Back pain is one of the most common reasons people consult osteopaths and it is for this reason that we are true experts in dealing with back pain of all types and severity. Currently, back pain affects over 80% of the population at some stage of their lives, and the pain may vary from a slight niggling ache to sharp debilitating pain that can affect every part of the back and also radiate to other areas of the body too.
Sciatica is a general term describing pain from irritation or compression of the sciatic nerve that leaves your spine to supply your leg. Its symptoms are generally pain down the back of the legs and can sometimes be felt in the ankles, feet & toes.
The pain may hit suddenly like a lightening bolt, or may be like an excruciating “toothache” in your legs – either way sciatica is a painful experience that osteopaths are able to help you with in most cases. Early Sciatic Pain is often so mild it can be ignored but this is the stage when it’s vital to see your osteopath.
Sports injuries can be a very real problem for all athletes, from the social squash or tennis player to the highly tuned athlete competing at top level sporting events.
Your osteopath has to ask the question; why has the injury occurred there, why now and why to you, so that they can really get to the root of the problem and get you back to full fitness for longer and perhaps with advanced performance.
Obviously, where local traumas present such as a twisted shoulder or sprained wrist from a fall, your osteopath will help to reduce the pain and speed up the healing process ready for the next onslaught on the rugby field!
The intervertebral discs are the shock absorbers of the spine and are essential for the day to day as well as long term health of your spine and the nerves that run through and around it. Technically, discs cannot slip; however, they can bulge, herniate, collapse and even rupture.
Because of the serious nature of slipped discs, your family osteopath needs to see you quickly to ascertain where the problem is and how serious the injury is. Only after a full examination can a diagnosis be made at which point your osteopath will discuss with you the probable course of the injury and how best to resolve it.
Scoliosis is a general term meaning a sideways curvature of the spine. One shoulder or one side of the pelvis being higher than the other may be a sign of scoliosis.
Although no one has the ideal spine that is 100% straight, sometimes a scoliosis can occur which is out of the bounds of comfort for the patient in both pain and social terms.
It is very easy with one or two simple tests for your osteopath to determine whether a scoliotic spine has a good chance of being resolved or not, so it is best to pop in and talk to your osteopath to find out more.
The average adult head weighs about the same as a bowling ball and bad posture can cause your head to deviate from its most comfortable position. This can result in arm pains and often headaches spreading from the neck to up and over the head.
Trauma to the neck is also very common, especially in car accidents and falls. These types of injuries can cause a long list of symptoms to arise; neck pain, headaches, dizziness, blurred vision, reduced ability to turn and bend, low back pain, pins and needles, and numbness or muscle spasms in the shoulders, arms and hands.
Your osteopath will conduct a thorough investigation of your neck and related areas to determine where tissues have been damaged and then consult with you as to the best way forward for treatment.
Mother and Baby Related
The emotional strain of pregnancy followed by the physical stress of the birth often leaves the body with a feeling of being “pushed down” and “collapsed”. Postural problems that develop at this time can cause problems later in life.
Frequently the mother suffers back and neck pain in the weeks and months following the birth and is too busy to seek help. Freeing and balancing the body as soon as possible after the birth helps the mother cope with the new demands of the baby.
Compression of the baby’s cranium at birth can lead to developmental problems. Injury to the neck during birth can cause colic and distress which disturbs sleep and digestion. Birth trauma can be treated all through life but the sooner it is treated, the faster and more complete the response.
Headaches, migraine and dizziness
Headaches are common but they are not normal. Taking painkillers might give some relief from your headaches, but they do not address the cause of the problem.
Your osteopath will try to accurately diagnose your headache which in the vast majority of cases can be attributed to a mechanical dysfunction and can therefore be treated successfully.
Osteoarthritis & Arthritic Pain
Wear and tear seen on X-rays are not always the underlying cause of your pain and advanced arthritis can be managed well.
You don’t have to put up with constant pain so don’t be despondent if you’re told that you should expect a certain amount of pain for your age, or that it’s normal for you to have reduced movement. We often meet patients who have come to us as a last resort having been told that nothing can be done for them and they must live with pain. Osteopathic treatment may enable you to live a more active life with reduced pain and suffering.