Seventy and Suffering with Sciatica
I recently saw this lovely lady from Eastbourne who’d been suffering with sciatica after a fall. I asked her if it would be ok to share her story as a Blog for Lushington Chiropractic. The reason I wanted to share her story was because I see so many older people at Lushington Chiropractic who’ve been suffering with sciatic issues and don’t realise that there are various treatment options available.
She has agreed to me sharing her story, though she does not wish to be named. For this blog, she will be named Susan.
As the title gives away, Susan is an Eastbourne local in her seventies. Susan came to me after a referral from her husband who had successful chiropractic sessions with us here at Lushington Chiropractic. She’s a fit, active lady who runs three times a week along our beautiful Eastbourne coastline. However, when Susan started to run, a pain had been shooting down her right leg. The pain generally got a bit better with rest. It got so bad she had stopped running, with a 10k run just weeks away, she had to do something. The Word Sciatica had been the most obvious answer to her after having a chat with friends and family, and even after visiting her local GP!
How could we help
After assessing Susan by using some special tests, using touch and testing some of the muscles around her hip, it became quite clear that what was more likely was muscular referral, rather than a nerve compression. What was also interesting, was that her right leg was as much as 2 centimetres longer than the left.
This is quite common in these cases where you want to avoid standing on the leg that gives you pain, so you compensate by over using the muscles on the left, which can raise the leg somewhat. Furthermore, compensating in this manner can increase your chances on developing muscular referral in the other leg. Referring to our mission here at Lushington Chiropractic, It is important for me to not only treat the problem, but the cause of the problem too.
What we did to help
I started treatment by using no-hands general massage through the thighs, hips and back. This allows me to glide deeper through the muscular structure, warming and stretching all the areas of tension. I then used a technique I regularly use, called the trigger point technique. This technique involves placing a certain amount of force (within our pain limit), on to a particularly tight area to manually relax taut bands of muscle which have stayed contracted over a certain period of time- these areas can create a referral, otherwise known as a trigger point. We got instant feedback from Susan. She had felt a ‘sciatic, shooting feeling’ that refers all the way down to the shin. Susan felt like I’d hit the spot with it as ‘that is exactly the sort of pain I am getting throughout the day’. The muscle I was holding was one of the gluteal muscles, specifically the Gluteus Medius. Trigger point therapy can involve pain but should NOT be extremely painful or torturous. For this reason, I use a pain scale of 0-10. The pain should not go above a 7. To finish the session, I worked on the leg length. For this I used a Pulse ball, which sends deep signals through tissue, creating a loosening effect. I applied this to the side of the left leg to warm and loosen the glove that surrounds the muscle called fascia. This, alongside the massage, helped to decrease the discrepancy to just below 1cm!
How did Susan feel?
Susan rose from the massage couch and felt like she had been immediately ‘cured’. I explained that one session a week for 5 weeks will be needed here at Lushington Chiropractic, to be pain free, and in a good shape to run her Eastbourne 10k. She was delighted to hear that I was confident of her recovery and that she could potentially run her 10k, given that she followed our advice and prescribed exercise plan.
A week later and sure enough, Susan came in to treatment with a similar pain and reported a couple of days relatively pain free following last week’s appointment. A similar treatment followed that day and four weeks on, Susan is seventy, completing her 10k run and NOT suffering with sciatica.
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
Are you suffering from Sciatica?
For my latest blog for Lushington Chiropractic I am going to talk about sciatica and my approach to both treating and rehabbing it from my experience as both a sports massage therapist and as a personal trainer.
Sciatica in it’s basic element is an entrapment or irritation of the sciatic nerve that leads to either, sharp pain, pins and needles, muscle spasms, burning sensations in the low back, glutes, hamstrings and calf muscles. This entrapment can be caused anywhere along the nerve which can make it difficult to pin point the root cause and get the correct treatment interventions in place.
