Our chiropractors and osteopaths are highly trained in diagnosing the cause of your symptoms, whether you are complaining of pain, pins and needles, lack of movement, numbness or a combination of all of them.
The correct diagnosis or cause of your symptoms is important to establish before treatment commences in order to provide you with the correct treatment management. Our practitioners will use a combination of physical assessment, clinical tests and orthopaedic tests and/ or combined with diagnostic imaging such as x-rays, ultrasound scans or MRI scans if deemed necessary.
When making a diagnosis the practitioner will be taking into consideration the reasons why you are experiencing the symptoms, for example why one side of the body is affected more than the other. They will assess your posture, looking for asymmetry and for muscle imbalances and weaknesses that can be addressed and corrected.
They will ask you questions about your day to day activity, sleeping pattern/ position and hobbies or personal interests in order to determine how this may be affecting your posture and therefore symptoms.
We want our patients to understand that pain is just a symptom of an underlying cause and that treating the underlying cause will prevent the symptom/s from returning.
The “Three Types of Care” chart demonstrates the progression of spinal health from the first time you visit it us with spinal related symptoms to being symptom free and with improved mechanical spinal health. Symptoms arising from dysfunction in the spine are varied and can be widespread, such as neck pain, back pain, muscle spasm, arm or leg pain with or without pins and needles, numbness or weakness.
Many patients consult our practitioners after an acute attack of back or neck pain. At this stage, your treatment will be focused on “Pain Management Care” and you can expect to be receiving this type of care twice a week until your symptoms improve. It is common to have good days and bad days during this period, with minor relapses as you try to increase your activity levels. As your pain level and relapses decrease so will the frequency of your visits to your practitioner, at which point the main focus of treatment is on restoring the health of your spine and muscles through “Functional Corrective Care”.
It is common for patients to stop coming for treatment at this stage as they are feeling symptom free and have returned to normal activity levels. However research has shown that 25% to 50% of people after an acute episode of back pain; will experience additional episode over the following year. It is therefore a recommendation that our patients continue with “Maintenance and Preventative Care” which may vary from one patient to the next on the frequency of the visits, dependent on their general spinal health, lifestyle and social factors. The aim is to try to space out the interval of your maintenance visits to once every 3 months. Of course how long you decide to benefit from chiropractic or osteopathic treatment is always up to you.
The treatment you may expect to receive during visits is varied and dependent on what your practitioner thinks is suitable for you at the time and of course what you feel comfortable with.
Pain Management Intensive Care:
- Cryotherapy or the use of cold packs
- Soft tissue work
- Intereferential therapy (minute electrical pulses used to treat pain and muscle spasm)
- Therapeutic ultrasound (to speed up healing and reduce inflammation)
- Dry needling (to reduce muscles spasm or tension)
- Spinal manipulative therapy or spinal mobilization
Functional Corrective Care:
- Soft tissue work
- Interferential Therapy
- Dry needling
- Spinal manipulative therapy or spinal mobilization
- Rehabilitation through a specific exercise program tailored to your condition. The NICE guidelines for low back pain recommend rehabilitation exercise for up to 8 sessions over 12 weeks.
Maintenance and Preventative Care:
- Soft tissue work
- Interferential Therapy
- Dry needling
- Spinal manipulative therapy or spinal mobilization
Why consider Chiropractic during pregnancy?
Every expecting woman knows how much her body changes during pregnancy. Hormonal and physical adaptations are often felt very early on and become more obvious further along the pregnancy. It is those changes that have an effect on the joints causing pregnancy related aches and pains.
For instance the hormone relaxin is released in high amounts during pregnancy and causes the joints to become lax in preparation for birth and as a result can cause back pain, pelvic or pubic symphysis pain. In the third trimester this is made worse by postural changes due to the protruding abdomen forcing the pelvis to tilt and increasing the curve in the low back. Therefore keeping muscles and joints functioning properly is very important for a healthy birth and allows for an active and pain-free pregnancy up until the end.
Is it safe to have Chiropractic treatment during pregnancy?
Being pregnant makes a mum-to-be especially aware and protective over her body, raising concern whether Chiropractic manipulation is safe for her and the unborn baby. Chiropractors with a special interest to provide care during pregnancy will complete additional courses to develop their knowledge and skills to treat prenatal musculoskeletal conditions. Hence, chiropractors will adjust their treatment bench to accommodate for the pregnant body shape and use treatment techniques where no pressure on the abdomen is needed. They will know which exercises are useful and safe during pregnancy. So it’s not just safe to see a chiropractor whilst pregnant but also beneficial!
So what exactly are the benefits of Chiropractic care during pregnancy?
The pelvis is like a basket that holds the baby and widens as it grows. Misalignments can restrict movement in the uterus and pelvis giving the baby less room to grow (intrauterine constraint). Chiropractic can reduce such intrauterine constraint increasing the chance for a natural and quick delivery.
