Osteopathy for Pain Relief
More Pain Relief Less Drugs – Osteopathy
One of the main purposes of osteopathy is pain relief. Osteopathy helps people of all ages who suffer from pain, tackling complaints ranging from sports and work-related injuries to arthritis and sciatica. The osteopath’s role is to help get the body moving better which can take the pressure of the irritated structures helping to alleviate pain and improve the patient’s mobility, Improving the body movement and its ability to work will make life more comfortable and where possible help understand the cause of pain so it can be avoided.
Osteopathy recognises that much of the pain and disability we suffer stems from abnormalities in our body’s structure and function.
Our Manchester Osteopaths diagnose and treat problems with muscles, ligaments, nerves and joints to help the body’s natural healing ability.
Treatment involves gentle, manual techniques – easing pain, reducing swelling and improving mobility. Often, this involves manipulation which can result in an audible‘crack’ which is simply the sound of gas bubbles popping in the fluid of the joints.
Osteopathy does not involve the use of drugs or surgery.
What is pain?
Pain is your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong. It is often caused by swelling of tissue, which creates pressure on nerves and leads to discomfort. Pain is a useful mechanism to alert you to a problem, and stops you from damaging your body further. It should always, therefore, be taken seriously.
Pain can affect many areas of the body, but particularly the lower back, head, neck, joints and legs. It can result from injuries and arthritis, and can also manifest itself in the form of rheumatic pain and period pain.
Osteopathy and the treatment of pain
Our Manchester Osteopaths look to diagnose the cause of pain and help to ease it by reducing tissue inflammation.
Treatment methods range from massage of muscles and connective tissues to manipulation and stretching of joints. This helps to reduce muscle spasm, to increase mobility and to create a healthier state in which damaged tissues can heal.
Much long-term, recurrent pain is caused by degenerative changes to the body’s framework.
Nobody can reverse this process of ageing, but osteopathic treatment may still ease pain. Pain control is an important part of treatment and osteopaths give guidance on simple self-help methods to use at home.
The skilled techniques of osteopathy can often allow you a speedy return to normal activity. If you have had a pain for a long time, and other forms of treatment have not helped, osteopathic treatment can be beneficial, although it may require time and patience.
Key points to remember…
Osteopaths are skilled health care professionals.
Osteopaths deal with pain every day and treat six million people suffering from pain each year.
Osteopaths can help you with treatment and advice on self help.
Osteopaths treat acute and chronic pain.
Osteopaths can help prevent pain from recurring.
Lower Back Pain injury and treatment, an osteopathic approach
Lower back pain is one of the largest complaints to Manchester Osteopaths and has reached epidemic proportions in the western world. 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.
The scourge of back pain
Lower back pain now affects two-thirds of the adult population of the UK; it is the nation’s leading cause of disability.
Four out of five people will suffer back pain lasting more than a day at some point in their lives.
Over £480 million a year is spent on services used by sufferers of back pain, including 14 million GP consultations, seven million therapy sessions and
800,000 hospital beds.
Back pain is very common in children. Around 50% of children in Europe experience back pain at some time.
Back problems and repetitive strain injuries cost British industry £5 billion each year.
Doctors write 55 million prescriptions for painkillers each year.
Back pain – causes and effects
The trouble with back pain is that it can do more than just give you a pain in the back. It can create difficulties with walking, sitting, bending and lifting and can even lead to depression and incontinence. It can also be the cause of pain in the buttocks, groin or legs (commonly called sciatica), in the head, neck, shoulders and arms. It can also be one of the effects of hip, knee and foot problems.
Back pain can result from bad posture, a sudden jerky movement, a lumpy mattress or poor lifting techniques. It can also be caused by injury in a work place, by a sports accident or by muscular spasms. It often occurs during pregnancy or, because of decreased flexibility, as people get older.
There are also many diseases and pathological conditions that can lead to back pain.
These include abdominal or pelvic disease, anxiety, arthritis, cervical or lumbar spondylosis, ermatological problems, kidney disease, rheumatic conditions, tumours and scoliosis.
Our modern, sedentary lifestyles have a profound effect on the development of back pain; indeed one of the most effective ways of preventing it is simply to stay active.
An average adult in the UK spends at least two hours a day in front of a computer screen or television set, and back problems can be triggered if they don’t sit properly.
In an age of mobile phones and computer games, such troubles are increasingly inflicting children of school age as well.
Osteopathy and the treatment of back pain
Osteopathic treatment is often the most effective first line of attack in correcting problems caused by back pain. Speedy access to our clinic Manchester Osteopaths for treatment in acute attacks often averts the possibility of conditions becoming chronic.
By correcting any underlying mechanical disturbances in the musculo-skeletal system, osteopaths can greatly relieve pain and distress, minimise dependency on drugs and slash the cost of treatment for side effects.
Osteopathic treatment often negates the need for further medical investigation or surgery, although Manchester Osteopaths are skilled in diagnosing problems that require such investigation or treatment.
Back problems account for over 50% of the cases osteopaths see.
