Back pain during Pregnancy
Eastbourne chiropractor Gemma Crouch shares how chiropractic care can help to relieve the pain and discomfort felt in the muscles and joints during pregnancy. Gemma has a special interest in chiropractic care for pregnant mums-to-be, babies and children of all ages. Since completing her masters’ degree in chiropractic, she has continued to study within this area. This blog has been written to share with you the benefits of chiropractic care in pregnancy.
I have written this blog with two real-life Eastbourne case studies who represent many women who come to see me in the chiropractic clinic with back pain during pregnancy. Chiropractic care is very safe and effective for all ages and stages of life.
At Lushington Chiropractic, I see a number of pregnant women suffering from back pain, tension and discomfort and understand how much it can affect different aspects of life. Up to 50% of women experience some form of neck pain, back pain, headaches, tension or general aches during pregnancy. For more information about back pain in pregnancy please follow the link here.
If you know anyone who would benefit from reading this blog or from having a chat with a chiropractor about pain and discomfort during pregnancy, please visit Lushington Chiropractic to find out more.
Mrs C came to see me in the clinic about her pain and discomfort during pregnancy. Specifically, she was experiencing pubic bone pain, neck pain and headaches. Mrs C related the onset of her discomfort to the stresses and physical demands of pregnancy and looking after her young child. She reported that her first pregnancy was “really easy and not painful at all” so was quite concerned about her pain.
Mrs C’s pain started gradually in the pelvis and had become so unbearable towards the third trimester that she was unable to sit or even sleep comfortably. The lack of comfort and sleep over time was causing her tension to become even worse.
Miss F also came into the clinic to see me about pain and discomfort during pregnancy. As a first-time mum, Miss F was concerned about the level of discomfort she was experiencing and didn’t feel she was given the support she needed.
Specifically, Miss F was experiencing low back pain, leg pain and pain around the rib cage. Miss F’s pain and discomfort started in the first trimester of pregnancy and was having a negative effect on her family life and her job.
Chiropractic Treatment during Pregnancy
These real-life cases represent common stories I hear in the chiropractic clinic for women who suffer from pain and discomfort during pregnancy. Although every person is different, there will be commonalities with each case.
The aim of chiropractic care is to relieve the tension and discomfort felt during pregnancy and to improve the function of the neuromusculoskeletal (nerves, muscles and joints) system. The treatment usually involves a few different techniques to target specific areas. These include chiropractic adjustments which are gentle and direct to help restore mobility into the joints, myofascial release which relieves tension in the surrounding soft tissues and functional rehabilitation which involves exercises to help you strengthen the area.
Chiropractic care for pregnancy women is very safe and effective and tailored to your specific needs. Prior to the commencement of treatment, a thorough consultation and physical examination is performed to focus on getting to the root cause of the problem.
Please feel free to ask any questions or to book a consultation with myself at the clinic in Eastbourne, call us on 01323 722499.
Yours in Health,
Gemma Crouch, your Eastbourne Chiropractor
Coping with low back and pelvic pain
One of the key parts of allowing your body to recover from low back and pelvic pain is not aggravating it and causing further damage. Here are a few things that you can do that help to prevent further damage.
Sitting tips to help low back and pelvic pain
Have your low back supported to ease the pressure on the muscles and allow for an ideal posture.
Don’t curl up on the sofa or cross your legs as this can put undue stress on the joints in the pelvis and low back as well as on the muscles.
Don’t bend at the back when getting up. We tend to put increased pressure on our spine by rounding our backs, so it is best to try and push your bottom out as this helps to maintain the curve in your spine. As you get up, lean forward with a straight back so that your weight goes on to your feet and then come up.
Keep your knees together getting out of the car. A good way to try to keep your legs together is to sit on a plastic bag as this provides an easier surface to swivel on to allow you to keep your knees together.
Don’t keep your wallet in your back pocket. This unbalances your pelvis and can also put pressure on the sciatic nerve as it passes through the buttock.
Sleeping and first thing in the morning tips to help low back and pelvic pain
It is best to sleep on your back as this puts the least pressure on your lower spinal discs, extra support can be provided by putting a pillow underneath the knees.
