Avin Patel

Joint Pains

We all get aches and pains from time to time, sometimes coming out of nowhere. When should you get yours assessed or treated?

Aches and pains

Addressing minor aches and pains with check-ups

Just like you see your optician or dentist for regular check ups without symptoms, you can do the same with your osteopath. This means you can mention little twinges and aches that you might not otherwise make an appointment for.

Some problems develop from the way the body has adapted to other aches and pains. We can spot these changes at a check up and nip them in the bud.

An example of how mild aches and pains can affect the body

Adaptability

Our bodies change throughout our lives, and the demand we put on our tissues does too.

Childhood growth spurts to old age

Children can benefit from check ups too. Growth spurts can be associated with aches and pains, such as those at the top of the shin. This can develop into Osgood Schlatter disease if not prevented. Working to improve flexibility can minimise symptoms and allow your child to carry on as normal.

The incidence of “wear and tear” conditions like osteoarthritis increase with age. Often this can be managed well when caught early- even before it becomes symptomatic. Not only does this keep the affected joint healthy, but it prevents need for other joints to compensate.

Pregnancy, menopause, and other hormonal changes

We associate pregnancy with lower back pain, both due to hormones and changes to balance. The menopause is another time when hormones go through a major shift. This too can be accompanied by a number of aches and pains. For some women, menopause coincides with the onset of migraines, which might respond better to manual therapy than medication.

“Non-specific” aches and pains

Both neck and lower back pain can be defined as “non-specific”. This just means that the cause is not serious, and that it is suitable for treatment.

Mild twinges in muscles might be intermittent or recurrent and hard to pin down. Nevertheless, we can still assess the area even between symptomatic periods. These things don’t tend to happen in isolation, so your osteopath is likely to be able to find a cause of your symptoms.

We can also offer advice with the aim of preventing future episodes. This might be in the form of exercises to stretch or strengthen an area, or it might be more focused to first aid.

If you’re ready to address your aches and pains, book an appointment online.

Digestion

Osteopathy is more than just muscles and joints. We may be able to improve your issues with digestion.

Digestion

IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)

IBS can cause a range of symptoms, but often it leads to abdominal pain. When we have abdominal pain, we often instinctively slouch forward. This can have a knock-on effect on the upper back and neck as we hold them in unfamiliar positions. Treating these uncomfortable areas around the spine may sound like purely symptomatic treatment. However, some patients with IBS report improvement of symptoms after spinal manipulation.

Your osteopath may be able to offer further advice to help you manage your IBS.

Autoimmune Conditions of Digestion

Not to be confused with IBS, some conditions are classed as Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). These diseases are Ulcerative Colitis (UC) and Crohn’s Disease. They are autoimmune, meaning the body attacks its own cells.

Like other digestive issues, symptoms can include bloating. This can be painful in itself. Pressure on the diaphragm can cause discomfort, and may lead to referred pain in the neck. The good news is that the diaphragm is just another muscle. Like a tight muscle in a leg or an arm, it can be treated.

In terms of treatment for IBD itself, there are theories that working on the lymphatic system can benefit Crohns and UC patients. This idea can also be applied to other rheumatological conditions.

People with IBD are more likely to have other autoimmune conditions, such as Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) or Rheumatoid Arthritis. AS is often misdiagnosed, but the presence of other autoimmune conditions makes it easier to spot. It may be your osteopath who first diagnoses your AS after drawing the link between IBD and back pain, so be sure to mention any issues with digestion.

Reflux and Heartburn

Reflux and heartburn are conditions in which stomach acid travels up into the oesophagus. This happens when the sphincter between the oesophagus and stomach fails to completely close. Although we can’t work directly on the sphincter, we can work on the diaphragm.

The Diaphragm

The oesophagus passes through a small hole in the diaphragm, meaning the diaphragm can play a role in the function of the area. It is considered part of the “antireflux barrier”, and local treatment may help to manage symptoms of reflux.

If you need help with the above symptoms, book an appointment today.

Rheumatic Pain

The word “rheumatic” has quite a broad meaning, primarily encompassing problems with joints.

What’s the difference between osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis? Whereas we think of osteoarthritis as a more mechanical process of wear, tear, and repair, rheumatoid arthritis is led by inflammation. One hallmark of inflammatory arthritis is that it is worse after rest- waking up with pain that takes more than half an hour to ease can be an indicator of this.