Manchester Osteopaths helping the battle at Work
Occupational injuries account for many for the 350 million working days a year lost in Britain.
Osteopaths are skilled at discovering underlying causes of pain. Trained to have a thorough understanding of anatomy and physiology, they use their hands to investigate and treat injuries to the ligaments, muscles and joints.
Poor posture can contribute to daily aches and pains whether you lift heavy loads, sit at the PC incorrectly or drive for long periods. An osteopath can advise on correct posture and movement and can give instruction on back care and preventative exercises.
Significant types of illnesses due to work are disorders of the muscles, tendons and joints (particularly in the back, hands and arms). Symptoms vary from mild aches and pains to severe
pain and disability.
Problems caused by manual handling and lifting:
– Muscle and tendon injuries.
– Intervertebral disc lesions (‘slipped disc’).
Problems caused by forceful or repetitive movements:
– Carpal tunnel syndromes.
– Epicondylitis (e.g. ‘tennis elbow).
– Mouse wrist.
Problems caused by unsuitable posture or repetitive movements:
– Low back pain.
– Neck and shoulder pain.
– Computer hump.
– Repetitive Strain Injury.
Manchester Osteopaths for the employer
For years, a number of large companies have retained osteopaths as part of their permanent company health teams. Many smaller companies have also benefited from liaison with their local osteopaths.
Having an osteopath involved in your staff care programmes can lead to a fitter workforce and improved moral, increased productivity and less time off through ill-health.
Manchester Osteopaths for the employee
Most of the 3500 osteopaths in the UK work from private practices, however many GPs are working more closely with osteopaths and can offer the option of referring patients to an osteopath on the NHS.
Many people consult an osteopath privately. Telephone local practices for fees in your
Many private health insurance schemes now cover osteopathic treatment (discuss the details with your company).
You do not need to consult your GP before you visit an osteopath although you may choose to do so.
Osteopaths can provide you with a sick note if you need time off work.
Is your car driving your pain? An osteopaths opinion
Whether driving a car, a bus, or a lorry or even as a passenger – you could be suffering driving related back pain.
In all these cases, osteopathy can help to reduce pain and your osteopath in Manchester can offer advice on back pain management, including simple exercises to prevent problems in the future.
Keep moving is advised by osteopaths –
It’s not just the driver who can stiffen up in a car. Passengers are often seated for long periods of time in a fixed position.
Movement is the key for car, driver and passenger.
As a passenger, try to alter your position from time to time and sit with your knees bent and thighs level and comfortable. Avoid sitting with your legs crossed; move them regularly.
For driver and passengers, stop regularly, ideally once an hour, especially when feeling tired.
Get out of your vehicle and walk around it several times.
Stretch like a cat, gently moving your arms around, bringing your knees up to your hips, and stretching your whole body.
Back pain sufferer’s should consider the following
Choose a car, with an adjustable lumbar support (and use it). Alternatively, keep a small cushion in the car to support your lower back.
Choose a car with a higher kerb height to make getting in and out less stressful on the spine.
Depressing the clutch increases the pressure on your back so choose an automatic to avoid this.
Power steering also significantly reduces the load on the spine.
Driving can give you…
Foot and Ankle Pain
Is the car the right fit for you?
Sometimes, the design of the car itself can lead to back problems. If you have to drive particularly long distances, check out the cabin and layout of the controls with the tests set out below, and a comfortable motorway cruiser is gentler on your back
If the car can pass these four simple tests then there is a good chance that it is suitable for the particular driver. By using these tests a prospective buyer can make an informed choice of car and hopefully avoid ‘driver’s back pain’.
Try the following tests that our Manchester Osteopaths often mention
1. The Praying Test – The driver places both hands together, pointing forwards. If the steering wheel is not offset then the driver should be pointing straight at the centre of the wheel. The danger of having an offset wheel is that most drivers tend to rotate the middle of the spine to compensate for its position, producing long term back strain.
2. The Fist Test – With the seat in the normal driving position make a fist with the left hand keeping the thumb to the side of the index finger. It should be possible to insert the fist on the crown of the head. If it is only just possible to insert the flat of the hand between the roof and the head then there is insufficient headroom. The danger of having too little headroom is that the driver may compensate for the lack of height by slouching in the seat which puts a strain on the spine and thighs.
3. The Look Down Test – With both hands placed evenly on the steering wheel look down at the legs. It should be possible to see equal amounts of both legs between the arms. Frequently the left leg will be visible but the right leg will be obscured by the right arm which may indicate that the shoulder girdle is rotated to the left in relation to the pelvis.
4. The Right Leg Test – This test should be performed after you have stopped having driven the car for a short while.
Once again, look down and examine the position of the right leg. Is it elevated above the level of the left or has it fallen out towards the edge of the seat? Is the right foot roughly in line with the thigh as it should be, or has it had to come across towards the centre of the car?
5. The Kerb Height Test – Swing the right leg out of the car as though getting out, and place the right foot on the ground. Try and ensure the lower leg (shin and calf) is in a vertical position.