If you sleep on your side avoid twisting as this puts a torsion stress on the spine and can increase tension in the muscles. Use a pillow in-between your knees to prevent this twisting happening.
If you sleep face-down this puts extra pressure on your pelvis, your low back isn’t supported so well and you can strain your neck as you need to turn it so much. It is best to try and sleep on your back or on your side instead.
When getting out of bed try not to just sit straight up, it is best to roll on to your side, bend your knees up and lower them off the side whilst pushing yourself up with your hands. This puts the least pressure on your spine.
Ideally, we want to avoid rounding our backs too much when we are vulnerable. We need to be aware of this when brushing our teeth or washing our face first thing in the morning and at the end of the day.
Daily chores tips to help low back and pelvic pain
Avoid bending lifting and twisting at the same time. This is an incredibly common onset for injury. Moving furniture is an easy way to do this and is a key thing to avoid.
Avoid overreaching as this can put extra stress on the muscles and ligaments. This is especially key when lifting anything. Using a small step can really help to prevent you from overstretching.
Standing symmetrically with weight distributed evenly. Lots of us get into the habit of putting most of our weight on one leg and this distributes the weight unevenly through the body. It also causes tightness in certain muscles.
It is better to push than pull. Pushing allows you to keep your back straighter, pulling naturally lends itself to rounding your back which makes it more likely to cause low back injuries.
Take long strides rather than bending at the back. This applies especially to vacuuming and sweeping.
Exercise tips to help low back and pelvic pain
Seek advice from your chiropractor as to the best exercises for you. The chiropractors here at Lushington Chiropractic in Eastbourne often incorporate rehabilitation exercises and stretches so that you can start to take charge of your own health at home as well as under our care.
Be sensible but keep active, we want to stay gently mobile.
Swimming and walking are low impact exercises that get lots of the joints moving but breaststroke can put extra strain on the pelvic joints and extra strain on the neck.
General tips to help low back and pelvic pain
Using an Ice pack is really useful to help reduce inflammation. This helps to lower the pain level. You want to make sure that it is wrapped up first and that you don’t put it on for longer than 15 minutes. Generally, I recommend 10 minutes on, 20 minutes off, and then 10 minutes on again.
Coughing and sneezing is a very common onset of injury and this is due to the increased pressure in the body and our rounded back posture. It is best to sneeze or cough with your back arched upwards so that your spine is in extension and this can help to prevent injury and aggravation.
So, these are the key things that can help. I have found that these simple changes can make a massive difference and really help people to recover. These changes alongside chiropractic treatment help you to recover quicker. It is important to keep doing these once the pain has gone as the problem is still healing. These all help to prevent onset of issues at a later date also, so I try to do these at all times. They may feel unusual at first, but once you are used to these, they become the normal way that you do things.
Yours in health
The sciatic nerve: where it comes from and where it goes to.
The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body. It carries signals from the lower back to the leg and foot and then back up from the leg and foot to the low back. These signals are both sensory and motor, meaning that it supplies the skin and the muscles. Lots of people believe that the sciatic nerve supplies the whole leg but it only supplies part of the leg, as I will explain here. This will be a bit of an anatomy lesson but keep with me.
Where does the sciatic nerve come from?
The sciatic nerve originates in the lower back (lumbar spine) and is formed from the nerves coming out from the spinal cord at L4-S3. This means it is formed by five nerve roots coming together. It forms as it passes through the sciatic foramen in the pelvis.
Where does the sciatic nerve go?
The sciatic nerve then travels down the back of the thigh. Supplying the muscles in the hamstrings (back of the thigh) and one of the big adductor muscles (inside the thigh). It also supplies some of the skin in this area. Just before it gets to the back of the knee it then splits into two nerves, the tibial nerve and the fibular nerve. These go on to supply the whole of the lower leg and foot muscles and most of the skin.
