Not just low back pain – but there is a lot of that!
A patient story
My last appointment yesterday was with a lovely lady with low back pain. She had a replacement knee joint a few years ago which is serving her extremely well. In fact, it was remarkable! She had, over the last 6 months, noticed her back was increasingly ‘achey’ with walking. 2 hour joyful walks had now been reduced to about 5 minutes before the aching started in her back.
Her stance was factor – putting more weight through the ‘good’ knee (not the replaced one) and this made her pelvis feel ‘unlevel’. I had to agree with her – there was a fairly marked disparity between her left and her right. A recent gain in weight was also putting more pressure through her legs and low back.
Why are things hurting now?
What has happened?
This lady was pretty fit and flexible but what was noticeable to me was the deep inward curve she had in her low back. Couple that with the leaning away from the side of the replaced knee. The joints at the back of her spine were being compressed. These joints – the facet joints – don’t like this and the nerves on their surfaces were getting irritated and giving out the pain signals. Her body had just had enough to cope with this!
Treatment and management
I explained my diagnosis and how we could try, together, to get the enjoyable long walks back in her week.
At her first session I did a little hands-on treatment, gave her some stretching and some homework. We will start Pilates type rehab exercises
will start next week to strengthen her core abdominal muscles. This should help her posture and ease her back pain.
I rarely see people loads of times as I like to give them the tools to help themselves. If things aren’t going to plan we consider our options and find the best possible solution.
Osteopaths don’t just treat back but we do treat a lot of backs. There is a good body of evidence supporting hands-on treatment and rehab exercises to help people with back pain.
For this lady it is very early days but I can feel quite confident that she should make a good recovery. In 17 years of practice I have travelled a few (!) back pain journeys with my patients and it is a pleasure to see them get back on track.