The entrapment or irritation can be caused by a spinal issue such as a bulging disc or a muscular issue where muscles become tight. Imagine a hose pipe – if you unravel it so it’s nice and straight and turn the water on the water flows nicely out the other end but if you step on the hose the water slows or stops. The hose pipe is your nerve the water is the signals and your spine or the muscles the nerve runs through is your foot treading on the pipe, that pressure on the nerve is what generates the symptoms of sciatica.
Tightness in muscles tend to stem from either the muscles being in a stressed or stretched position for an extended period of time (poor posture or lack of movement) or tightness from an unstable joint – muscles tighten up to prevent poor movement to protect our joints. This is where massage therapy is important to release the tightness on the muscles and then rehab to strengthen and stabilise the joints to prevent any future spasming in the low back or glutes.
Are you moving enough?
I find that many sufferers of sciatica tend to have sedentary job roles where they’re seated for extended periods of time, if this is you I suggest moving as much as possible during your day and taking time to stretch your low back, abdominals, hip flexors, glutes and hamstrings too. These stretches will offset the tightness that will develop in your muscles from being seated all day. Being seated too long is no good for your core muscles! These muscles get weak then guess what muscles then take over to stabilise your low back? That’s right your lower back muscles which the sciatic nerve runs through, these go into spasm then hey presto sciatic symptoms will tend to follow. Strengthen your deep core muscles (not by doing sit ups or crunches) and then these muscles will be used to do their proper job in stabilising your lumbar spine.
Find out how we can help you.
I hope this has helped and get in touch or book an appointment to find out more about how to fix your sciatica. You can find out more about me and how I can help you by visiting our website www.lushingtonchiropractic.com Here you can also find details of all of the practitioners here at Lushington Chiropractic in Eastbourne. We see many cases of sciatica here at the clinic and some of my colleagues have written blogs on their experience in treating sciatica and how effective it has been. If you’d like to find out more visit our chiropractic blog site Backblog.
You don’t have to be a chiropractic patient to benefit from massage therapy, we treat a wide range of conditions not just sciatica. Pop into the clinic in Lushington Road in Eastbourne or give us a call on 01323 722499. We are conveniently based in Eastbourne Town Centre, close to the Railway Station and major bus routes.
It’s Sciatica – Or Is It?
As a massage therapist at Lushington Chiropractic in Eastbourne, I often have clients come to me reporting that they are suffering with sciatica. However a common occurrence is that after investigation we find that the client isn’t suffering with sciatica at all, but rather an injury that presents similar to the symptom of sciatica.
What is Sciatica?
We often find a common misconception is that people believe Sciatica is a condition. However Sciatica is a term used for the symptom of pain, pins and needles or tingling running down the leg originating from the lower back, travelling along the Sciatic Nerve. This can occur due to muscle or structural weakness that causes the Sciatic Nerve to be compressed.
All nerves originate from our spinal column (the central nervous system) that sends the information to our brain. The Sciatic Nerve originates from the lumbar and sacral vertebrae of the spine (lower back) and travels down through the pelvis and hip joint, all the way along the back of the leg to the foot. Any information received from this root is taken back to the spine and to the brain.
How do Nerves Work?
A handy way to think of how nerves work is to imagine a hosepipe – Strange I know.
You have turned the water on and it is flowing through the hose and out the end (this is a healthy nerve). Then if you put your foot on the pipe (compression) the water flowing out the end is constricted. This is what is happening to our nerves. The signal is no longer being efficiently sent to and from the end of the nerve root. So if the compression occurs at your knee the nerve root will stop there. This causes numbness or pins and needles to run down the rest of the leg.
What to Look For If Suspecting Sciatica:
The massage therapists at Lushington Chiropractic in Eastbourne suggest looking for signs such as numbness, pins and needles, tingling, hot and cold feelings, burning and sharp shooting pains.
The symptoms are directly linked to nerve conditions. If you are experiencing these symptoms down the back of your leg then that would be suggestion of a compression of the Sciatic Nerve.
Can Sports Massage Help Sciatica?
If you are suffering from sciatica sports massage can help. Depending on where the compression is occurring and the severity of pain, we can open up the area by loosening tight muscles and areas that are compressing the nerve.