The growing abdomen increases the stress onto the spine which can result in back or neck pain. Chiropractic can reduce aches and pains arising from those postural changes.
A very common pregnancy related condition is Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD) which is characterised by pain in the front of the pelvis. This can be quite severe in some cases where walking and standing is very painful. SPD usually occurs in the last trimester but can last for several months after birth making it hard for some mums to cope with their newborn. Chiropractors can reduce the discomfort and provide safe exercises to reduce the symptoms.
Are you suffering from Pubic Symphysis pain? Here is one simple exercise which might help…
If you suffer from pubic symphysis pain there is a gentle exercise that can be easily done – even during the third trimester:
Sit in a comfortable chair with your knees in line with hips and ankles. Place your fist between both knees and make sure not to arch your back whilst doing so. Now gently press your legs together squeezing your fist with both knees. Count to 10 and repeat 3x for at least 3 times a day.
If you would like to discuss any pregnancy related back, pelvic or neck pain with a chiropractor first, please call the clinic on 0208 661 1613 and Maria Schlott (Chiropractor) will be happy to discuss whether chiropractic treatment is suitable for your condition before booking an appointment.
Recognising and dealing with birth trauma
After the struggles of birth every new mother and baby should be able to enjoy a restoring and harmonic time together. Nevertheless some babies will seem unsettled and are unable to get comfortable.
Cause for this could be birth trauma due a complicated or prolonged labour. This is frequently unrecognised with babies being classified as ‘cry-babies’ and consequences are often underestimated.
The qualified chiropractor will detect any underlying issues with a thorough examination. He can then treat the baby with soft neuromuscular techniques to allow a healthy development without any functional disturbances to the musculoskeletal system.
When do we talk about birth trauma and how can a mother possibly recognise it?
The baby’s body is under a lot of stress and enormous pressure during the natural birth process. Mechanical forces from contractions and the passing through the birth canal act on the skull bones, spine and nervous system. Overlapping of the skull bones is essential to prevent any excessive head deformities or damage to the nervous system. Moreover it creates healthy movement of the membranes lining the skull from the inside (cerebral membranes) and healthy circulation of the fluid inside the skull (cerebrospinal fluid).
Any interference or complication during birth can cause interruptions to these necessary processes; for instance medication, use of ventouse or forceps or a C-section.
Tight muscles, joints and fixations of the skull bones are the result which in return can have a mechanical or neurological impact on the rest of the musculoskeletal system.
Breastfeeding difficulties are one of the major effects of a traumatic birth. This is caused by joint dysfunctions in the cranium (skull), base of the skull (occiput) or the jaw. A poor latch for instance could be caused by compression of the relevant nerves or a fixation in the jaw.
Positional effects are common following a difficult birth. Such babies show one-sided head or body positioning and difficulties rotating the head to both sides equally which is caused by tight muscles or joints in the spine or pelvis. Mothers might notice the baby is only able feed or sleep in a certain position. Often they are not able to react to visual and audio stimuli from all sides.
Babies who can only lie on one side or turn their head to one side only will eventually develop an asymmetrical head shape. This flat-head-syndrome becomes visible a few weeks after birth and causes further restrictions in the skull – a vicious cycle that should be stopped as soon as possible to prevent permanent asymmetry.
Should you recognise any of these symptoms with your child, do not hesitate to see a qualified paediatric chiropractor. The treatment is very gentle using light pressure and easy mobilisations. Most babies can improve after only a few sessions!
Call 0208 661 1613 for further information or to book an appointment.
Deformational Plagiocephaly (Flat Head Syndrome)
Plagiocephaly is a disorder that affects the skull in infants, making one side appear flattened. It is sometimes referred to as Flat Head Syndrome or Non-synostotic Deformational Plagiocephaly. The term derives from the Greek words plagios, meaning oblique or slanted and kephalikos, meaning head. In milder cases there is some flattening of the back of one side of the head (the occiput), but in more severe cases there may be an associated bulging of the forehead and the ears may not seem in alignment. The condition can include facial and neck asymmetry and often congenital muscular torticollis (a shortening of the Sterno-Cleido-Mastoid muscle on one side) is involved. The rate of incidence vary greatly depending on which article you read, spanning from 1 in 300 to 48 % of all live births. It does not appear to affect one race more than another and affects males and females almost equally with a ratio of 1.5 : 1. There is a higher incidence in premature babies, probably because the skull plates become stronger in the last few weeks of pregnancy. There are three main sub-categories which are normally grouped together: classic Plagiocephaly, Brachycephaly, in which there is a central occipital flattening and a parietal widening ( short, flat and wide head) and (more rarely) Dolicocephaly in which there is an elongation of the cranial vault causing a “narrow head” appearance.