The sciatic nerve and sciatica
Sciatica is irritation or compression of the sciatic nerve. True sciatica can only affect the areas that are supplied by the sciatic nerve, and will involve direct irritation or compression of it. True sciatica isn’t actually that common, and in my experience in practice, I haven’t seen too many of these. More commonly I see irritation as the nerves come out of the spine before they form the sciatic nerve. This can still effect the same distribution of the sciatic nerve, but sometimes also distribution outside of this. This is because these nerve roots also help to supply other areas.
It is always difficult to tell where a nerve irritation is occurring without a thorough history and examination. It is always a good idea to seek advice from a trained professional who can diagnose these sorts of issues, such as a chiropractor. They will be able to tell you what is going on, where it is coming from and the best course of action. Sometimes imaging, such as x-ray or MRI, can be useful in identifying exactly where the issue is and may be utilised if necessary.
Often leg pain is misdiagnosed as sciatica and this can sometimes lead to the wrong treatment and management.
If you have sciatica and want to get it assessed properly then feel free to give the clinic in Eastbourne a ring on 01323 722499 and we can schedule you an appointment for an assessment. We are conveniently located in in Lushington Road which is in Eastbourne Town Centre.
Yours in health,
Mykel Mason your Eastbourne chiropractor
Benefits of Turmeric
Benefits of Turmeric
At Lushington Chiropractic in Eastbourne, we help many of our guests with lots of different neuromusculoskeletal (nerves, muscles and joints) problems and often provide lifestyle and health advice too. You may have heard of Turmeric as a supplement or seen it on our product shelf, but what is Turmeric and what are the benefits of taking it?
To fully understand what the benefits of Turmeric are, we first need to talk about where the spice comes from and what is contained within the tablets in the supplement form.
What is Turmeric?
Turmeric is the spice that gives curries their strong yellow colour. It was first discovered thousands of years ago as having health benefits in India and was used as a herbal medicine. More recently, scientists have discovered its medicinal benefits and how important the spice can be for our health and wellbeing.
Turmeric is part of the ginger family and it is the root of the plant that is used to create the powder or supplement. Turmeric contains compounds called curcuminoids and it is the active ingredient of curcumin which provides Turmeric with it’s health benefits.
Curcumin is a strong antioxidant and contains powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric as a spice only contains around 3% curcumins which is why Turmeric supplements in the form of tablets with higher concentrations of curcumins can be found on the shelves of many health food shops.
In order to gain the biggest benefit from Turmeric supplements, we recommend Lamberts Turmeric tablets which contain up to 95% Curcumins.
What are the Health Benefits of Turmeric?
The anti-inflammatory effects of curcumins are probably the most well known and most potent health benefits from taking Turmeric tablets.
Inflammation is the body’s natural immune response which helps us to fight off nasty bacteria or viruses when we have an infection or when we have an injury. This type of immune response usually only lasts for a few days or weeks and is known as short-term inflammation. Short-term inflammation is beneficial to humans to help stop viruses and bacteria from taking over the body and to aid the healing process when we are injured.
Inflammation which lasts much longer than a few weeks (long-term inflammation) is the cause of many autoimmune illnesses and can be detrimental to our health in many ways. Conditions such as arthritis, heart disease and psoriasis involve long-term inflammation.
Research suggests that Turmeric as an anti-inflammatory supplement can help reduce these levels of long-term inflammation and can actually reduce the levels of pain felt with certain conditions involving inflammation.
Curcumins also have a powerful antioxidant component. Antioxidants are substances that prevent cell damage (oxidative stress) by free radicals, which are produced by the body under stress or inflammation (e.g. smoking, stress, excessive exercise, radiation, pollution, etc.).
Oxidative stress has been linked to heart disease, cancer, arthritis and many other conditions due to the negative effects it has on the cells in the body.
Antioxidant substances are said to neutralise or ‘bond’ with free radicals to limit their cell damage capabilities. There is some research which suggests a reduced risk of certain diseases with consumption of antioxidant substances.
It is always advised to read the full product label before taking any supplements.
Please feel free to ask any questions or to book a consultation with myself at the clinic in Eastbourne, call us on 01323 722499.