What Else Could It Be?
I do often have clients come to me suspecting sciatica, but turning out to be something completely different, such as hamstring strain or tendinopathy for example. Both these injuries report pain down the back of the leg sometimes across the joints of the knee and hip. Therefore I believe that is helpful to know key differences and thus you can be more involved in the healing process.
The reason a hamstring strain can be misinterpreted as sciatica is that the injury causes pain to radiate down the muscles at the back of the leg above the knee.
The hamstrings are a group of three muscles located at the back of upper leg responsible for bending the knee and extending the hip.
Hamstring strain is the most common thigh muscle injury and is when the muscle fibres tear. It can occur suddenly from overstretching of the muscle if the muscle is not warmed up properly or it can occur over time due to tight muscles.
So it can occur from doing everyday movements such as walking upstairs, a large jump or even during a long walk along Eastbourne’s South Downs or even Eastbourne’s seafront.
Contributing factors to injury are lack of stretching, poor posture, muscle strength imbalances and the rare case of leg length variation.
The result is pain along the back of the leg, increasing when the knee is in an extended position and hip flexed (knee straight, sitting position). This is why it is commonly mistaken for sciatica.
The immediate thing to do is treat with RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation) you should do this for the first 3-5 days. Then with sports massage (provided at Lushington Chiropractic located here in Eastbourne’s town centre), we can help increase range of movement of the muscle and strengthening by aiding the tissue repair.
Tendinopathy is another injury mistaken for sciatica. The reason why this can easily get confused is that tendons often cross over a joint, like the knee and the hip, causing pain to be felt in those areas.
Tendinopathy can occur in any tendon and is an overuse injury, due to muscle imbalance and poor body mechanics of movement.
Symptoms are pain, swelling and an inability to continue activities such as running.
Initially RICE and avoidance of high- impact actives.
Sports massage can help by stretching the muscle, strengthening, and prescribing closed-chain exercises such as squats or leg press.
You don’t have to be a chiropractic patient in order to benefit from a massage. At Lushington Chiropractic in Eastbourne we do have 4 massage therapists (male and female), working throughout the week including evenings and Saturday mornings.
For more information about sciatica have a look at our other blogs on our chiropractic blog site backblog.
Piriformis syndrome (sciatica)
Kim Brown Sports Massage Therapist at Lushington Chiropractic Clinic Eastbourne, talks about Sciatica.
How common is Sciatic pain?
Almost every week I have guests come to have treatment with me at Lushington Chiropractic with, what they feel, is Sciatica. If they are having a feeling of restriction or pain in the hips or down the back of the thigh, knee or calf it is the first diagnosis that people come up with.
Here at Lushington Chiropractic Clinic in Eastbourne we see and treat many patients with Sciatic symptoms. You can find out more about Sciatica and other conditions by using the search box on our Chiropractic blog site backblog.
So what symptoms would I have if I have Piriformis Syndrome or Sciatica?
Conditions affecting the Sciatic nerve that refer pain down the posterior thigh are referred to by most non-medical professionals as Sciatica. This term is not specific, because it may refer to inflammation of the nerve or compression of the nerve in the Lumbar spine, in the Gluteals or at another point along the nerve pathway in the body. It may even refer to symptoms common to piriformis trigger points. The piriformis muscle itself can compress or squeeze the Sciatic nerve to cause ‘ piriformis syndrome’.
- Numbness in the posterior thigh, calf or sole of the foot.
- Can cause painful intercourse for women and impotence in men
- Buttock pain if the gluteal nerve is compressed
- Active trigger points in the piriformis result in pain in the low back, buttocks, hip and posterior thigh.
- Sitting for prolonged periods can increase pain.
- Excessive activity can aggravate the pain
- Weakness in performing abduction, flexion and internal rotation.
What is the Piriformis? Why is the sciatic nerve important?
The Piriformis is a hip rotator muscle which sits deep to the Gluteus Maximius. If it contracts and shortens it creates outward rotation of the hip. It rarely performs this action in normal everyday activities though as it’s main function is to control and prevent inward rotation, or the knee rolling inwards. Injury of the piriformis can occur during running or when there is excessive pronation (rolling in) of the foot and the muscle has to repeat its preventative task thousands of times.
