Case Histories 1
… is 70 years old and is keen on bowls, which he had played all his life until he developed pain in his low back and buttock last year. It was clear from examining him that he had considerable osteoarthritis (the “wear and tear” type of arthritis) in his low back, making him very stiff. He thought this was something he would just have to live with and meant the end of his bowling career. In fact, after 2 treatment sessions, he felt better than he had done for years and he has resumed bowls. He needs treatment to keep him “loosened up” from time to time.
… is a 58 year old hairdresser, who developed upper back and right shoulder pain so severe that she could not do her job. Examination demonstrated that she had become very round-shouldered over the years, so that her shoulder joints could no longer function in their proper alignment, making tasks like blow-drying very difficult. Her attempts to continue with her job despite the pain – most hairdressers are self-employed and cannot afford time off – led to further strains through her neck and at the joints where her ribs meet her breast bone.
When treatment began her body felt very brittle, as if it would snap if too much pressure were applied. Treatment could only, therefore, proceed gently and slowly. Gradually the pain began to recede and she became better able to do her job. After a while her body felt much more flexible, and Barbara needed only top-up treatment sessions every few months. After about a year, she became independent of treatment and keeps herself flexible and less round-shouldered with exercises prescribed by her Osteopath.
… is the mother of 2 little girls and works in an office part-time. 2 years ago she suffered a “whiplash” injury in a road traffic accident, which led to strains through her neck and upper back. She also developed severe headaches.
Although Sarah-Jane underwent a course of Physiotherapy, her pain did not fully resolve and her headaches became more frequent. Examination showed that she still had a locked joint in her neck. Manipulation of this joint quickly improved its movement and her symptoms resolved very quickly. She has not had any headaches since treatment.
… began to develop pain to the left of her mid-back, which became so bad that it made her vomit. Examination showed that she had a marked curvature of her spine (“scoliosis”) causing muscle imbalance which tightened up even more when she came under a lot stress at work. The nerves which come from the spine at the back of the chest control sub-conscious functions and, when they are irritated by inflammation at the joints nearby, symptoms such as sickness can occur.
Although treatment cannot get rid of a congenital anomaly like scoliosis, it can make the affected joints move much more easily and relieve the inflammation putting pressure on the nerves. Treatment rapidly eased Tina’s pain and she stopped being sick. She also sought to change her own life by finding a new job which she now thoroughly enjoys.
… has a very deeply arched lumbar spine. Most of the time the spine has enough adjustability in it that this kind of anomaly causes no problems, but if some mild strain, for example, occurs, the muscles will tighten and exaggerate the arch which already exists. This puts considerable pressure on the lowest joints of the back which, in Frances’ case, became inflamed and painful.
Osteopathic treatment to stretch out these joints and advice to encourage Frances to stand with better tension through her abdominal muscles, rapidly relieved her symptoms.
… came to the practice having suffered 6 months of severe back pain, radiating into her abdomen. She had had scans of her abdomen through her GP, which showed a cyst on one ovary. This was thought to be the cause of the pain and was removed by surgery, but the pain was unchanged.
When she came to the Fishponds Practice she could not straighten up and could not bear her own weight (though she was of slight build). She was referred privately for X ray of her spine which showed that one vertebra had collapsed and suggested a much more serious problem. In this case osteopathic treatment would not be useful and Maggie was referred back to her GP, with full information about the spinal fracture, for further investigations and appropriate treatment
Case Histories 2
… is a 32 year old teacher with a long history of back pain originating from a car accident twenty years earlier. When I first saw her she was ten weeks pregnant and experiencing such bad mid and low back pain that sleep was becoming difficult.
Treatment began using gentle cranial techniques to release the pelvic area and a combination of mobilisation and manipulation to restore movement to the mid back. These areas improved rapidly, but her neck became stiff, as her posture began to adapt to the growing size of the baby. This area also responded rapidly to treatment. Further maintenance treatment to keep her spine mobile may be advised as the pregnancy progresses. A lot can be done to ease back and neck pain in pregnant women.
… is a sporty 10 year old boy who has suffered from chronic asthma from the age of one year. In his early years he had a couple of very severe attacks. Also as a younger child he suffered from chronic ear infections.
Having had a moderate attack just a few months ago, David was very afraid of having a recurrence. Clearly osteopathy cannot cure asthma, but I believe it can help, often quite a lot. David had quite severe cranial tightness, and some tightness in his upper back and ribs. Treatment began by releasing the spine and ribs to improve the mechanics of breathing. Then over several treatments the cranial tightness was reversed. It certainly seemed to help and David gradually became less apprehensive about his asthma
… is a 45 year old accountant who was experiencing intermittent headaches which were becoming more frequent. His headaches had been worse since he fell onto his back and head five years previously. When experiencing a headache the pain was mainly located on the right at the back and side of his head. He had some difficulty in turning his neck to the right. A one-sided restriction in neck rotation is often a useful clue that the upper part of the neck is not working properly. Problems in this area can frequently cause headaches.
Tests confirmed that the movement of the upper part of the neck was abnormally reduced and manipulative treatment rapidly restored it to 90% of normal. His headaches improved, being less frequent and less severe. Further treatment to release the cranial movement at the back of his head helped to improve the headaches even more. Not surprisingly given his work, Patrick needs to return for follow up treatment about twice a year.
… is a 52 year old businessman and keen golfer. In recent weeks the nagging pain which he “just put up with” in his lower back had become worse and he had stopped playing golf.
Despite a history of arthritis in his left knee and mild psoriasis, his pain did not seem to be arthritic in origin. His back had become very tight and this was worse in the low back on the left. Mobilisation and manipulation of his mid and low back soon began to restore some of the lost motion (so essential for golf). Soon he was able to play nine holes, then a full eighteen. Then he relapsed and in addition to further treatment I advised some stretches to do at home and some postural advice about home and car. This seemed to help and though Steve may have to accept that he is not 30, he is playing a full round again.
… was a 25 year old mum who has suffered from persistent pain since a very serious car accident the previous year. Her neck and upper back were constantly stiff and painful. She experienced frequent generalised headaches, poor memory, poor concentration, lack of focus and tiredness. The cranial movement was very disrupted and it felt as though her body was fighting itself, pulling in different directions, possibly from the magnitude of the forces which acted on her body in the accident.
Treatment began with the release of this deep physical conflict. Initially after this session Carmen became very emotional and her low back felt very sore. Then after a few days she felt more relaxed. Further treatment began to release the tightening of her back and neck – each stage produced a strong emotional reaction and frequent tears as the physical effects of the accident held in her body began to release. After several weeks her back and neck were improved though still occasionally stiff. Her concentration and energy levels were improving and she clearly felt more able to engage with the world again.
… came to the practice complaining of pain in his low back and through the front of his right thigh. It was very clear from examination that his hip joint was badly affected by osteoarthritis and so he was advised to return to his GP to seek referral to an Orthopaedic Surgeon for hip replacement.
Waiting lists for this operation on the NHS are very long and so, a year later, John is still coming to the practice on a regular basis. Osteopathy helps to keep his hip joint as mobile as possible and, in so doing, relieves his pain and keeps him going.