Now look at the surface of the right thigh. It should be sloping down towards the knee. If it is sloping upwards (i.e. if the knee is higher than the hip) you will have difficulty when exiting this vehicle.
If the car can pass these 5 simple tests there is a good chance that it is suitable for that
particular driver. By utilising the tests, a prospective purchaser should be able to produce a short list of suitable vehicles, from which they can then make a choice.
Car seats can be adjusted to suit your posture but make sure that you always:
1. Keep your seat reasonably upright, leaning backwards only at a slight angle.
2. Keep the headrest adjusted so that the centre of the headrest is level with your eyes. Don’t set the headrest too low as this can allow more serious injury in an accident.
3. When getting in, sit first then swing your legs into the car. When you get out, move the seat back before swinging your legs out.
4. Do you ‘ride the clutch’, resting your foot in the air? No wonder your ankles or calf muscles hurt.
5. To relax, raise your shoulders to your ears breathing in, and then lower them as you breathe out. You may want to do this at every red traffic light, or major junction.
6. Avoid reaching behind to get bags from the rear seat. Don’t be lazy. Get out and open the door.
7. Be careful when loading and unloading. Lift correctly.
8. Avoid lifting unnecessary weights. Get help to change a tyre.
9. Sit with arms gently bent at the elbow to the wheel and don’t lean forward out of the seat.
10. Wear a seat belt and make sure it is properly adjusted. Make sure children also have appropriate seat belts and cushions.
Prevention is better than cure.
Sit properly, drive relaxed.
Osteopaths can advise on posture.
Osteopaths treat neck and back pain – and a great many other things as well.
If you are unlucky enough to be involved in a road accident osteopathy can help relieve the pain of injury, especially whiplash-type injuries.
Osteopaths are often asked by solicitors to write medico-legal reports on accident victims, to help them claim compensation.
Sleeping on the right mattress- ask your osteopath
Is your bed helping, or is it part of your back problem? A very common question from patients receiving treatment at Manchester Osteopaths.
Top tips for back pain sufferers:
1. The majority of mattresses need to be turned regularly (between six weeks and three months). Do get someone to help you avoid the strain of turning your mattress. If you live on your own you may prefer one of the foam/latex mattresses that don’t need turning.
2. The mattress should be supportive enough to take the weight of the body without sagging. If you are used to a soft bed, don’t suddenly change to a very hard bed; the difference may prove difficult to adapt to. However, the mattress does need to be firm enough to allow for shifts of posture during the night. This is necessary to lessen fatigue and relieve the prolonged stress on soft tissues – it is not easy turning on a really ‘giving’ surface!
3. The mattress needs to be comfortable to lie on and soft enough, with sufficient ‘give’, to support and cushion the body’s bony curves (for example like that provided by a ‘pocket sprung’ mattress). Don’t be embarrassed to lie on the bed for twenty minutes or so in the shop – it’s not as long as you’ll spend on it each night!
4. In one GP study 85% of doctors believed that allergic disorders, such as asthma and eczema could be aggravated by sleeping on beds which harboured dust and mites. Hygiene and ventilation of the bed and covers are important; special protective covers may also help.
5. The mattress needs to allow for the easy evaporation of perspiration. The body loses between one and two pints of perspiration per night. The divan or slatted base allows for air circulation. If you are going to put a board under your mattress to improve support ensure it has holes for ventilation. The residue of perspiration will otherwise result in early rotting of the repeatedly ‘damp’ mattress fillings.
6. A good heavy mattress will need a strong base. It is best to buy the base and mattress together, but if you buy these items separately do seek advice from the sales representative that they would make a suitable combination and get this in writing as otherwise the guarantee on either the base or mattress may be invalidated by misuse.
Remember you won’t get an idea of how the bed will ultimately feel unless you are trying base and mattress together.
7. The bed itself should, of course, be soundly constructed and represent good value for money. Cost considerations are understandable but the lowest priced bed will not last as long.
8. The base may need to be dismantled if you are likely to move house often – some are much more easily dismantled than others.
9. A ‘standard double’ bed is 4 feet 6 inches wide but a ‘standard single’ bed is 3 feet! It is therefore evident that a large double makes more sense for two to sleep in – especially if one individual moves a lot in bed. A larger bed may also be longer too.
10. If you and your partner are of different weights consider a zip and link bed. Choose what’s right for you – if you are of average weight and need a supportive mattress but your partner is heavier and requires a firmer one, it might be better to choose a bed with separate mattress types on either side.
11. Another option is a water bed. These are very much a matter of taste. Manufacturers claim that they support the body without distorting the spine and will last for many years without sagging. These beds apparently have no pressure point areas (so they are comfortable), they generally have the facility for internal heating and there is less likelihood of mites and dust. However, as with many things, waterbeds are popular with some people, but others find them very difficult to relax in – try one before you pay in full.
Remember, there is no absolute best choice of bed. Be satisfied it is right for you before you buy because it may be difficult to change it afterwards for purely comfort reasons. Also remember that the word ‘orthopaedic’ is really meaningless, though it generally implies ‘firm’.
Deansgate Osteopathic Clinic
27 King Street