Back pain is a common condition, affecting a third of the adult population each year. Most episodes of back pain will resolve within a few days, but sometimes the pain will persist and it is in these situations manual therapy is uniquely placed to help. Osteopathic treatment has been shown to be effective for the treatment of low back pain and many people prefer to use our therapists because treatment does not require the use of medications and it is considered a more natural approach than conventional medicine.
An injury to your back will often refer pain to more remote areas such as the buttocks, groin, hips, legs and arms, the skilful therapist trained in clinical diagnosis will be able to distinguish when treatment is appropriate or when the patient will need referral to their Doctor.
All of our osteopaths are trained to diagnose the specific tissue which is causing your symptoms. However, at the ROC we will also analyse why that specific area has become injured and treat the causes, not just the symptoms.
Osteopathic treatment has been shown to be effective for the treatment of chronic neck pain, and many people prefer to use our therapists, because treatment does not require medication and is considered a more natural approach than conventional medicine. Types of neck pain include:
- Non-Specific Neck Pain
Many people develop a stiff or painful neck for no obvious reason. It may happen after sleeping awkwardly or an unusual activity like decorating or perhaps after a minor twisting injury, for example while cleaning or gardening. The underlying cause for this type of neck pain is not fully understood, so it is called ‘non-specific neck pain’.
- Cervical Spondylosis
Cervical Spondylosis is the normal aging process of the spine. There are discs between the vertebra of the spine and as we get older the disks become thinner and the vertebrae move closer together. This will increase the chances of joint damage occurring as the adjacent bones impinge on one another. Also, ‘spurs’ of bone, known as osteophytes can form at the edges of the vertebrae and the facet joints. So, for anyone who has had x-rays of their necks and been told it is normal aging or wear and tear, and there is nothing that can be done, do not despair. Contact us for help.
This type of injury often follows a rear-end collision in a car. In this type of collision, first the body is carried forward and the head flips backwards. Then, as the body stops, the head is thrown forwards Although whiplash can badly damage your neck, the majority of people who suffer these shunt accidents do not have major damage.
The body is usually very efficient at maintaining posture using the minimum of muscle effort. When these muscles are overworked, such as in poor sitting posture or when someone is worried or under stress, they often sub-consciously tighten their muscles more than is necessary to hold their head upright. The muscles become chronically tight, inefficient and shorten, and this can lead to headaches.
Intervertebral discs are soft issue pads that sit between each pair of bony vertebrae of the spine. They consist of an outer ring called the annulus fibrosus, which surrounds the inner jelly like centre known as the nucleus pulposus. Damage to the disc can result in the jelly nucleus herniating or prolapsing through the annular fibrosus, and this can be colloquially referred to as a slipped disc.
When this occurs, the nucleus can protrude and touch one of the nerves exiting your spine (nerve root) or in a very small number of cases the nerves in your spinal canal. The nerve can then become damaged which can result in additional sensations from pain, aching, burning, pins and needles, tingling, numbness, weakness of your arm or leg to problems controlling your bowel or bladder. The level at which the damage occurs will dictate where you experience these sensations. A low back disc prolapse can result in sciatica or femoral nerve pain, which are the two main nerves which supply the legs. A neck disc injury can result in pins and needles or numbness in your arms or fingers.
At the Rugby Osteopathic Centre we are trained to differentially diagnose the cause of your symptoms. By assessing the nerve pathways, we can determine where in the spine the damage has occurred. If you are getting any nerve pains, pins and needles, numbness or weakness, it is important that you are thoroughly examined and monitored to make sure that you get the best care possible. This may be an osteopathic treatment or a referral back to the GP for further tests. We always explain to you what our diagnosis is and give you advice as to how you can speed up your recovery.
After a full assessment we talk you through our findings and agree a treatment approach. The treatment will include soft tissue massage to relax the muscle tension. We may follow this up with articulation and manipulation to release joints. Recommended exercises for gentle release of irritated muscles, encouraging mobility and strengthening the core are also part of treatment and consultation.