Some other conditions in the same family include:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
  • Psoriatic arthritis
  • Ankylosing spondylitis or AxSpA

Early stage rheumatic diseases are easily missed because they act like a number of other conditions. However there are often subtle differences in the early stages that your osteopath will be aware of. If something doesn’t seem quite right, we may refer you to your GP for blood tests and other investigations.

Effects of Rheumatic Diseases

Examples of Rheumatic Diseases

Osteopathy will not cure rheumatic diseases, but it can help to manage the symptoms.

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)

One of the better known conditions is RA. Like most of them, it is an autoimmune condition where the body attacks its own joints. There are a few varieties of RA, with some coming with periods of remission.

RA can affect the hands, causing increased bony growth over finger joints and leading the hand to point away from the thumb (ulnar deviation). These are the effects of damage caused by RA and the body’s attempt to correct it.

The joints of the spine can also be affected, and this may be one of the first symptoms to show. Your osteopath will be looking out for indicators of RA.

Psoriatic Arthritis

Roughly a third of people with psoriasis will also have psoriatic arthritis. This behaves similarly to RA in that it also attacks the joints and can come and go. Psoriatic arthritis often affects the small joints of the hands and feet, and can come with changes to the fingernails.

PA can also attack the spine. As PA symptoms can start before psoriasis itself does, it can easily be mistaken for another kind of back pain. Your osteopath will look for inflammatory signs and symptoms to find the true cause.

Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) /AxSpA

AS is poorly recognised but there is progress being made. Its name refers to how it causes fusion of the spine and pelvis (ankylosis). Early symptoms can be quite diffuse, so it can be missed before the late stage when it causes ankylosis. The term to encompass it at all stages is Axial Spondyloarthropathy (AxSpA)

Your osteopath is in a great position to help you get a diagnosis. This can only be made by a rheumatologist but there are tools your osteopath can use to support a hypothesis and help get you referred.

Treatment for AxSpA should be gentle and little but often. You can turn around a painful day with five minutes of treatment, but overtreating can make it worse.

A diagnosis of AxSpA opens the door to strong medications that can slow the disease process.

How can osteopathy help with rheumatic pain?

We can’t cure inflammatory diseases but we may be able to help with symptom relief and getting a diagnosis.

Osteopathy can help provide symptomatic relief to the affected joints and help keep the rest of the body working well to accommodate this.

If you need help for your rheumatic pain, book an appointment today.

Shoulder or Elbow Pain

The shoulder is more than just a ball and socket joint. It is a very mobile joint supported by a number of ligaments and strong muscles. There are other smaller joints that make up the shoulder complex along with the ball and socket, and all have their own functions and susceptibilities.

The elbow is mainly a hinge joint, but there are additional joints to incorporate the two forearm muscles. The elbow is much less mobile than the shoulder, which may be why we see a lot fewer elbow injuries in clinic. But there are still things that can go wrong, and ways in which your osteopath can help.

Shoulder Pain

Sports injuries can cause a number of shoulder problems. These can be immediate or further down the line after insufficient rehabilitation. Read about sports injuries such as labrum tears here.

Frozen Shoulder anatomy and movement

This is a non-exhaustive collection of conditions your osteopath is qualified to help you with:

Shoulder Arthritis

Osteoarthritis can affect the ball and socket joint. As this joint is similar to the hip in its structure, arthritis affects it in a similar way.

As with anywhere else, there is always something that can be done to make an arthritic shoulder more comfortable. Working to release the muscles that are guarding the joint is one step in the direction of improving movement. If the movement can be improved, the cartilage can begin to heal, or at least slow the progress of the arthritis.

Your osteopath will also look at any adaptations your body has made to compensate for lost movement. This improves joint and muscle health globally- not just at the affected joint.

Biceps Tendinopathy

Tendinopathy is a term that encompasses tendinitis/tendonitis and tendinosis. It refers to inflammation of the tendon- in this case the tendon of biceps brachii.

Usually the long head of biceps is affected, but not the short head. The long head attaches onto the shoulder blade before running very closely to the ball and socket joint. It may be because of this close proximity that it is susceptible to irritation, especially by repeated overuse such as overhead throwing.

Other conditions also predispose the development of biceps tendinopathy. Otherwise asymptomatic changes, such as those to ligaments around the scapula, can make this injury more likely. Or more obvious things, like rotator cuff injuries, can put added strain onto the biceps. There is also a link with shoulder instability, such as after a dislocation. It is important to get injuries like this checked out, even if they seem minor.