The cause of the condition is largely thought to be sleeping position; babies spending too much time on their backs. In the past, parents were told to alternate sleeping position between back, right and left sides. However, in 1992 there was a big “Back to Sleep” campaign in order to minimise the incidence of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (cot death). The campaign was very successful, resulting in a great decrease in infant mortality, but the downside was possibly a tendency to overcompensate and not allow the baby enough “tummy time” or time to roll around. Sometimes spontaneous movement may also be restricted in uterus in the case of twins and multiple births.
A baby’s skull is made up of many bone plates which are not fused together but separated by fibrous sutures and fontanelles (soft spots). During birth, the sutures and fontanelles allow the bones to slide over each other in order to decrease the head circumference and ease passage of the head through the birth canal. It also enables the head to grow rapidly in the first year of life, largely determined by the growth of the brain and reaches 90 % of adult head size by year 1 . After 24 months the bones have interlocked at the sutures. On rare occasions this fusion can occur prematurely, resulting in a condition called craniosynostosis.
Unfortunately, the condition is not just a matter of aesthetics. Cranio-facial asymmetry may be a factor in functional deficits involving vision, hearing, TMJ dysfunction and dental problems. Furthermore, Plagiocephaly has been linked to developmental delays in cognition, language and motor skills.
The treatment for Plagiocephaly varies according to the severity of the individual case. A good place to start is to begin an education program that will encourage front positioning and play, such as “Tummy Time”, using baby seats sparingly, placing toys at the baby’s side to attract attention and encourage side to side movement and to alternate left/ right sides for feeding and holding.
Chiropractors and osteopaths with post-graduate training in paediatrics can greatly help, firstly with a proper diagnosis of the condition and to determine if craniosynostosis is suspected, in which case further referral to a specialist paediatric unit will be needed, and secondly they can work on the torticollis (muscle tightening) and help with the remodelling of the skull through a series of very gentle movements. Only in the most severe cases will the baby need to be fitted with a cranial remolding orthosis, such as helmets or bands. The treatment regime for these devices is very rigorous, as they need to be worn 23 hours per day for up to six months.
If you need help and advice a member of our team will be on hand to answer any question you may have.
A common cause of shoulder pain is damage to the rotator cuff muscles and tendons, which support the shoulder joint and allow for a wide range of movement. Damage may be the result of an injury to the shoulder or from progressive wear and tear that you might expect from repetitive shoulder activity.
Over time old shoulder injuries and repetitive activities can cause the development of bone spurs or build up of calcium deposits within the tendons, causing irritation or damage. This persistent irritation can cause inflammation, tearing or even a complete rupture of the tendon resulting in pain and reduced range of movement.
Often pain from a rotator cuff injury is described as a dull deep ache in the shoulder. Lying on the affected side may disturb sleep and it may be difficult to comb your hair, fasten a bra or scratch your back. Often the arm feels weak so that simple things like lifting a kettle or opening a door are painful and awkward.
How do you know you have a rotator cuff injury?
There are a number of orthopaedic tests that your chiropractor or osteopath can perform to indicate whether there is damage or irritation to the rotator cuff.
Diagnostic ultrasound of the shoulder is a fast, affordable and dynamic way to examine the rotator cuff and has been shown to be as reliable as MRI.
X-ray is helpful for the diagnosis of bone spurs but is not able to assess the tendons or muscles.
What treatment should I have?
Depending on the severity of the injury, chiropractic and osteopathy can help to reduce pain and increase range of movement. In more severe cases surgical intervention may be needed, therefore a quick diagnosis is needed, as some surgical procedures are time sensitive.
If you are concerned that you have damage to the rotator cuff tendons it is wise to have it assessed as soon as possible. The Chiltern Health Centre can offer both chiropractic and osteopathic consultations and can also provide a diagnostic ultrasound and x-ray service.
The Chiltern Health Centre (Sutton Chiropractic Clinic) is not only celebrating 40 years of health care provision, but now has the prestigious Sutton Business Excellence Award for Customer Service to add to its collection.
Brian Hammond, founder of the clinic attended the gala dinner held at the Holiday Inn in Sutton on Friday 6th November on behalf of the clinic and it’s team of practice staff. The awards, backed by Sutton Council are open to any business throughout the borough and aim to recognize dynamic, innovative and successful businesses in Sutton. Potential award recipients are evaluated on a number of business aspects including demonstrating ‘first class” customer service, market and customer engagement excellence and training/ motivation of staff. The winners are then selected by an independent judging panel made up of local industry leaders and business experts.
The Chiltern Health Centre is honored and delighted to receive this award as it shows recognition for our efforts and dedication to our patients, community and the chiropractic and osteopathic profession. None of this would be possible without the back up and support from our team of practitioners and administrators and we would like to thank them for all their hard work and commitment over the years to make the Chiltern Health Centre the practice it is today.