I spend a lot of my time telling people that Osteopathy isn’t just a treatment for back pain. It treats many musculoskeletal conditions body-wide. Having said that, the focus of this month’s newsletter is back pain! I hope you find it interesting, and possibly useful.
MARCH FOCUS – BACK PAIN
When I refer to back pain, I mean pain originating from the spine. So it could be from the neck, upper back, lower back, or from the sacrum and coccyx at the base of the spine.
Pain can be felt locally at the spine, and may be experienced as central, both sides, or one side more than the other. Nerves are extensions of the spinal cord, which are encased/protected by the spine/vertebral column. The nerves exit the spine at each vertebral level, so they are sometimes susceptible to injury alongside back complaints. The nerve may be irritated or impinged by a back injury, and may cause pain in the area the nerve travels to. This very commonly happens down into an arm or leg. Alongside pain, common symptoms of nerve compression are pins and needles, tingling and numbness.
From a musculoskeletal perspective, there are several structures that may commonly create pain in the back. These are joints, discs, and the soft tissues – muscles, ligaments, tendons and fascia.
Problems can arise from a wide range of factors. Possibly wear and tear changes, road traffic accidents, sports injuries, overstrain from everyday activities; for example gardening. Postural strains and stresses may develop through occupation, hobbies or just bad habits.
Osteopaths are trained to assess posture and movement in order to diagnose the structures causing the pain. Sometimes additional orthopaedic and neurological tests are indicated too. Treatment works to restore function through a variety of soft tissue massage and articulation techniques. Very often additional exercises and advice is offered.
Gently allow the head and neck to drop forward. From this position, look to each shoulder and repeat 5 to 10 times.
Position yourself on all fours, hands under shoulders and knees under hips. To start try and have a straight spine. The movement starts from the pelvis, so tuck the pelvis under and then arch up through the spine. Working first the lower back, upper back and then neck. Return to normal, start with the pelvis, followed by the lower then upper back, then neck. Finish in alignment at the start position. Repeat 5 to 10 times.
UPPER BACK EXTENSION
Lay onto your back with your knees bent and a small pillow for neck support. Roll up a towel (like a big sausage!) and place this horizontally at shoulder blade level. The ideal placement of the towel would be at the part of the upper back that’s most rounded. Rest laying on the towel for two minutes, think about relaxed breaths fully utilising the diaphragm muscle.
THE BITS THAT CAUGHT MY EYE IN THE NEWS!
Babies are more than twice as likely to have colic if their mothers suffer from migraines. Daily Mail
This was very interesting to me, since I treat babies with colic fairly often using Cranial Osteopathy.
The research states that babies are 2.5 times more likely to have colic if their mothers suffer with migraines. It suggests that colic may be an early sign a child may be predisposed towards migraine in later life. As yet, there has been no link found between colic and excessive crying, with gastrointestinal problems. There is also no difference with regard to colic, between babies fed on breast or formula milk. More research is planned, following groups of babies over their childhood.
Losing weight is twice as hard as you may think…cutting down calories slows down your body’s metabolism. Fiona Macrae, Daily Mail
I think we’re all familiar with this, but interesting nonetheless. The article advises patience to dieters, and not to expect too much weight loss quickly. After factoring in the reduction in metabolism when dieting, US experts found expectations of weight loss were too high. It had previously been stated that a reduction in calories of 500 a day would result in a 1lb weight loss, a week. This is incorrect. An online calculator has been developed so we can better work out a more realistic weight loss plan – bwsimulator.niddk.nih.gov.
‘Chemist on a chip’ could be the end of jabs. Aiden Radnedge. Metro
Patients with chronic diseases may no longer have to give themselves daily injections thanks to a new microchips currently being developed. A wafer thin microchip could be implanted under the skin. So far they have proved a success in trials involving osteoporotic ladies. A computer wirelessly links to the chip ensuring that the drug is released at the correct time. It proved to be as effective as daily injections, and also improved bone formation and reduced the risk of fracture.