My Back Pain Has Gone – Now What?

Non-specific low back pain is one of the most common – and costly – healthcare problems in this country. This type of back pain typically recurs and has a huge impact on individual sufferers through time off work, poor sleep, reduced physical activity, increased use of pain medication, and on society as a whole through lost work days, GP appointments and so on. Chiropractors generally treat low back pain with gentle spinal manipulation and mobilisation techniques, backed up with the use of exercises. Many studies show that, for many people, this is the most effective approach. However, non-specific low back pain is a complex, multi-faceted problem, which encompasses social, behavioural and psychological factors, and there is little evidence about how best to prevent the pain from returning.  Many chiropractors use one of two strategies once a patient has recovered from their low back pain: to finish treatment and possibly continue with exercises, and only have further treatment when the pain returns (this is known as symptom-guided treatment) or to go on to a maintenance care programme. This involves regular treatment sessions at three, four or even six-monthly intervals to remove any areas of spinal dysfunction as they are found and before they become symptomatic. This is a common approach used by chiropractors and one which, anecdotally, seems to work for many people, although there has been no quality research on it until now. A recent Swedish study looked at a group of over 300 patients with non-specific low back pain who responded well to chiropractic care. They were then either left to return for treatment if and when their pain returned, or they...

Keep On Running!

Sports Injuries & Trigger Point Acupuncture We are all being encouraged to get more active but, with increased activity, comes the risk of injuries and pain. Physiotherapy offers an integrated approach to sports injuries, combining acupuncture and manual therapy for the treatment of pain and inflammation, which will help get you up and running again. Acupuncture works by stimulating the body’s own chemical response which aids recovery and rehabilitation. Trigger point acupuncture (also known as dry needling) is becoming increasingly popular in the sporting world due to the rapid effect it has on pain arising from tense muscles and myofascial tissue. A trigger point is a hyper-sensitised area within a muscle, which is generally tender to touch and taut on palpation. The pain may be felt some distance from the trigger point. For example, the brachialis muscle in the upper arm can refer pain to the wrist. Studies have shown that needling deactivates the trigger point and enables the tense muscle to ease and lengthen. The physical act of needling into the myofascial or muscle tissue, and stimulating it by twisting the needle, stretches the tissue in relation to the surrounding areas. What does it feel like? Many people wonder – or even worry about – what this procedure feels like. As the needle is inserted, a slight momentary pin-prick sensation may be felt, followed by a deep ache, tingling or warmth. This is a positive response as it shows that the body’s pain relief mechanisms have been stimulated. There may also be a twitch response in the trigger point which indicates the needle is in the affected area.  Physiotherapists here...