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Back Problems

Cervical Spondylitis, Backache & Sciatica

Back Problems
Back and neck pain and its numerous manifestations are the most common problems for which people consult me. I will discuss these under the standard heading of "spinal problems" as all these manifestations & symptoms are part of the same problem with definitive answers. The facts about spinal issues are : Problems arising from the spine affect 50% of all people at some time. Pain, including back pain, is never psychological or psychosomatic. Stress may aggravate any pre-existing problem, including backache, but never causes it. This is because stress manifests as symptoms affecting the weak point in your body. If your back is soft, stress will aggravate it, as will lousy posture and bad lifting habits. Bad posture aggravates a pre-existing problem but does not usually cause it. A spine affected by injury can be affected by poor posture, bad diet, food allergies and incorrect ways of working and lifting. Spinal problems may cause referred pain in other body parts, depending on which nerve is affected. There may be pain, tingling or numbness in the arm, hands, fingers, abdomen or chest. A problem in the thoracic vertebrae, which lie behind the chest, may cause chest pain, abdominal pain and many other symptoms. These pains are often misdiagnosed and mistreated as they are thought to originate from the heart or the stomach. Spinal problems can arise at any age, from early childhood to middle and old age. In early childhood, it may be misdiagnosed as "growing pains," pain in the legs usually on walking, knock knees, pigeon-toed walk, Charlie Chaplin walk, bed wetting, etc. History of Backaches Spinal problems are usually a result of injury. The pain may start immediately or any time after that, even twenty years after the injury. Severe back problems typically have roots in falls and accidents up to 25 years earlier. They often did not manifest earlier, as the body compensated for them. Back and neck problems usually recur cyclically unless adequately treated. Pain alternates between the neck and lower back at intervals of about five years. The periods of pain alternate with pain-free periods in the early years. Unfortunately, after nearly 20 years, pain and discomfort are constant companions. Cervical Spondylosis is also called Osteoarthritis of the cervical spine. The symptoms of this condition are a painful and stiff neck, restriction of neck movements, pain in the shoulder or arm, vertigo (giddiness), tingling, numbness, weakness (loss of strength), or a loss of sensation in either arm. This pain is often mistaken for pain arising from the heart, especially when the pain radiates down the left arm. A person with cervical Spondylitis usually develops a problem in the lower back five years later and vice versa. This may manifest as a low backache, sciatica, pain, weakness, tingling or numbness in the legs, hips, knees, ankles, feet or toes. Sometimes, the person may have incontinence (unable to control the Urine or stools), impotence (unable to have or maintain an erection) and dyspareunia (pain while having intercourse, which affects 5-7% of ladies). The condition can be easily diagnosed by feeling the spines of the vertebra in the centre and the edges of the vertebrae about 3-4 cm from the centre of the spine. Tenderness on any of these vertebrae indicates a problem in the neck that needs treatment. Occasionally, X-rays, CT scans or MRI scans may be required to confirm the diagnosis. Effective Treatment of Back Pain. Back problems can be cured with appropriate treatment and maintained with lifelong exercise, good posture, and a correct diet. The initial treatment usually takes a few days, and depending on the duration and severity of the problem, follow-ups are required at 3-6 monthly intervals for 2-3 years. There are three stages in the treatment. Firstly, to relieve the pain and the muscle spasms caused by the pain. Next, strengthen the spine so that it will hold the spine firmly in the correct position. Finally, it aligns the spine, removing the pressure from the nerves and restoring the spine's balance. This process may take a few days or weeks, depending on your condition. Follow-up visits to check the spine's alignment are used to rebalance it as it adjusts through the many changes that have affected it over the years. This process must continue until the spine remains aligned for at least 6-9 months. Problems in the neck are generally associated with problems in the lower back that are also treated simultaneously. When the treatment is followed through to this stage, and my advice is followed, a recurrence of the problem is unlikely. Back pain responds very well to acupuncture. In 80% of patients, there is usually an instantaneous pain improvement with acupuncture treatment. A few patients may require up to 10-30 treatments to relieve the pain. Acupuncture effectively relieves the pain and restores mobility to the neck within a few minutes. Very often, patients enter the clinic wearing a cervical collar and throw it away after treatment because they are entirely free from pain. Following this, the patient requires spinal manipulation using Cranial-Sacral osteopathy and Advanced Bio-structural Correction (ABC) Techniques to correct the underlying problem in the spine. This also helps improve posture. In experienced hands, manipulation yields good results. In a patient with no pain, spine manipulation is easy and painless. In a person with pain, the muscle spasm makes manipulation painful and uncomfortable. It is impossible to align the spine in a person with pain and local muscular spasm, as the vertebrae in the affected area are held tightly together by the spasm and cannot be manipulated. In these people, the pain is first treated with Acupuncture. The spinal alignment is corrected when the person is pain-free, and the spine is relaxed. After the patient is free of pain, he is manipulated and told to return and see the therapist after two to four weeks. He is then examined, and if he needs further manipulation, this is done, and he is called again for other treatment after two to three weeks. This process continues until the patient's spine is perfectly aligned. The patient is called back for a check-up every three months until the therapist is satisfied that the spine is aligned and is likely to stay in place. The process of aligning the spine is slow because a spine that has been out of alignment for many years cannot be expected to return to its normal alignment in a few days. It tends to return to its earlier position, so a few treatments are required for the spine to stabilise. A complete course of treatment for most spinal problems may require up to twenty treatments spread over 2-3 years. The patient is shown exercises to strengthen the muscles around the spine so alignment is maintained. If the patient does these exercises and comes for regular follow-up treatments, the patient should not have a recurrence of the problem. An accident, a fall, or any accident causing a jerk to an unprepared spine can throw the spine out of alignment again. If you have an accident or a fall, schedule a follow-up visit as soon as possible so I can check if the spine's balance has been affected. If any problem has occurred in the spine's balance, this can be corrected before any symptoms appear and prevent any recurrence of the problem. Pain in the knees can often arise from a misalignment in the L3 or L4 vertebrae in the spine, which presses on the nerve. This is often misdiagnosed as osteoarthritis. Lower abdominal pain may originate from the 12th Thoracic vertebra. The ailments caused by spinal misalignment of the vertebrae are described below. Did you know that your head weighs between 4 and 5 kilograms? This weight is supported by seven small bones in your neck. The position of your neck determines the strain on your neck. The charts above show the load on your neck in different positions. When slumped over a phone at a 45-degree angle, it is equivalent to placing 22 kg of stress on the neck. This can cause headaches, neck pain, and pain down the arm or back. Consider correcting your posture to stay comfortable and prevent pain. Treatment using Advanced Bio-Structural Techniques aligns the spine and improves your posture. While walking, carry any weights, including your phone, as close to the body's centre as possible. Advanced Biostructural Correction Techniques The series of Photos below show the improvement in posture in a 60-year-old gentleman who underwent treatment using the ABC techniques over three weeks to align his spine and improve his posture. Note that he is no longer slouching and can stand erect without effort.
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