Shoulder pain can result from either a local injury to the shoulder complex or can be referred to the shoulder from a distant tissue injury. An accurate diagnosis is essential to getting the right treatment. The anatomy of your shoulder makes this joint uniquely vulnerable to injury. The shoulder does not need the stability of the hip because it is not weight bearing. By compromising on stability it can gain flexibility, but this large range of movement with reduced stability makes it prone to injury. Our team of Osteopaths and Sports Therapists have been trained to accurately diagnose the origin of your shoulder pain, to decide if further investigations are necessary, and to implement a treatment programme to give you the best possible chance of a full recovery. The most common shoulder problems seen in the clinic are rotator cuff damage, impingement syndrome and frozen shoulder.
Upper limb pain is a very common presentation at our clinic in Rugby. Commonly it will be associated with neck and shoulder pain but sometimes elbow pain is the only symptom. Patients will often not have been to see their doctor so an accurate diagnosis is essential and requires detailed knowledge of elbow anatomy. As in all cases a careful case history and clinical diagnosis will ensure time is not wasted.
The most commonly seen conditions are:
- Tennis elbow
- Golfer’s elbow
- Forearm compartment syndrome
- Ulnar collateral ligament sprain
Pain from the hip joint will often refer pain into the groin, thigh or knee and in fact will rarely cause pain in the upper, outside thigh as we traditionally think our hip to be (pain in this area is often referred from the back or sacroiliac joint)
The differential diagnosis is again critical to the successful treatment of hip pain. Osteoarthritis is successfully managed by our osteopaths up to the point when the joint will need replacing, to prevent overloading the knee or low back. Bursitis, groin strains, tendinopathy and labral tears are often seen in clinic and appropriate treatment or referral to specialists will ensure you get to the treatment that suits your condition.
Treatment is aimed at helping your body accommodate for the osteoarthritis (wear and tear) in the joint. Most of the pain is due to the muscles having to work hard around a stiff joint. Our treatment will reduce this muscle tone and gently improves the function/movement of not only the arthritic joint but the surrounding joints as well. The aim of this is to reduce the load placed on the arthritic joint and subsequently reducing the pain that you are experiencing.
We often encounter patients with knee pain in our clinic. Commonly it will be their primary complaint and they have not been to see any other practitioner so accurate diagnosis is essential. Along with examination of your knees we will examine your hip, low back and foot mechanics to determine referred pain patterns and contributory and maintaining factors. Most importantly, having the knowledge when further tests such as x-rays, scans and referral to a consultant are required.
Knee problems are a common sports injury. Our therapists commonly encounter runners, weightlifters, tennis players and golfers with knee injuries. Our sports therapists can provide ultrasound/electrotherapy, manual therapy techniques and rehabilitative exercises.
Knee pain can be a source of significant disability, restricting the ability to work, exercise or perform activities of daily living. At the Rugby Osteopathic Centre we feel that getting an accurate diagnosis and a carefully constructed treatment and rehabilitation plan is vital.
Treatment will depend on the specific diagnosis and will include:
- Treatment to improve biomechanics
- Rehabilitation exercise programme
The vast majority of ankle injuries we see in clinic are non-resolving lateral ankle sprains or inversion injury. This occurs when a lateral force to the ankle tears or ruptures the anterior talofibular ligament (ATFL) and in severe injuries will damage the calcaneofibular ligament (CFL) as well. The first aid response to this injury is well documented but is difficult to follow, often resulting in an unresolving problem. As with other chronic injuries it is vital to get the diagnosis right.
Initially we assess the extent of the ligament damage, what stage of healing has occurred and start the rehabilitation from the appropriate point. We will then assess the peripheral damage to associated ligaments, muscles and tendons as well as joint function in the foot, ankle, knee and hip. Tendinopathy is a common secondary manifestation of an inversion injury, as the altered gait increases load on tendons especially the Tibialis Posterior tendon. But functional assessment of the plantar facia, the Achilles tendon and the small bones of the foot itself are all vital to improving outcomes of all ankle injuries.