Rotator Cuff Injury

Following on from biceps, another commonly treated shoulder injury is of the rotator cuff. This is a collection of muscles around the shoulder blade that work together to rotate the arm.

A fall or other trauma, including sports injuries, can strain the rotator cuff. Conservative management is the recommended first line of treatment. When the injury is mild enough, you can avoid surgery and the shoulder can be rehabilitated by your osteopath.

Preventing your shoulder injury is better than curing it!

You may notice that a lot of shoulder injuries are associated with overhead throwing. If you do a sport that requires this movement, or work in a role that leads to a lot of overhead work, preventative treatment may be a good strategy for you to avoid an injury. Book in here.

Elbow Pain

We see much fewer elbow problems than shoulder problems in clinic, but that’s not to say we can’t still help. One of the most common elbow complains is epicondylitis: tennis elbow and golfers elbow. This condition is easy to identify and there is plenty that can be done in the treatment room and at home to speed up its recovery. To read more about epicondylitis, see our full post on the topic.

Sprained Elbow

The elbow is a hinge joint, and it is supported by a lot of ligaments. Injuries that force the elbow to straighten too far, or bend slightly sideways, can cause a sprain. This usually affects the big ligament on the inside of the elbow.

Shoulder and elbow anatomy

One common mechanism of injury is a fall onto an outstretched hand which can cause the elbow to buckle back. This movement is limited by ligaments as well as bone. In high power injuries it is important to check that there is no fracture.

If your injury is confirmed to be a purely soft tissue injury (or if the fracture is healing well), your osteopath can step in. Ligaments have a poor blood supply, so need to be surrounded by healthy fluid to heal quickly. This means that some swelling is actually helpful- but it is important not to let that fluid stagnate. Your osteopath can help with flushing the old fluid back towards the heart. They can also give you exercises to encourage the same movement at home.

Ligament injuries can be slow to heal, but it is important not to over-protect the injury. Immobilising an elbow sprain unnecessarily can make you more likely to develop frozen shoulder. As the ligament heals, your osteopath will encourage you to start moving it as much as is appropriate. This helps the fibres knit back together in the correct direction, making a stronger ligament than a poorly rehabilitated one.

Elbow Bursitis

Bursae are fat pads found all over the body, sitting between bones and soft tissue as a cushion. Their role is to prevent friction. The one sitting on the tip of the elbow is the olecranon bursitis, and it can form an egg-sized lump when irritated by prolonged repeated pressure. One cause of this could be sitting at a desk with a bent elbow resting heavily on the table. This is why we also call it “student elbow”.

Beyond advising you to stop applying pressure to the elbow like this, your osteopath can help by looking further afield. There may be a relationship with the triceps muscle or other local structures that can be addressed. There may even be a tightness in the back that encourages leaning to that side. Your osteopath will look at the body as a whole to get to the root cause.

If you have a problem with your shoulder or elbow, make your appointment to get it sorted here.

Cramps and Muscle Spasms

It’s a common misconception that cramps are caused by dehydration or electrolyte imbalance. Even for sport-related cramps, there is little to no evidence of this.

Cramp

Causes of cramps

There is a lot we don’t know about cramps. The general understanding is that cramps affect voluntary muscle, but the cramp itself is involuntary. This is likely down to excessive excitability in a nearby nerve. Part of the muscle in question goes into spasm, so there must be a neurological driver. Beyond that, knowledge is scarce.

Who do cramps affect?

It’s not unusual to experience the ocassional cramp, but some groups of people experience them more than average.

Athletes

The theory to explain why cramping is more common after exercise is about fatigue of nerves. After running, the nerves in the leg are fatigued in a similar way to the muscles. As they recover, they misfire and send involuntary signals to the muscles.

Gradual increase of exercise may increase the endurance of nerves, but there is no evidence to suggest stretching before exercise will reduce chance of cramping. Links between dehydration or electrolyte imbalance and cramping have not been proven in human research.

Over 60 year olds

Night cramps affect roughly a third of the older population. These symptoms most commonly affect the calf and may benefit from stretching during an episode. One reason over 60s are affected may be because of their likely use of multiple medications. There is a particularly strong link with statins and diuretics.

Manual therapy and exercise have been proven to be effective among this group.