The Sciatic nerve supplies sensory and motor function to the skin and muscles of the posterior thigh, most of the leg and the foot. In a small proportion of the population, the sciatic nerve passes through the belly of the piriformis muscle and can get caught up in a piriformis injury and create further symptoms and problems.
Sciatic nerve restriction can occur in those with Lumbar spine issues. But soft tissue tension compressing the vertebrae or fibrous adhesions that restrict the nerve as it passes through the soft tissues can also be the cause of pain. In this instance, your sports massage therapist is who you need to see to reduce the compression treating trigger points and a reduction in piriformis hypertonicity.
How did this happen to me?
Apart from the obvious overuse injuries which can occur during running Piriformis syndrome can begin at any time with normal everyday activities. If there are biomechanical issues like weakness on one side in the glutes and other muscles in the hips, a compensation pattern can start putting strain on the piriformis muscle. Regular exercise throughout your life can help you to avoid injuries. Too much time sitting or repetitive bending and lifting can also cause symptoms.
With Sciatic nerve restriction in the Lumbar spine may be the result of a fall or an accident during lifting a weight that is awkward or too heavy. This type of compression is more serious.
How can I help myself ?
Regular stretching and mobilisation using a resistance band can ease the compression. Strengthen weakened muscles. A tennis ball/spikey massage ball is used on the gluteal and piriformis trigger points.
If you would like to find out more about me and how I can help you then look at our ‘Meet the Team’ page on our website www.lushingtonchiropractic.com and look for Kim Brown
Lushington Chiropractic Clinic in Eastbourne is based in Eastbourne Town Centre, very close to the railway station and the bus stops. We are an award winning clinic providing care to over 8,000 local people.
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,
What is Sciatica and how can Chiropractic help?
What is Sciatica and how can chiropractic help? At the chiropractic clinic here in Eastbourne, we hear a lot of people talking about sciatica and asking if chiropractic can help them. Like many people with sciatica, it is often a confusing time when trying to find the right treatment that will work for you. You can sometimes feel ‘left in the dark’ without knowing what to do.
Eastbourne Chiropractor Dr Gemma Crouch has written this blog to help answer your questions about sciatica and explain the benefits of chiropractic treatment for sciatica.
What is Sciatica?
Sciatica is the name given to any type of pain or neurological symptom occurring along any 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 normally 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.
How do I know if it is Sciatica?
We understand that having sciatica and the intense pain it can cause is frustrating and sometimes quite scary. There are lots of different causes and types of sciatica, so it is important to know what may be causing your symptoms in order to receive the most beneficial treatment for you.
Chiropractor’s perform an initial consultation involving a thorough medical history and physical examination of the neuromusculoskeletal system (muscles, joints and nerves) to find out the root cause of a problem or problems. We especially check through the nerves to see if there may be an underlying problem as we can detect trapped nerve type problems early.
Following the initial consultation, your diagnosis and personalised treatment plan is discussed with you.
If you suspect you may have sciatica, it is always best to speak to your chiropractor about any questions or concerns you may have before the problem starts to get worse. As they say, the longer you leave a problem, the worse it gets.
How can Chiropractic help with Sciatica?
Chiropractors are specialists in the detection, diagnosis, correction and prevention of muscle, joint and trapped nerve type problems. Sciatica and the symptoms of sciatica are usually related to the muscles, joints and nerves in the body.
Chiropractic care is effective for treating sciatica and for the relief of the symptoms related to sciatica. The treatment involved for sciatica is a combination of manual therapy, manipulation, soft tissue massage work and function rehabilitation and exercises. We will always explain the treatment to you and will never do any treatment that you are uncomfortable with.
Here at the chiropractic clinic in Eastbourne, we see a lot of people who have a history of sciatica. Due to this, some of my colleagues have written other blogs on sciatica which explore different angles and even some real-life cases of people who have had success with chiropractic here in Eastbourne for their sciatica.