- Anti-inflammatory protocols, ice and NSAI drugs
- Deep friction massage
- Treatment to improve biomechanics
- Rehabilitation Program
Pain is a warning sign that should not be ignored. Failing to receive the appropriate treatment quickly may lead to prolonged healing times and increased risks of reoccurrences. Sports injuries have many causes, from poor warm ups to faulty biomechanics. Sports Therapists and Osteopaths understand the importance of identifying the cause of your injury and what is holding you back from reaching your full potential.
Injuries we regularly treat include:
- Lower back pain
- Hamstring & Calf strains
- Groin Strains
- Rotator Cuff injuries
- Achilles Tendon Injuries
- Tennis and golfer elbow
- Shin Splints
- Knee & ankle pain
Degeneration is the normal ageing process of joints. This can be worse in different parts of the body depending on use and injuries. A lot of the pain associated with this process is from the surrounding muscles tightening up around an already stiff joint. Osteopathy can help relieve these symptoms with gentle massage, movement, stretch and exercise to the degenerative joint and the other joints and tissues around it.
How do I manage my condition?
- Reduce inflammation
When you start feeling pain in the joint it is very important to calm the joint down to minimise the swelling and damage. Ice the joint (most people will try heat which may increase the inflammation). If you can take them, NSAID’s like ibuprofen used for short periods can be very useful. Rest – stop the activity that is irritating the injury.
- Reduce stiffness
Gentle manual therapy has been shown to help, by restoring function to joints. We also provide mobility exercises.
- Strengthen with appropriate exercise
You can regain controlled movement, which can help to reduce pain and muscular irritation around the affected joint.
We are told that it is normal to expect joint pains during pregnancy. Our posture changes dramatically during pregnancy over a very short period of time due to the increased weight from the baby, placenta, heavier breasts and fat stores. Sometimes, there may be stages during the pregnancy that out bodies do not cope as well with and this change may result in general aches and pains. This can lead to symptoms ranging from:
- General muscular back pain which can be accompanied by Sciatic Pain
- Sacroiliac Joint pain
- Rib and mid back muscular pain
- Neck pain with or without headaches
Osteopathy may help relieve the stresses and strains on your body during pregnancy and after the birth with gentle treatment. The osteopath will also advise on relevant exercises and can also give general advice on how a new parent can look after their back whilst looking after a child. This advice can range from the type of baby equipment to buy, to ways in which one should lift and carry a child.
This advice and treatment will aim to not only help relieve the current symptoms but also to help with the active process of labour, prevent long term problems occurring and help the mother to recover physically more quickly from the pregnancy and birth.
Children can be treated with osteopathy at all ages from birth to becoming adults. Treatment techniques will be used that best benefit the child from cranial osteopathic techniques to soft tissue massage and specific articulations. Children present at The Rugby Osteopathic Centre for many different reasons from:
- Parents requesting cranial osteopathy
- Sports’ injuries
- Minor joint strains and sprains
- Aches and Pains
- Postural changes due to asthma and eczema
As osteopaths we will treat the specific problem area but also look at why that has occurred and treat any relevant underlying causes, we will also give advice and exercises, if relevant, to try to stop recurrences of the problem.
A large number of our patients are children and parents so we have tried to make the practice as child friendly as we can with toys, children’s magazines and baby changing facilities. We are used to working around children and what makes them most relaxed so please let us know if there are any specific requests and we will do our best to help make it a comfortable and relaxing experience for you and your child.
Due to legislation, children under the age of 16 will need to be with their mother or father and if not, we will need a written note from the parent agreeing to their guardian accompanying them during the treatment. We are happy to relay any findings, treatments over the phone to the parent afterwards if they are not able to come to the appointment.