Conditions We Can Help You With
We help people suffering with all sorts of different things. To give you an idea, we’ve provided a little information below about the conditions we treat most often.
Back Pain & Sciatica
This can be sudden, a slow progression, acute, chronic or a mix of all four. Symptoms may include numbness or sudden shocks of sharp pain in the back or down the legs.
It may even be difficult to weight-bear on one leg.
Symptoms may improve with appropriate rest and postural advice. This does not necessarily mean that the spinal joints have recovered their previous mobility.
Treatment to restore joint and disc mobility is recommended to limit the likelihood of recurrence.
Muscle relaxants and anti-inflammatories can help in the acute stage, as can warmth.
Dos & Don’ts
Try not to sit if you are in acute pain; much better to lie down and walk around occasionally. Worse still is sitting with you feet up. It may feel like it relieves the discomfort in the short-term, but it will generally aggravate the symptoms when you stand and worsen the condition overall.
Take some anti-inflammatories, unless you have been advised not to by your GP or pharmacist.
As the pain settles try some gentle knee rolling movements (side to side) lying on your back. If comfortable, then try a gentle yoga stretch called the ‘cobra’ following the ‘knee rolls’.
Degenerative & Bulging Discs
Damage or deterioration of the spinal discs can involve a loss of disc height and shock absorption qualities.
Additionally, the softer material of the discs can bulge out of its normal position (slipped disc). This maybe due to hereditary factors, poor sitting postures, incorrect lifting techniques, injuries, such as falls off horses or ladders or car accidents.
It is a misconception that cheap or poor mattresses give you a bad back or sciatica. They may aggravate a pre-existing condition, but an expensive mattress is no substitute for having your back assessed and treated properly.
Knee pain is one of the most commonly mis-diagnosed conditions.
Chronic and acute knee pain, weakness, giving-way, inability to bend or straighten fully does not always mean you have a cartilage or ligament problem. More often than not, a back problem around the L3 spinal joint causes many of these symptoms and can refer really acute pain to the knee.
It is very easy to confirm whether the knee pain is of spinal origin or indeed in the knee. It could, of course, be both and if you have had previous surgery on your knee and you still have pain, it is more likely to be of spinal origin.
Cartilage or meniscus injury usually, but not exclusively, follows direct trauma, contact or twisting-bending. A degenerative tear in the menicus may occur without any aggravating factors; again diagnosis is extremely important. If a tear is suspected an MRI can now confirm the condition without the need for exploratory surgery.
Neck, Shoulder & Arm Pain
Arm, shoulder, elbow, wrist and hand pain may all have their origin in the neck. If the pain is chronic (i.e. over 4-6 weeks’ duration) and is associated with pins and needles or numbness, this is especially likely. Occasionally these symptoms are incorrectly described as ‘carpal tunnel syndrome’.
Frozen shoulder and rotator cuff injury are terms given to many painful shoulders. Early and correct identification of the condition is very important, as great relief in symptoms of a ‘true’ frozen shoulder can obtained by an early ultra-sound guided steroid injection.
Rotator cuff injuries are probably less commonly seen in clinic and usually occur through direct trauma. Degenerate tears of the rotator cuff can occur with age (i.e. 60+ years). These will often settle with appropriate advice and rest. Frozen shoulders do not settle with rest, at least not in the short-term, and can be aggravated by inappropriate exercises.
Dos & Don’ts
It’s not a good idea to force your movements with a frozen shoulder, unless it’s in the last stages of ‘recovery’.
Sleeping on your front with one or no pillows is especially bad for your neck. It may be the sole cause of shoulder/neck pain and headaches/migraines. Try to keep your neck in a neutral position by lying on your side or on your back with suitable support from pillows.
Foot & Lower Limb Pain
Foot and lower limb pain can be due to your foot arches inadequately supporting your body. This can be down to a genetic link or simply that your arches of your feet have changed as you have aged.
We will advise you if your feet and gait need analysing but here is a list of common reasons why you may benefit from gait analysis and custom orthotics.
Do I need a Gaitscan Assessment?
Consider the following questions:
• Do you suffer from foot, knee, hip or lower back pain?
• Have you ever had surgery or injured your feet, knees hips or back?
• Do you have bunions, heel pain, shin splints, calluses or hammer toes?
• Do you have arthritis in your feet, knees or hips?
• Do you enjoy playing sport and want to perform to your best ability?
How we carry out Gait analysis (external link)
Osteoarthritis / Spondylosis
These can both be due to the normal ageing process of a joint.
Osteoarthritis is caused by deterioration of the cartilage within the joint. This in turn narrows the normal space between the articulating bones, and is often accompanied by an excess growth of peripheral bone (osteophytes) around the joint. The joint then becomes stiffer and often more painful to move. In some people the wearing of the joint is far worse, which may be hereditary, a direct result of a severe injury (fracture or break) or surgery performed many years previously.
Spondylosis is primarily a deterioration of the discs, either in the lumbar, thoracic or cervical spine. This can also cause stiffness and pain as the shock-absorption ability of the spine deteriorates. Spaces between the vetebrae are narrowed and this in turn may irritate or ‘trap nerves’. This change in the discs can put more pressure on the facet joints, which can then deteriorate and cause stiffness and pain.
Both these conditions can be helped enormously with mobilisation, manipulation, traction and a tailored home exercise programme.
Headaches / Migraine
Recurrent headaches or migraines often involve the joints of the cervical spine. The upper joints are usually found to be extremely stiff and sore. This can be due to any number of reasons, including the normal ageing processes of both joints and discs.
Poor working/sitting postures can play a large role in chronic symptoms, as can old ‘whiplash’ type injuries.
Restoring joint and disc mobility can help reduce the frequency and intensity of headaches/migraine attacks. They can often be relieved entirely after a short course of treatment.
Ergonomic advice is especially important in maintaining the improved status.
Need some help?
Every effort will be made to offer you an immediate appointment, especially if your condition is severe.
Easy to Get To + Free Parking
Harpenden Sports + Spinal