Yours in Health,
Aggarwal, B.B., Yuan, W., Li, S. and Gupta, S.C., 2013. Curcumin‐free turmeric exhibits anti‐inflammatory and anticancer activities: Identification of novel components of turmeric. Molecular nutrition & food research, 57(9), pp.1529-1542.
Maroon, J.C., Bost, J.W. and Maroon, A., 2010. Natural anti-inflammatory agents for pain relief. Surgical neurology international, 1.
Jayaprakasha, G.K., Rao, L.J. and Sakariah, K.K., 2006. Antioxidant activities of curcumin, demethoxycurcumin and bisdemethoxycurcumin. Food chemistry, 98(4), pp.720-724.
Anterior pelvic tilt and correction: Part two
Following on from my previous blog ‘Anterior pelvic tilt and correction: Part one’ I will now be discussing the common muscle weakness in this posture and the best exercises to correct it.
Muscle weakness in anterior pelvic tilt
The major muscle weakness that I find is the gluteus maximus muscles in the buttocks. These muscles are incredibly strong, or at least they should be. Often these muscles get weak and the hamstrings and the low back take over. This can lead to hamstring injuries and low back pain. I am going to go through a few simple exercises for the gluteus maximus that I recommend anyone with anterior pelvic tilt does.
The key thing with all of these exercises is that you have to consciously contract your buttock muscles.
Lying on your front on the bed with your pelvis on the edge. Make sure that you are tilting your pelvis backwards and then raise your leg straight up behind you. Make sure that you don’t twist at all keeping your pelvis straight. Make sure that you concentrate on contracting your gluteus maximus and ensure that your leg goes as high as you can get it without twisting or arching your back (see picture). Repeat twenty times each side.
Lie on your back with your knees bent up. Contract your buttocks and raise your pelvis up to the ceiling. Make sure that you raise your pelvis up to the point where you could draw a straight line between your chest and your knees. Repeat thirty times.
Posterior pelvic tilt
Consciously tilting your pelvis backwards as you walk. If you can actively tilt your pelvis backwards whilst walking this stops your low back from extending and using the muscles whilst walking so your glute muscles will do the job that they are supposed to do. It will feel strange at first but this is likely going to be closer to how you should be walking than you currently are. I find this an incredibly important exercise as it gets you used to using these muscles in day to day activities and takes no extra time to do.
If any of these exercises cause you pain then stop doing them and consult your chiropractor.
This is what I find most effective in an anterior pelvic tilt and I hope that you find it useful.
At Lushington Chiropractic in Eastbourne our chiropractors and massage therapists have a wealth of experience between them. We focus on getting to the root of your problem to help your body heal and repair. Your chiropractor or massage therapist will recommend the best type of treatment for you and your care plan will be individually tailored to suit you.
Yours in health
Mykel Mason your Eastbourne chiropractor
Anterior pelvic tilt and correction: Part one
More and more in practice at Lushington Chiropractic in Eastbourne I’m noticing people with an anterior pelvic tilt. I find the most common issue in these people is low back pain followed by hip pain. This is really really common and basically consists of weakness in certain muscles and tightness in others. I believe this probably comes on because of how we sit and how we stand for long periods of time. Here I’m going to describe how to tell if you have an anterior pelvic tilt and how to correct it.
Do I have an anterior pelvic tilt?
Anterior pelvic tilt is where when you look from the side your pelvis tilts forward providing a downwards slope in a forward direction. There is an easy way to tell if you have an anterior pelvic tilt. All you need to do is find the bony bit at the front of your hips and the bony dimple bit at the back and these should be in line. If you have an anterior pelvic tilt then what happens is the bony bit at the front will be below the bony bit at the back (see picture).
How can I correct my anterior pelvic tilt?
Being aware that you have an anterior pelvic tilt is the first thing. This means that you can make a conscious effort to alter this anterior pelvic tilt to help to correct it. The other thing you want to do is to identify if you have shortened muscles or weakened muscles and address these problems. This will mean doing stretching and strengthening exercises.
