Common Conditions that Osteopaths treat
One of the most common reasons people may consult an osteopath is back pain. This condition affects over 80% of the population at some stage of their lives and is one of the leading causes of absence from work. The pain may vary from a niggling ache to sharp, debilitating pain that can affect the whole spine, and sometimes radiates to other areas of the body such as the buttocks or limbs. It is critical that your osteopath diagnoses the source of your discomfort before any treatment is carried out.
Common mechanical causes of back pain make up the vast proportion of the cases that Osteopaths see and these include bad posture, poor seating or ergonomics, unsupportive beds and pillows, stress (both physical and mental), sedentary lifestyles, incorrect lifting, trauma, sports injuries, pregnancy and wear and tear. So what can be done? At Malmesbury Osteopathy the aim is to provide a safe and effective treatment for your back pain using evidence-based methods of relieving pain and rehabilitating the spine. A treatment plan will be carefully constructed to give long-term solutions and remove any barriers to recovery so that your body can heal itself.
Specific techniques, exercises and advice are tailored to each individual. The treatment plan will depend on the nature of your pain, the cause of the symptoms and your general lifestyle to restore functional movement and posture and allow your body to heal itself more effectively. You should not have to put up with long-term back ache; there is often a relatively simple underlying cause that may be maintaining it.
‘Sciatica’ is a set of symptoms rather than a diagnosis as such. It typically refers to pain caused by irritation of nerve roots that exit the lower lumbar spine and sacrum, that form the large sciatic nerve that supplies and runs down the back of your leg. Those who suffer with sciatica will sometimes say that the pain came on suddenly, “like a bolt of lightning down the back of the leg”. Others describe it as an excruciating “toothache” in their legs. Either way, sciatica can be a very painful experience and Osteopaths are able to help in most cases.
Early sciatic pain can sometimes be so mild it can be ignored but this is the stage when it may be helpful to see your Osteopath, as the earlier it is diagnosed and treated the better the outcome. Symptoms may vary in severity, but generally people will describe pain down the back of the legs which can occasionally be felt in the ankles, feet and toes. Although the cause of the symptoms may originate from the lumbar spine or sacrum, in some cases low back pain is not present, or the leg pain is worse than the back pain. A prolapsed disc (‘slipped disc’) may cause sciatica but there are other conditions, such as the spinal wear and tear or osteo-arthritis for example that can cause irritation of the sciatic nerve roots. Sciatic symptoms may include numbness or tingling in one or both legs, occasional shooting pains, and tenderness or tightness in surrounding muscles.