Common Problems...

Tennis/Golfers Elbow

Causes

Tennis elbow is inflammation of the lateral epicondyle of the elbow joint (the bony prominence on the outside) while golfers elbow is inflammation of the medial epicondyle (the bony prominence on the inside of your elbow). It is commonly caused by over use (so named because of the repetitive back hand shots the tennis players play) but I see it commonly with people who work at computers and manual workers using various tools like screwdrivers on a daily basis.

Advice for patients

If there is heat and swelling around the joint then ice is useful to bring down inflammation otherwise you can also use heat on the surrounding muscles to help take tension off the joint. Gentle mobilisation exercises can be useful as well as non steroidal anti-inflammatories, and avoidance of over using the joint.

Osteopathic Treatment and Long Term Care

Often the cause is related to either shoulder or wrist and hand mechanics as well as the thoracic spine or a combination of all three which makes the elbow work harder than what it should do, so our treatment is aimed at improving the function and mechanics of the elbow joint by reducing workload on the joint in improving positioning, and by soft tissue techniques and joint mobilsation in order to settle symptoms. Long term care is aimed at reducing overuse, improving range of motion in surrounding joints, strengthening surrounding musculature and improving work ergonomics which could be related to position or technique.

Plantar Fasciitis

Causes

Plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the thick ligament like fascia on the sole of the foot. It is common in both sports people and people who are on their feet many hours of the working day through over use which could be due to arch support, instability muscle tightness or uneven weight transference.

Advice For Patients

Ice and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories can be used to bring down any inflammation, arch support can be useful as well as gentle stretching and reducing load on the joint.

Osteopathic Treatment and Long Term Care

There are a number of causes related to the injury so Osteopathic treatment is aimed at firstly evening weight transference between both legs, improving medial arch position and joint range of motion, and soft tissue techniques into the local area to improve symptoms. Long term care is aimed at maintaining medial arch position, improving propriception (balance) and strengthening the area if instability is a precipitating factor.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Causes

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is compression of the median nerve in the wrist, giving pain and pins and needles or numbness into the fingers and hand. This can either be caused by overuse in your job or in sport or is also common in auto-immune disorders, diabetes and pregnancy.

Advice For Patients

Work ergonomics are important so altering working position is useful, and frequent breaks from repetitive activities. Joint mobility exercises are helpful, as well as using heat to the forearms. If there is local swelling and heat, ice may be more suitable with non-steroidal anti-inflammatories.

Osteopathic Treatment and Long Term Care

Our job is to increase space within the wrist joint so as to relieve compression of the nerve. Often this involves the mechanics of the whole arm, then improving position of local joints within the wrist, and surrounding muscles to take tension off the nerve and reduce inflammation. Long term care is aimed at work ergonomics and reducing overuse, and strengthening firstly the muscles around the shoulder and arm, then slowly the local muscles of the wrist and hand.

Sciatica

Causes

Sciatica is compression of the Sciatic nerve which exits the Lumbar Spine in your lower back, giving pain and/or pins and needles or numbness into the leg. The nerve can get compressed either in the Lumbar spine (commonly by a disc) or further into the buttock, so Sciatica is more of a generic term to explain symptoms. Often the causes are the result of many factors which have increased the workload on to certain joints. This could be due to compensation from a previous injury, every day activities or hereditary. 

Advice For Patients

When symptoms are acute it is useful to get up and walk every 20 minutes, and to use ice every 10 minutes. Once inflammation has settled you can start to introduce heat. Rolling and rocking exercises on your back can help alleviate symptoms at the time by keeping joints moving. It is important that if you have any changes in bowel or bladder function, or loss of sensation around the area and into buttocks, to see your GP immediately or to A and E.

Osteopathic Treatment and Long Term Care

There is lot's we can do to help all these problems and much of it can be related to addressing mechanical problems in the hip, knee and ankle and the problems these cause further up. Long term, daily stretching, increasing fitness levels, walking taking up sport and weight loss all have significant effects on improving joint mechanics.

Frozen Shoulder

Causes

Frozen shoulder can occur spontaneously or can be offset by a physical injury or impact, and there are many things that can make you more susceptible, such as auto-immune disorders and diabetes.

Advice For Patients

The major features of frozen shoulder are pain and lack of mobility, so joint mobility exercises are key, as well as strengthening and stretching of surrounding musculature. It is characterized by adhesions within the joint capsule so increasing the movement here will help most.

Osteopathic Treatment and Long Term Care

This is aimed again at increasing joint mobility to working through these adhesions within the joint capsule, and soft tissue work to the surrounding rotator cuff muscles. Long term care is aimed at strengthening surrounding muscles and maintaining range of motion within the joint.

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