Pregnant women

We see more leg cramps among pregnant women, but it is not entirely clear why. Cramping affect roughly half of pregnancies, and occur more frequently overnight. The third trimester is the time when this is most prevalent. As hormonal changes affect physiology from the first trimester, cramping can be more prevalent from the start.

As with other cases, we are not entirely sure why pregnant women are more affected than the general population. There are theories about weight gain and changes in circulation, but they are not strongly supported.

People with Fibromyalgia

A relatively common symptom among people with fibromyalgia is cramping. The cause is thought to be neurological as it is among other groups. However it is likely associated with the neurological element of fibromyalgia.

There are also links between a high numbers of cramps and people with:

  • Renal disease
  • Liver cirrhosis
  • Diabetes

Treatment for cramps

Evidence has shown that manual therapy can be effective for managing cramps. This is particularly effective for night cramps in over 60 year olds. Considering current theories, increasing exercise may also help to prevent this condition. Despite this, before exercise has not been proven effective for prevention. Some patients find that stretching during an episode does help to relieve pain, however.

See what we can do for you. Book an appointment online here.

Arthritic Pain

Osteoarthritis and associated arthritic pain can affect any joint in the body where there is a cartilage covered bone. Commonly it affects joints of the hands or feet, spine, shoulders, hips, and knees.

Arthritic Pain

Why is arthritis painful?

Some of the pain actually comes from the body’s attempts to protect itself from discomfort. When arthritis affects part of a joint surface, it becomes uncomfortable to move through that range. Rather than purely stopping a movement at that painful range, the body tries to find a way around it. This might mean changes to posture or the way you walk, which in turn asks more of other muscles and joints.

So alongside the arthritic pain itself, you feel the strain of muscles and otherwise healthy joints having to behave differently. If the muscles that act on the joint itself get tight to try and protect the joint, they can actually cause it to become more stiff. In later stage arthritis, the space within the joint reduces. Muscles around it holding it even tighter doesn’t help the cartilage to recover.

In more advanced arthritis, pieces of cartilage can break off within the joint and “catch” on movement. The catching is usually quite unpredictable as the cartilage floats loose within the joint, so it’s hard to anticipate and prevent the pain. This in turn can lead to more compensation as the body tries to prevent any painful movement.

What can we do for arthritic pain?

To ease the symptoms of arthritis, you need to manage both the effects of the changes within the joints, and the body’s reaction to them.

Cartilage is happiest when it’s being compressed and decompressed fully. This allows waste products to be squeezed out to make room for nutrients to enter it. However, when a joint has a painful range, the body will avoid moving through that full range and pumping the cartilage as it should. It can take some work to encourage the body to move normally again.

During treatments with your osteopath, we can use gentle movements to convince the body that it is safe to move how it used to. This starts the process of compressing and decompressing the cartilage again, meaning the environment around the cartilage is already more healthy after the first treatment. Over time, and with exercise, the cartilage is given the best chance it can have to heal, or at least slow the progress of arthritis.

Your osteopath will also work to ease off the over-protective muscles that might be holding the joint stiff. If other areas are adapting as mentioned above, this can also be addressed.

Arthritis is not something you just have to live with until you can get a joint replacement! Book now to start getting your movement back.

Preventing Migraines

Migraines are not just headaches: they can come with a number of additional symptoms.

Symptoms of migraines

Symptoms of Migraine

Not every migraine will include every symptom, and not every symptom will be present at the same time. Most symptoms last under an hour but the headache can last longer.

  • A throbbing headache on one side of the head or focused over an eye
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Altered sensation in the arm or jaw area
  • Visual aura preceding the headache

Migraines are still not fully understood. The two main theories accepted today are that they are caused by nerves or blood vessels. However, there seem to be a number of associated factors that vary from person to person.

Factors that may lead to Migraines

Keeping a food diary can be a great way of spotting triggers. A huge array of ingredients have been associated with migraines, so pinning down any that specifically affect you is important. Another common factor is sleep: both too much and not enough.

Stress is often cited as a factor in migraines, with some people finding their symptoms come on as soon as they are put in a stressful situation. The link between stress and migraines could lie in tension. If your body responds to stress by tensing your shoulders and neck, this might have a direct effect on the nerves and vessels considered responsible for migraine. Osteopaths are qualified to help with the management of tension in muscles.

