term poor posture, but can be more of an acute episode through a specific strain or injury. Sometimes the cause is unknown. It can respond well to treatment, but occasionally can lead to pain and disability lasting up to 2 years and may require other intervention.
These are often caused by poor mechanics in the neck, aggravated by stress, poor posture, wear-and-tear etc.
Normal wear-and-tear of joints associated with aging or excessive use is known as Osteoarthritis and can affect a number of joints. It eventually leads to restriction in movement and variable amounts of discomfort or pain, which can interfere with everyday activities. Osteopathy can’t reverse the physical changes but can, in most cases, offer relief from pain and provide greater freedom of movement.
Why osteopathy for arthritis
Osteopathic treatment can do a great deal to reduce pain, ease swelling and improve mobility and range of joint movement. There are many popular misconceptions about arthritis. For example: ‘Degenerative change on x-rays means that nothing can be done. Pain killers or anti-inflammatories are the only answer’. In fact, joint wear and tear is normal after the age of 35 and does not necessarily mean you will have any symptoms. The osteopath may well require x-rays, blood tests or even MRI scans to assess the extent of your condition. Treatment is not painful and, often, symptom relief begins immediately.
The stresses and strains imposed on the musculo-skeletal system during pregnancy are considerable. They vary according to the frame and make-up of the mother, the size of the baby, how the mother “carries” the baby etc. Problems become worse in the latter stages as the ligaments relax in preparation for the birth process. Often much relief can be given by appropriate Osteopathic treatment and advice.
Chronic muscular tension can result in a lot of discomfort and nagging pain. This is often the result of poor posture which sometimes can be hard to change. Also, many people don’t use pillows properly so their neck is not supported correctly whilst sleeping, causing pain and stiffness in the mornings. However, it is never too late to try to alleviate these problems and helpful advice will be given. If there is wear-and-tear in the neck, this will inevitably lead to restriction in movement and discomfort but suitable treatment on a more regular basis can usually help to minimise the symptoms.
Many of theses are of an obvious cause, but often pain can come on “out the blue”. even when people are doing their normal sporting activities. Osteopaths can assess their body mechanics and correct areas of restrictions. These may have been causing their bodies to over-compensate, making them more susceptible to injury. Also, advice on training and especially stretching exercises can make a vital impact on performance and reduce the risk of injury. Sport should be an enjoyable and rewarding activity.
Whiplash is caused by uncontrolled sudden movements of the neck, usually in a forward/backward direction and most commonly associated with car accidents. It affects the tissues of the neck to varying degrees depending on a number of factors, but can also cause problems to other parts of the body.