This patient has been suffering with low back pain since his early thirties and had visited osteopaths in the past who would ‘crack it back into place’. Now aged thirty nine, he came to Balance-Rite Osteopathy Clinic in agony, this episode worse than any other episode he had experienced. As a self-employed carpenter he could not afford to be off work with back pain. In the left photograph it is clear to see how his body has compensated with a very protective muscle spasm, by shifting his pelvis to the right and his shoulders in response, to the left. Continue reading for details of how this patient was assessed and treated with our whole body approach.
This is a common compensation that we see regularly and the muscle spasm occurs due to underlying dysfunctional joints in the lumbar spine. This patient had difficulty walking and bending because of the muscle spasm and a common error made by other therapists is to focus on relaxing the muscles that are in spasm, without correcting the underlying cause of the dysfunctional joints involved. If the joints are not corrected as well, the muscles spasm to protect the joints even more, causing excruciating pain. These types of spasm are regularly seen in patients who have undergone years of repeated ‘quick-fix’ manipulations, where the spine has gradually become segmented, rigid and unstable and no longer functions as a whole unit.
These difficult cases require a more gentle approach, as further ‘forcing and cracking of joints’ will only cause the muscles to hold on and spasm even more to protect the unstable joints. At Balance-Rite Osteopathy Clinic our approach was extremely effective in this patient, who after a course of intensive treatment was able to return to work within one week and his acutely painful symptoms were very much better within two weeks. His whole body was treated with our gentle, long-lever approach and the entire spine, pelvis and all attaching tissues, were worked on to regain the necessary mobility, stability and function. Having felt the difference in our approach from the other therapists he had seen and felt the benefits of our treatment, he now has regular maintenance treatment to keep his body balanced and symmetrical, in order to carry out the demanding nature of his job where he sometimes has to contort his body into tight spaces when working.