Management

You may find that if you feel the first symptoms of a migraine coming on, you can halt its progression yourself. Often this means lying in a dark room or taking some medication, but this doesn’t work for everyone.

Some patients find that manual therapy is more effective in reducing their migraines than medication. Alongside the aforementioned management of tense muscles, osteopaths can work on joints to improve the function of the musculoskeletal system as a whole. This may help to reduce frequency or intensity of migraines.

If you suffer from migraines, book an appointment so we can find what works for you.

Frozen Shoulder

The technical name for frozen shoulder is “adhesive capsulitis”, which gives a good idea of what’s happening in the joint. Surrounding the ball and socket joint of the shoulder, there is a capsule of soft tissue. It’s a flexible material that allows the shoulder to move properly and keeps the joint fluid inside.

But in frozen shoulder it becomes sticky (or “adhesive”). This causes restricted movement and pain, particularly in the movements illustrated below.

Frozen shoulder: affected movements and anatomy

Factors involved in developing Frozen Shoulder

Often it is unclear why this develops. Sometimes it may follow trauma, including surgery, but other times it has no identifiable trigger. We do know that some other conditions are associated with a higher risk of adhesive capsulitis, such as:

  • Diabetes
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Heart disease

There’s also a link to immobilised shoulders. This is one reason you don’t want to wear a sling unnecessarily for mild shoulder or elbow injuries. It is unclear how this predisposes a shoulder to freeze, all we know is that it happens.

Finally, as one shoulder “thaws”, there is a relatively high incidence of the other one freezing. Again, the reason why is unclear.

Prognosis for Frozen Shoulder

Unfortunately, this is not a quickly resolving condition. The good news is that it appears to be self-limiting, and responsive to conservative treatment. It can be broken down into three stages, each with their own timeframe.

Freezing

The first stage is called the freezing stage. This covers from the first changes to the point of most restricted movement.

The freezing stage can last up to nine months. This early stage appears to be most responsive to acupuncture.

Frozen

This period is the most restricted in terms of movement, but not necessarily the most painful. Pain from the freezing stage begins to resolve, or at least doesn’t get any worse.

The frozen stage has a very variable timeframe, lasting somewhere between 4 and 20 months. This period may be reduced by manual therapy.

Thawing

The tail end of the resolving stage can be long and drawn out. But as both pain and movement are improving, it might not feel so long.

Similar to the frozen stage, thawing can last from 5 to 26 months.

Management

Encouraging movement from the joint and surrounding muscles in the treatment room can benefit the shoulder. Limiting maximum lost movement and speeding up the three stages is the aim in treatment.

Medication is the second line of treatment. Anti inflammatories, including both NSAIDs and steroids can be prescribed for frozen shoulder. Sometimes a steroid injection will also be offered, although there are long term side effects of steroid injections, and no real long term benefits for this condition. Surgery is another option, but it is not routinely offered.

In summary, adhesive capsulitis is a frustrating condition to have, but there are ways your osteopath can help at all stages. As early stages seem most responsive to acupuncture, it’s worth getting checked out as soon as you can.

If you suspect you have frozen shoulder, get on top of it sooner rather than later. Book in today.

Neuralgia

Neuralgia literally just means “nerve pain”, but it is used to mean something more specific.

Examples of neuralgia

The basics

Technically any pain, like a mild trapped nerve, could be called neuralgia. But the term is actually used to describe significant sensitivity, not just irritation.

It is often associated with other conditions, such as diabetes or multiple sclerosis. It can also be post-viral, as with postherpetic neuralgia. In all of these cases, a nerve is irritated or damaged, which leads to its sensitisation.

Symptoms

Sensitisation makes painful sensations more painful, and some non-painful sensations surprisingly uncomfortable. This could mean that the feeling of bedsheets on skin is unbearable, for example.

Pain in neuralgia can be described as burning, electric, sharp, or stabbing. In contrast, it can also feel like more of an ache. Typically this pain will follow quite a defined line, which is a clear sign to your osteopath that the pain is following a specific nerve.

Trigeminal Neuralgia

One of the nerves that supplies the face is the trigeminal nerve. It branches into three smaller nerves:

  • Occipital (upper) branch: supplying the top of the face
  • Maxillary (middle) branch: supplying the middle of the face
  • Mandibular (lower) branch: supplying the bottom jaw

Usually it is the middle or lower branch that is affected, and very rarely does it affect both sides. Pain can come out of nowhere, or follow exposure to cold air, touch, or eating. Pain is severe but usually quick to pass. However it might come and go throughout the day.