Muscle tightness in anterior pelvic tilt
The easiest way to see if you have shortening of the key muscles is to do a simple test. This is called the Thomas test. This test basically tells you if you have a shortness in the muscles at the front of the hips and allows you to then stretch the muscles that actually need stretching. The best place to do this test will be on the edge of the bed and it is often useful to have someone with you as they will be able to see better. Sit on the edge of the bed then lie on your back and bring your knees to your chest. Take hold of one knee and hold it closely, lower the other leg down and relax it. If the muscles are long enough then your thigh should make contact with the bed and your lower leg should be vertical with your foot pointing towards the floor. If you have a shortening of the muscles then one or both of these won’t happen (see picture). This then tells you that you need to stretch these muscles.
If the thigh does not touch the bed then the muscle you most likely need to stretch is the iliopsoas.
This is a hip flexor which means it helps to raise the knee up towards the chest. The most important thing about this stretch is that your knee is behind your hip (see picture). You also want to make sure that you push your hip forward and bend your body to the opposite side. Hold this for 30 seconds and repeat twice each side that was short. For the best results do this multiple times a day.
If your lower leg doesn’t end up vertical then it means that you have a short rectus femoris or quadriceps.
This muscle mainly straightens the knee but it also flexes the hip. The best way to stretch this is pulling your heel to your buttock but the key thing here is not to hyperextend the lower back. You want to keep the back flat and this will give you a better stretch (see picture). Again you want to hold this for 30 seconds and repeat twice on each side that was short. Again for best results do this multiple times a day.
These are the stretches I have found are the most effective in people with an anterior pelvic tilt. Mobilising the area is also a good idea and this is done by transitioning between an anterior pelvic tilt and a posterior pelvic tilt. I find a Swiss ball is very useful for this. You just rock backwards and forwards by tilting your pelvis, and not moving the rest of your body, twenty or so times to get the area moving and loosened off.
These stretches are a great place to start. To help to address the muscle weakness in anterior pelvic tilt then see my blog ‘anterior pelvic tilt and correction: part two’.
The Chiropractors here at Lushington Chiropractic in Eastbourne can offer plenty of tips and self-help advice on helping your body to function at its best. You can contact us on 01323 722499 to see if we can help you.
Yours in health,
Is It Safe to Click my Own Back or Neck?
Eastbourne Chiropractor Gemma Crouch often gets asked “is it safe to click my own back or neck?” Here she talks about why it is not safe to click your own back or neck and the consequences that result from frequent self-adjusting.
Imagine the following scenario…
After a couple of hours of working on the laptop, sitting in uncomfortable positions or driving for long distances, we can all feel a little stiff or achy. So, what do we do? We try to click our own back or neck for some instant relief and that satisfying popping sound!
At the chiropractic clinic in Eastbourne, I tend to advise against self-adjusting or clicking your own neck or back. People often ask me why, which is why I have decided to write this blog.
I will talk about what really happens when we click our own back and neck and why it is unsafe to do so.
What Happens When I Click my Own Back or Neck?
When we click our own spine, the joints that actually ‘click’ or release, are the ones above or below the restricted or stiff joint. By self-clicking or self-adjusting our own spines, we are not able to target the restricted or stiff joint but rather the ones which surround it.
The ‘popping’ sound that you hear with an adjustment, whether it is by a chiropractor or when you click your own back or neck, is actually the fluid being moved within the synovial joint from an area of high pressure to an area with a different level of pressure.
By releasing the pressure in the joints above and below the restricted one, there is some short-term temporary relief from discomfort. A couple of hours later, the tension will start to creep back in. It is at this point when we will attempt to release the same joints. Then we find we are clicking the same part of our spine again and again.
It is the repetitive self-adjusting or self-clicking of these spinal joints that lead to avoidable and undesirable consequences.
What are the Consequences of Clicking my own Back or Neck?
The spine is made up of 33 bones, 23 intervertebral disks, 31 nerves, 1 spinal cord, muscles and ligaments. We need to look after our spines and make sure that it is as strong as it can possibly be.
Repetitive self-adjusting of the joints above and below the restricted or stiff joint lead to damage to the muscles, tendons and ligaments of those joints causing them to become weaker.
