“18 months after the fracture occurred is the healing period, your daughter will gain no further movement in her elbow after this” the orthopaedic consultant informed, the 10yr old child’s mother. She asked the consultant if there was treatment she could get privately any where and was told no, there was not. However, at Balance-Rite Osteopathy Clinic, there was something else she could have tried….and the impressive results achieved here, could have been even better, had she been referred much earlier within that 18 month period!The fracture had occurred when falling from her pony and was the worst case the doctors had seen. She had suffered a complicated fracture to her elbow and the fracture had set incorrectly, having to be surgically broken and re-set, with plates and pins inserted, which were later removed. During the 18 month healing period she received intensive physiotherapy over one year and hydrotherapy for four months.
By chance, her mother came to our clinic for treatment to her back and raised her concerns about her daughter’s arm. Having received all the supportive treatments available to her from her consultant and the NHS system, with nothing to lose but with plenty to gain, Karen started treatment. This has not been easy or completely pain free, as all the soft tissues arising in and around the joint (muscles, ligaments, tendons, fascia, capsule) had, over the last 18 month period, all healed into a now chronically tight, shortened, immobile and inelastic state.
However, the measurements taken at the end of March are a fantastic achievement, considering that this patient had been told nothing more could be done! Within 16 months of Classical Osteopathic treatment at our clinic, this patient now has a further increase of 22° in extension (straightening) & 25° in flexion (bending) of her elbow joint! Her shoulder, right arm and wrist hang in a more natural position (see right photo at top) and the angle of the elbow is now much straighter with part of her right hand now visible (in the bottom, right photograph). The red lines show the angle at which her lower arm hung from the elbow, restricted by the chronically shortened soft tissues. The blue line highlights the difference achieved.
Although we cannot now turn back the clocks and must work with what we have, it is a real shame this child’s mother had not come across our clinic by chance earlier! The optimum time to work with the soft tissues is during that all important 18 months post injury when they should be treated in such a way that as much elasticity is regained in the tissues as is possible and to prevent the chronic shortening occurring. This is not achieved solely by prescribing the patient with generic ‘exercises to do at home’ where one exercise fits all – as many patients report is currently the physiotherapy treatment within the NHS – but instead requires ‘hands-on’ therapy, intensive work and an understanding of the healing processes, how to work with the physiology as well as the mechanics of the human body.
Unfortunately, this story is all too common, in that many patients are not informed of the alternatives outside of the NHS. As in this case, on the advice of a consultant, patients are told to ‘wait & see’ what happens until after the healing period. They may receive a course of physiotherapy and be sent off to do prescriptive exercises at home with very little ‘hands-on therapy’, only to be left with chronic, debilitating conditions. Most doctors and consultants are completely unaware of the benefits of Classical Osteopathy and how it’s results are beneficial in both acute and chronic conditions and can be much more effective in the rehabilitation of musculo-skeletal conditions than physiotherapy alone.
As with this child, many people could benefit very much earlier with Classical Osteopathic treatment at our clinic, they are just unaware it exists!