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.
Gemma Crouch DC, LRCC, MChiro, BSc(Hons)
Doctor of Chiropractic
New NICE guidelines recommend chiropractic techniques for the lower back pain and sciatica
Chiropractic for the treatment of lower of back pain and sciatica
The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) recently published new guidelines for the treatment of lower back pain and sciatica. NICE is an organisation that provides guidance and advice to improve health and social care on a national level. These are the guidelines used by the NHS and other healthcare professionals. This guideline for the treatment of low back pain and sciatica covers everything from public health advice to surgical interventions.
The guidelines recommend a number of interventions for low back pain, including spinal manipulation and soft tissue massage techniques. Exercise and psychological therapies are also recognised as important in the treatment of lower back pain and sciatica.
What is spinal manipulation?
Let me explain in a little more detail what these treatments consist of. Spinal manipulative therapy is an umbrella term for a variety of methods and techniques available to chiropractors and other healthcare professionals. Depending on the nature of the issue, one or more of these interventions can be utilised to restore joint movement and function.
The chiropractor will observe and feel the movement of your spinal joints, looking for stiff joints. They will then apply a small thrust to a specific joint, to help improve movement there. The amount of force or movement used in the manipulation varies according to the techniques that the healthcare provider has been trained in, and how they can adapt them to your needs.
Spinal manipulation has been practiced by health practitioners for thousands of years. There are reports suggesting it’s use as far back as Egyptian times. Over the last 100 years’ chiropractors have been increasingly considered as some of the leading specialists in spinal manipulation. Although chiropractors carry out a wide range of types of treatments from massage to exercise advice, we have developed over a hundred different spinal manipulation techniques, which we refine for each person individually.
When you see a chiropractor they often refer to the spinal manipulation as an “adjustment”. It’s worth noting as well that we are trained to adjust and treat other joints or muscles throughout the body.
In relation to spinal manipulation itself, which is one of the treatment types recommended in this NICE guideline for the treatment of lower back pain and sciatica, the only healthcare professionals in the UK to have these techniques included as part of their required degree training are chiropractors and osteopaths. If a physiotherapist or GP wants to learn how to manipulate spines they have to undergo additional postgraduate training.
Soft tissue techniques
The guidelines recommend the use of soft tissue techniques for the treatment of lower back pain and sciatica.
There’s a wide variety of soft tissue techniques that can be used to treat back pain and sciatica. I predominately use stretching and massage techniques to help reduce stiffness and tension within the muscles and connective tissue. There is nothing more satisfying than improving someone’s hip and back range of motion with well-targeted massage and stretching.
At our chiropractic clinic in Eastbourne we have a large team of chiropractors, which is great for our patients, because we often discuss severe cases and share techniques we specialise in.
For a wide variety of people, I find that spinal manipulation and soft tissue techniques are best combined with specific therapeutic exercises, that are aimed to strengthen specific muscles and stabilise joints. Part of my assessment at Lushington Chiropractic Clinic is to identify the areas of the body that need to be strengthened and the areas that need increased mobility. This assessment helps me to develop a personalised care plan, based on the individual findings of each guest.
You may be wondering what role psychological therapies have in the treatment of lower back pain and sciatica.
What we do know, how we feel and our past experiences of pain have a big influence over our pain levels. Especially persistent pain that has been around for a long time. Our pain threshold becomes reduced when we feel anxious or depressed. We also know that our muscles can become tense when we feel like this. One technique I use alongside the manual therapy and exercise is cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). This is useful in reducing anxiety, stress and helping people to manage depression.
Nice to hear from NICE
This was something I was pleased to hear about. Considerable thought goes into devising the treatment plans for the guests at our clinic, so it is gratifying to read that the techniques we use have been incorporated into the NICE guidelines. This reinforces our belief that the treatment packages used here in Eastbourne are of the highest standard.
If you would like to find out more about the treatments available here at Lushington Chiropractic in Eastbourne, do not hesitate to contact either myself or another member of the team.