Over time, the restricted joint will start to become stiffer and move less and the joints that are repetitively released will start to move more and become weaker in compensation. This means the ligaments will become stretched and the muscles will become tight which eventually leads to weakness, instability and further spinal problems.
What are the Benefits of having Chiropractic Adjustments?
The noise or ‘popping’ sound that you hear during a chiropractic adjustment is the same noise you hear if you were to click your own back or neck. However, the differences in what happens during a chiropractic adjustment makes it a lot safer than when you click your own neck or back.
At Lushington Chiropractic in Eastbourne, our chiropractors do a thorough examination to find out the root cause of a problem before creating a personalised treatment plan for you.
During a chiropractic adjustment, the focus is on a specific segment which isn’t working properly. The main aim of the adjustments is to ensure the optimum function of the entire neuromusculoskeletal (nerves, muscles and joints) system.
If you or someone you know clicks their own back or neck a lot, they may benefit from having a chiropractic consultation with us here at Lushington Chiropractic in Eastbourne.
Call us on 01323 722499 to find out more.
Gemma’s Top Three Tips for Dealing with Sciatica at Home
Top Tips for Sciatica
One of the most common questions I get asked at the chiropractic clinic in Eastbourne is: “What can I do at home to help my Sciatica?”
If you have suffered with sciatica in the past, you will know how painful and debilitating it is to everyday life. It is really important, and quite reassuring, that people who come in to see me with sciatica are willing to try and help themselves at home alongside their chiropractic treatment.
I have written this chiropractic blog to help answer some of the questions that people commonly ask me as well as trying to help anyone who is experiencing sciatica relieve some of their discomfort at home.
First of all, I will explain what sciatica is!
What is Sciatica?
Sciatica is the name given to any type of pain or symptom occurring along part of the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the human body and runs from the back, through the buttocks and down to the feet on both sides.
Irritation to the sciatic nerve is what causes sciatica and the symptoms associated with it. This is usually caused by a nerve compression somewhere along its path.
The symptoms caused by irritation to the sciatic nerve may include: pain, numbness, tingling or a loss of sensation in the legs or feet. You may feel one or more than one of these symptoms. It is always best to tell your chiropractor of any concerns you may have in order to get to the root of the problem.
For more information on sciatica and how chiropractic care can help, please follow the link here to my blog.
Number 1: ICE
You’ve probably heard at least one of us at the clinic say that ice is good for when you are in pain. Well that’s because it is true!
There are many reasons why ice is effective: it reduces inflammation, it helps numb the pain, it helps to regulate the healing process and it helps to reduce swelling.
You can purchase re-usable chiropractic cold packs that can mould well to the area you want to cover or simply use some ice from the freezer in a bag.
The rules for using your chiropractic cold pack or ice are: wrap it up to prevent ice burns, have it on the area for 10 MINUTES ON 20 MINUTES OFF (so 30-minute cycles).
Number 2: STRETCH
Stretches and exercises can be a really effective way to help improve mobility and to help reduce the level of pain you are experiencing.
The most common exercises we tend to give people for sciatica are what are known as the McKenzie exercises from The McKenzie Method of Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy. These are a series of stretching movements that are specifically designed to help people with their pain.
The specific exercise you need to do will be given to you by your chiropractor.
Number 3: POSTURE
Often with sciatica which originates from the spine, sitting is more painful that standing due to the pressure on the nerves. Finding a comfortable sitting posture can be hard, using a specific cushion can help.
The research suggests that the best sitting posture is where the spine’s natural curves are preserved with the least amount of discomfort/muscle activation.
We recommend trying out the McKenzie roll cushions. The roll should be placed around the small of you back, where the lumbar curve begins. This will ensure that you do not slouch when sitting and will maintain the curves of the spine, the trick to keeping a good posture.
We stock the McKenzie rolls at Lushington Chiropractic in Eastbourne and they are also available online where you can find more information here.
Search for ‘sciatica’ on our blog web site backblog for more information.
Lushington Chiropractic in Eastbourne is a well-known local clinic and most people who see us are recommended by someone else at the clinic.
If you would like to learn more about the clinic or about how chiropractic care could help you, please click here or call us at 01323 722499.
