1. Lower back and leg discomfort
A common area, possibly due to change of lifestyle over recent years, more sitting at computers, driving to name a couple.
"Did you know your back takes 3xs the amount of pressure when sitting as opposed to standing?"
You may go the GP with a nagging problem and receive pain killers, which may help because if the pain reduces then you can relax, then the muscles relax and everything starts working normal again, however if the muscles have shortened and are not letting go the problem will remain. Pain killers will only help temporarily as the condition of the muscle needs addressing otherwise the pain will re-occur.
Lower back pain is rarely untreatable, pain can come from fibrotic tissue, shortened muscles, adhered fascia, trigger points and poor posture.
Lower back pain can also come from areas you may not even think possible such as very tight thigh muscles causing an anterior tilt of the pelvis which could be shortening the lower back muscles which you feel when bending forward to put your socks on for example.
Examples of lower back conditions:
- Lumbago – term used for lower back pain with no known cause (but usually there usually is). Symptoms are pain after lifting a heavy object or turning rapidly, stiffness, posture maybe asymmetrical as a result of muscle spasm preventing movement of the back causing pain, pain does not refer to the legs.
- Sciatica (herniated / prolapsed disc) – affecting the nerve root and sending pain into the leg.
- Sciatica (piriformis syndrome) – same as the above but far less worrying although pain can be just as bad, easier and quicker to treat and by far more common.
- Inflammation of muscle attachment sites – tight muscle ‘tugging’ on its attachments site causing inflammation probably as a result of overuse or shortening.
Scoliosis / lordosis
2. Shoulder and arm discomfort
The shoulder is a very shallow and complex joint and there are many muscles working to stabilise it during activity. Due to the shoulder being a very shallow joint means it is one of the most versatile, therefore can be susceptible to many conditions and injuries.
A common problem area is the rotator cuff, which consists of four muscles, one of which is the supraspinatous which doesn’t actually rotate but is still in this group. This muscle can give rise to many problems and is the primary culprit for impingement syndrome, where you get sharp pain when raising the arm, often confused with frozen shoulder.
Examples of shoulder and arm problems:
- Impingement syndrome
- Frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis)
- Coracoid impingement
- Long head of the bicep tendinopathy
- Pectoralis strain (chest muscle)
- Sub-acromial bursitis
- Auxillary nerve
- Rotator cuff strain
- Post op scarring
3. Neck and headaches
The neck has many muscles, some of which travel from the shoulder to the neck, from the upper thoracic to the neck and even from the anterior ribs and clavicle, neck pain and headaches can come from the most unlikely areas.
Some conditions involving the neck…
- Torticollis (wry neck)
- Chronic shortening of the traps
- Shortening of the neck extensors
- Shortening of the anterior neck muscle and rotators
A lot of people suffer with knee pain and some may have had surgery. Some clients have had an arthroscopy procedure to correct an issue but to their dismay they were still getting discomfort and thought the surgery was unsuccessful. However this discomfort was not down to an unsuccessful operation, it was down to post operative scarring, this scar tissue can cause grief in its own right and some simple techniques can rid you of this discomfort.
Other pain comes from general inflammation as a result of overuse such as runners with iliotibial band friction syndrome.
Children going through a growth phase, may be susceptible from overuse and an excessive tugging on the growth plate of the bone causing inflammation and deformity also known as Osgood Schlatters disease, probably the most common growing pain related condition I have come across. Unknown pain in the knee could be coming from the femoral nerve further up the leg into the groin and abdomen, even though no pain is present in these areas. A couple of treatments may rid you of the mysterious knee pain.
Some Problems with the knee…
ACL, PCL, MCL & LCL sprains
Hoffas fat pad impingement
Illio tibial band friction syndrome
Patella femoral pain syndrome
Post op scarring
Osgood schlatters disease
Distal quad tendinopathy
Recently there have been quite a few hip replacements, and have to say the results have been fantastic, I have only been contacted to treat scarring from the op and a client with a snagging pain near the sacrum which was a bit stubborn and took 3 or 4 treatments to sort out.
Snapping hip may be a standalone condition where the structures are tight and flick over the greater trochanter of the femur (bony bit on the outside of the top part of the thigh), this could contribute to bursitis (very painful condition) or even be a factor in ITB syndrome mentioned in the knee section.
Trochanteric (hip) bursitis
Post op hip replacement and scarring
Some top tips about Back pain
Back pain is common, rarely dangerous and can be treated easily. It can be extremely painful and feel like a shot gun is the only answer!
Approximately 84% of people worldwide experience back pain and it is equally common across all age groups.
MRI and CT scans are rarely needed, although if fracture, cancer or infection is suspected then it would be wise to have a scan.
Many scans will almost always show something wrong, which could be poorly linked to the pain you are experiencing and many of these findings are common in people WITHOUT any pain or symptoms.
The back is not particularly that vulnerable to damage as it is designed for lifting, however if lifting in an awkward position or shifting a weight you’re not used to then this may lead to pain (mainly muscular), some points to remember are, know your limits, don’t rush, good form and practice.
Discs cannot ‘slip’, If you are unfortunate enough to have been told you have a Bulging, prolapsed or ‘slipped’ disc then correct treatment and/or advice needs to be sought, I don’t mean spending thousands of pounds on treatments and adjustments as in most cases the disc can repair itself over time, you just need to know what you can and can’t do, and during this time it may be wise to have soft tissue work performed to avoid imbalances and compensation factors during the healing process. I would like to bring your attention back to a previous point where people who have ‘scans that show something wrong’ (bulging disc) and have no pain at all.
Do not rush for surgery, there are many cases where people have had a scan which showed something wrong, then undergone surgery yet the problem remained! , best go for less invasive treatments first, if all else fails or it is plainly clear that surgery is needed then so be it, several clients have had a laminectomy with fantastic results (I hasten to add I wasn’t treating them for back pain at the time).
Exercise is good for back pain, unless something sinister is going on then you should keep moving as much as you can, try for 30 min a day, this will also give great health benefits, also the best type of exercise is the type you enjoy, don’t think you should go to the gym just because that’s what people do, if you enjoy dancing - go to a dance class.