BACK AND NECK PAIN
Back pain is extremely widespread affecting about 80% of the population at some point in their lives. It is one of the most common reasons people consult osteopaths.
In most cases back pain is caused by a minor injury or a strain, rather than anything more serious, and can be referred to as ‘simple back pain’. The symptoms often occur suddenly and can be triggered by a particular movement, but the causes may have been building for some time.
Using manual techniques, osteopaths examine the whole body to identify sources of pain and restricted movement that may indicate injury or impaired function.
Osteopathy aims to relieve back pain by stretching the muscles and ligaments of the back, reducing muscle spasms and restoring improved mobility to the vertebrae, improving blood flow and lymphatic drainage, and promoting free movement of the entire musculo-skeletal system. An osteopath may also advise a patient on techniques for avoiding and relieving future episodes of back pain.
Neck pain is a common condition that can cause headaches, muscle spasms and pain in the shoulders or arms. Trapped nerves may cause pins and needles, pain or numbness in the hands.
Neck strain can be a result of poor posture, muscle strain, sports or work injury, and trauma such as whiplash. It can even be caused by an incorrect sleeping position.
Whiplash is caused by a sudden, vigorous movement of the head which damages the ligaments and tendons in the neck. This form of neck strain can often take a long time to heal, causing pain, stiffness and a temporary loss of movement in the neck.
The osteopath will help to improve joint function and mobility, reduce muscle spasm and improve overall postural alignment. Advice is often given about seated and work postures to help prevent reoccurrence.
Regardless of the sport or level you partake in, osteopathy can help assist with the prevention and management of many common injuries.
Osteopathy can help by improving joint mobility, reducing adhesions and soft-tissue restrictions, resulting in structural balance and restored movement leading to enhanced performance.
Osteopathy can also help with maintaining your optimal physical performance by keeping on top of those minor niggles that can occur during training and competition.
Osteopaths are able to order X-rays and Ultrasounds to get a definitive diagnosis of your injury and if required can refer you to specialists.
KATE MCILROY – WORLD CLASS
Wellington local Kate McIlroy is a professional athlete committed to the pursuit of excellence.
As an accomplished athlete who has experienced the highs and lows that go hand in hand with success Kate understands the importance of investing in a support network to maintain the rigours she throws at her biggest asset, her body.
One of the people Kate is privileged to be supported by is Vicky and the team at Focus Osteopathy. Kate places a high value on the holistic approach that Focus Osteopathy takes to keeping her body functioning at the limits she demands.
- becoming World Mountain Running Champion in her own back yard
- representing New Zealand at the Commonwealth Games in athletics (2006) and triathlon (2014)
- representing New Zealand at the 2012 Olympic Games
Keep up with Kate’s endeavours via katemcilroy.co.nz
OSTEOPATHY DURING PREGNANCY
The body goes through huge changes during this time. You need it to function at its optimum, so that you are comfortable, your baby is healthy and your delivery is as uncomplicated as possible. It is important that your body can accommodate the changes in posture that occur.
As your baby grows your pelvis and lower back tilt forward which can cause lower back pain. Your posture will change to compensate, which may lead to tightness and pain in the upper back, causing breathing difficulties.
As the months progress the spine is placed under extra pressure due to the increase in weight of the baby and the amniotic fluid. Pregnancy hormones also cause the ligaments of the spine and uterus to soften making them more susceptible to injury.
An osteopathic approach is to maintain your optimal posture through various treatments as well as exercises that you can do at home. By ensuring that the curvature of the spine is correct and that the muscles are strong and flexible, you can ensure that pain is minimal. Osteopathy can also assist with circulation and drainage during pregnancy, which can again ease a lot of discomfort.
Within cranial osteopathy, treatment was initially focused to the motion of the bones and membranes throughout the head and their influence on the nervous system and the fluid that bathes it.
The mobility of the bones within the head still remain significant when treating with cranial osteopathy particularly when addressing conditions such as headaches, migraines, dental and sinus problems, ear infections, nervous conditions and birth strains in babies.
OSTEOPATHY FOR BABIES AND CHILDREN
These stresses can result in the baby’s head being oddly shaped with moulding strains present. A baby can usually resolve these in the first few days through yawning, crying and suckling. However this un-moulding process is often incomplete, causing the baby to have to cope with these uncomfortable stresses within the head and body.
Gentle touch is used to assess the child for strains and unresolved moulding. Various subtle techniques are then used to release strains and guide the tissues toward improved motion.
Caesarean babies can also be affected by the birth process. They may have had an unusual lying position within the womb which caused a build-up of pressure through the head or pelvis, or a prolonged and difficult labour that ultimately ended in a Caesarean section. Even with planned sections the action of a very quick birth can lead to irritation of the nervous system.
Visceral osteopathy seeks to release tensions from the tissues of these organs to allow them to function more efficiently. When there is a build-up of tension in these tissues, this can affect how the musculo-skeletal system around them is able to work.
Strains in the connective tissue of the organs can result from illness, poor posture, injury, surgical scars and adhesions.
OSTEOPATHY AND THE ELDERLY
The effects of ageing on the body’s structure give rise to symptoms such as:
- early morning stiffness
- lower back pain and stiffness
- neck and arm pain
- hip pain
- arthritis and joint-swelling
Osteopathy can help with managing long term health conditions such as arthritis, respiratory conditions, lymphatic drainage and balance issues.
An interesting study of elderly who were hospitalised with pneumonia showed that those treated with osteopathy had a reduced hospital stay.