Yours in Health,
Can Chiropractic help my Sciatica? A Case Study
This blog tells Chris’ story, which started with him phoning the clinic to ask, “Can chiropractic help my sciatica?”. He like many others had been suffering from sciatica and wanted a hands-on practical solution.
Eastbourne Plasterer Chris’ Sciatica Misery
Chris is a local Eastbourne lad, he’s a self-employed plasterer, and just before Christmas he hurt his back after a fishing trip. He’d suffered with back pain in the past but it had normally cleared up after a few days or a week at most. It was Christmas so he’d had a few days off work, but rather than clearing up his back pain got worse and he started to suffer with sciatica in his left leg.
Chris called the clinic to ask if chiropractic could help with his sciatica because he needed to get back to work. He’d tried resting up over Christmas but needed to get back to work now.
Chris’ Consultation Uncovered More Than He Realised
His consultation took an hour. All chiropractors carry out this type of consultation, reviewing your health and medical history. I find it useful to see if there’s a pattern to the underlying injury or problem. At Lushington Chiropractic our focus is on getting to the root of the problem, helping the injury heal, repair and recover – not just feel better.
When Chris first came in he was in constant pain, up to 9/10 in severity and unlike his previous back pain it wasn’t getting better. Chris also explained that he’d been having pins and needles in his left ankle.
Don’t Miss these Warning Sciatica Signs
An important clinical sign we look for with sciatica is whether the symptoms go into one or both legs, and whether they go below the knee. My colleagues are writing some other blogs about “sciatica” so if you want to find out more then use our search box or comment below on this blog and we’ll answer your questions. Chris’ sciatica did go to his lower leg and the pins and needles further suggested an “irritated nerve” from his low back (lumbar spine).
Chris’ consultation also found that he was suffering with weekly headaches and neck stiffness. These are not uncommon in plasterers due to the repetitive nature of their work, especially if they’re doing ceilings!
After reviewing Chris’ history we moved on to an examination. Everyone’s examination is tailored to them and their personal case. Although there isn’t a specific sciatica examination, there are certain tests we do that are important to tell us exactly what type of sciatica it is, how bad it is and what type of treatment (chiropractic or otherwise) would be best to help.
In a few cases, we also take x-rays and we have our own digital x-ray facility at our Eastbourne clinic. Chris didn’t need x-rays.
Chris’ lumbar (low back) range of movement was severely reduced because of the pain he’s in, and he could only move 5o any direction. I used special orthopaedic tests to test his muscles, joints and nerves. I also checked how his sensory nerves were functioning and compared sensation in his legs. I prefer to compare vibrational touch and pin-prick sensation. These two types of sensation are transmitted via different types of nerves.
I also checked muscle (myotome) strength, which can be a sign of nerve damage. Although he hadn’t noticed before, when we tested Chris we found that his calf muscle was weak (Tibialis Anterior, which is next to the shin and helps pull your toes up as you walk).
A Diagnosis and Plan to Help
I explained what I’d found was the cause of Chris’ backache and sciatica, and what his chiropractic treatment would involve. As well as that, the consultation had also shown that his headaches were coming from his neck, which is something we can help with as well.
Chris was pleased “that something could be done, rather than just resting”.
Chiropractic Treatment of Sciatica
A lot of people like Chris see chiropractors. Here in Eastbourne we help people of all ages and lifestyles who are suffering with sciatica.
Chiropractors often use a combination of manual therapy like manipulation and massage treatment as well as stretches and rehabilitation exercises. Everyone’s treatment differs. For example, in Chris’ case we were also taking care of his neck problem and associated headaches.
Given the severity of Chris’s backache and sciatica his chiropractic treatment was intense and for the first few weeks we saw him twice a week.
Getting to the Root of the Problem
Chris’ chiropractic treatment focused on the root of his sciatica, back and neck aches. There are some techniques I often use when treating sciatica like McKenzie extension exercises, muscular release and certain types of manipulation. However, everyone’s chiropractic treatment is always personalised to them.