In addition to the possible causes mentioned above, trigeminal neuralgia can be caused by pressure from a blood vessel. Your GP may want to send you for a scan or further to make sure nothing serious is causing the irritation.

Evidence suggests that osteopathy can be beneficial for pain relief in trigeminal neuralgia. Although it is unlikely that we would be able to affect the root cause of the pain, we may be able to help to calm the nerve down. Your GP may offer painkillers and suggest you keep a pain diary to better understand your triggers.

Postherpetic Neuralgia

Shingles is caused by the same virus as chicken pox: herpes zoster. It can become symptomatic years after recovering from chicken pox because it stays dormant in the nervous system. The rash from shingles tends to follow the course of a nerve, so it’s not too surprising that there might be neurological symptoms.

After the rash fades, you may find symptoms of neuralgia in its place. These can include the sharp pains and increased sensitivity mentioned above. Symptoms typically self resolve within a year, but the process may be sped up with treatment. Osteopaths work with nerve pain frequently, and can use techniques to try and desensitise the nerve.

Shingles is highly contagious, and you should not see your osteopath before the rash has cleared. You can get in contact to discuss your symptoms if you’re not sure whether you’re safe to come in yet.

If you suffer from neuralgia, make an appointment and see what we can do for you.

Hip & Knee Arthritis

Arthritis often affects the hip and knee joints.

The basic progression of osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is the wear, tear, and repair process on cartilage.

  1. Mild injury or discomfort causes subtle changes to the movement in a joint
  2. This develops into an avoidance of a certain part of the joint
  3. The cartilage there is no longer being compressed and decompressed as normal. This means nutrients are not being squeezed into the tissue and waste products are not being squeezed out. The health of this cartilage declines
  4. To avoid the pain of moving over rough cartilage, the body further limits movement.

So although the body tries to protect itself, it actually allows the arthritis to develop further. This is not a prognosis that needs to continue: your osteopath can help.

Arthritis in the hips and hands

Knee arthritis

The knee is actually made of three joints:

  1. The main hinge joint
  2. The joint between the knee cap and the hinge joint (patellofemoral joint)
  3. The two shin bones: tibia and fibula (superior tibia-fibula joint

Any of the three can develop arthritis. It can be particularly easy to spot when it affects the joint behind the knee cap.

Knees are normally quite crunchy joints, but this is more obvious in an arthritic knee. A healthy crunchy knee might make noise but it won’t catch or feel stiff on movement.

To try and protect the knee, the body might tighten the quadriceps muscles. Again, that isn’t really helpful. The quadriceps attach to the knee cap, so when they get tight they pull on the joint they want to protect. This can cause more pain and change the way a person moves. The cycle of restriction and poor joint health continues.

Fortunately, this joint is really responsive to osteopathic treatment. If you have arthritic knees, you might be able to see progress from the first appointment.

Mechanical compensation for hip arthritis

Postural changes due to hip osteoarthritis

When osteoarthritis develops in the hip, it can lead to a total change in posture. Typically it affects the back of the joint first, and the body might react to this before you’re conscious of any problem. In order to prevent pain, the body avoids taking the hip back as far as it can. This means strides should be shorter when walking, for example, because the leg doesn’t go back as far as it used to.

But the body is clever and it finds a way around this problem. The solution is The Elderly Posture.

If you bend slightly forward at the hip, you can take steps the same length as normal but without that painful extension. You go further into flexion than you normally would, but don’t have to go past neutral when it comes to extension! To avoid falling over, the body has to compensate higher up. This could mean leaning back through the spine, or sometimes just lifting the head through the neck.

But of course there are side effects to this, apart from suddenly moving like you’re 20 years older. Failure to move through the arthritic part of the joint means failure to bring nutrition to where it is needed most. The joint continues to develop arthritis until movement does become painful. Load is also redistributed through the areas that are compensating. Holding your head up all day is hard work, and the neck is not designed for it.

If you’re already at this point, osteopathy can help, but prevention is better than cure. Catch the arthritis early and you’ll be in a much better position, literally and figuratively! Contrary to popular belief, osteoarthritis can be managed before the need for a joint replacement.

Address your arthritis as soon as you spot it. Book an appointment today.