Chris was keen to help himself. He needed to get back to work! I gave him lots of self-help back care tips to look after himself. He also came to one of the back-care classes we were running at the time (if you’re interested then call the clinic on 01323 722499, when we run these classes they’re free to attend but we do need to know numbers).
Chris’ back pain and sciatica started to improve after the first couple of chiropractic treatments. His headaches quickly resolved and his neck began to feel much looser after the first treatment.
Back to Work
After a couple of weeks Chris’ 9/10 pain was easier and he was back to work. We continued to see him after that as his muscles and joints continued to heal. I’m pleased that Chris stuck to his exercises and the self-help tips and is doing great.
Chris has helped me to write this blog and wanted to share his testimonial.
‘After suffering from sciatica sporadically over 40 years I thought it was time to try a different solution. What a difference this has made to my life. The staff are friendly and very professional. If like me you suffer from back pain I cannot recommend Lushington Chiropractic highly enough’.
What to do if You Need a Chiropractor for your Sciatica
Lushington Chiropractic Clinic is well known in Eastbourne. Like Chris most people who see us are recommended by word-of-mouth. However, if you’re not local to Eastbourne and need a chiropractor near you then ask your friends and family who they’d recommend.
Lushington Chiropractic, Eastbourne town centre, BN21 4LL www.LushingtonChiropractic.com for more info about the clinic.
If you have any questions or to book, you can contact me at the clinic: 01323 722499
James Revell DC,LRCC,MSc(Chiro),BSc(Chiro),BSc(Biol)
Doctor of Chiropractic & Clinic Director
Sciatica: a case study
Lots of people don’t know who to see for sciatica.
Most people don’t have a true understanding of what sciatica is so to give you a bit more understanding I am going to talk to you about Brian.
Brian is a 60 year old male who over the past 25 years has had episodes of low back pain with occasional episodes of leg pain in the right upper thigh going into his posterior leg. This all began after lifting a heavy box of China at work where he felt a pain in his lower back. These episodes vary as to how bad they are and there has been times when he has struggled to walk because of the pain in his leg.
This episode began roughly four weeks prior to him presenting to the clinic and there is nothing apparent that he had done that had brought the pain on. This was initially just in the lower back but then progressed into the right posterior thigh down to the ankle with numbness. This was aggravated by sitting for longer than 15 minutes and by doing things like putting his socks on and eased by walking. This leg pain tended to come and go and was worse in the morning after five minutes of standing.
Brian had no idea where to go and he actually decided to come and see us only because he saw Lushington Chiropractic with a stand in the Eastbourne town centre and saw on our list of presenting conditions sciatica. Prior to this he had never seen anyone for his sciatica, he had just put up with these episodes. Brian also came along to one of our open days at our clinic in Eastbourne where he had a chat with one of our chiropractors and from that booked a consultation.
The Initial Consultation & Examination.
This consultation was one hour long and consisted of a thorough history and examination of his muscles, joints and nerves to understand exactly what was involved and therefore what the best treatment type for him would be. The purpose is always to understand what the route problem is and whether we can help.
On his examination we could see that there was nerve involvement as he had weakness within the right leg compared to the left and a reduction in vibration sensation. Nerve tension tests were also positive with him meaning that there was irritation of the nerve in the lower back.
In Brian’s case it was decided that treatment with sacro-occipital technique would be the most effective. This involves using triangular wedges placed in a specific position to ease irritation on the nerve/nerves. This is a very gentle technique and very effective in sciatica cases. I have been using this technique for around three years now and have found in very effective in multiple sciatica cases.
Brian started improving after his first session with us and reported an 85% improvement following ten treatment visits over a five-week period. As we have progressed with treatment with have done regular progress examinations to assess progress and any potential issues. Brian is now back to where he should be, without any sciatica, and gets no episodes of this pain. He now comes in for monthly check-ups to ensure everything is working well and is very happy with the improvement he has had. He also gets regular massage to keep all his muscles working well.
If you have a case like Brian’s and don’t know who to see, then give us a ring at Lushington Chiropractic in Eastbourne on 01323 722499 and hopefully we can help you just like we helped Brian.
Yours in health,