The Tilsworth Clinic offers a range of personalised osteopathic treatment for various types of joint and muscle pain or injuries.

Osteopathy can help with a multitude of joint and muscle pain or injuries, whether these are acute or chronic aches. Read on to find out which types of joint and muscle injuries your osteopath can support you with, and what kind of treatments they may provide.

joint and muscle pain - joint and muscles injuries

Foot and Ankle Pain

Pain can occur in the foot and ankles for a number of reasons.

The foot and ankle are made up of a number of small bones interconnected by ligaments, muscles and fascia all working together to give the strength, stability and flexibility the foot and ankle needs to function properly.
Common conditions that can give rise to foot and ankle pain are listed below.

> Acquired flat foot – when the inner side of the foot or inner arch flattens

The foot may roll over to the inner side (known as over-pronation). It is often apparent if the heels of shoes wear out quickly and unevenly. Over-pronation can damage your ankle joint and achilles tendon (the tendon at the back of your ankle). This can also cause shin pain. Symptoms can include, pain, swelling, change in foot shape and knee pain or swelling.

> Plantar fasciitis – pain and inflammation in the plantar fascia*

*The plantar fascia is the tough fibrous band of tissue that supports the arches of the foot and runs under the small bones, from the underside of the heel and sole towards the toes.

Often, people who have plantar fasciitis describe it as a sharp pain, usually under the heel or instep of the foot. It tends to worsen by standing for long periods of time in poor footwear. Sufferers commonly mention that the pain increases when standing after being off their feet for a long time. It can also hurt more when one first puts their foot on the floor in the morning. The sole of the foot can occasionally feel a little numb, tingly or swell slightly. In some cases, a small spur of bone can grow where the plantar fascia attaches and pulls on the heel, which can cause a sharp pain.

> Achilles pain – Inflammation or tendonitis in the Achilles

The Achilles tendon is formed by the tendon of the two calf muscles, the gastrocnemius and soleus coming together and attaching onto the bone at the back of the heel called the calcaneus). Inflammation or tendonitis in the Achilles can cause pain or tightness in this area.

> Sprained ankle

Typically the result of a sudden twisting or “going over” on the ankle joint. Commonly, it is the ligaments on the outside of the ankle that are strained. Typical symptoms are swelling, bruising, pain and instability of the ankle. Sometimes an x-ray is required to rule out any fracture. Rest, ice, elevation and compression are often advisable in the first 24 to 48 hours.

How can an osteopath help with foot and ankle pain?

  • Depending on the diagnosis, as well as your age and fitness, we can use a variety of gentle massages and manipulative techniques to increase the mobility of the joints and the flexibility of the muscles in the foot.
  • We will often look at muscles and joints in the lower limb, the knee, hip and lower back. Moreover, we may treat any joint restrictions and muscle tightness we find there. Often, improving the movement in the joints in these areas will help the foot and ankle function better.
  • Osteopaths may offer specific balancing, strengthening or loosening exercises.
  • We may also offer advice on strapping and brace supports, footwear and any lifestyle factors that might be hindering healing. We may refer you to a podiatrist for their opinion and specialist foot supports.
  • X-rays, scans or other tests may be required to make a diagnosis. We may refer you to your GP for any additional investigations and treatment, such as advice on pain killers and anti-inflammatory medications.

Hand and Elbow Pain

Depending on the cause, pain occurring in the hand can sometimes be relieved by the gentle manual treatment of osteopaths.

Osteoarthritis, or wear and tear in the joints of the hand and the elbow, may be the cause of your symptoms. If this is the case, you may benefit from treatment and advice from an osteopath.

X-rays, scans and other tests are sometimes required to make a diagnosis. Your osteopath may refer to your GP or a specialist for any additional investigations or treatment.

Headaches

Many factors can cause headaches. Most are not serious and, once the cause is established, headaches can often be helped by simple changes in lifestyle. One cause can be tension or strain in the muscles and joints of the neck and upper back.

Treatment from an osteopath may help. Gentle massage to the tight muscles and manipulation to loosen the joints of the neck, thorax and back can relieve the build-up of muscular tension that may lead to headaches. Osteopaths can also advise on specific osteopathic exercises and lifestyle changes that help prevent or relived headaches. Additionally, they can offer guidance on simple changes to your posture when at work or driving which may help.

Hip Pain

There are a number or reasons for hip pain some of which can be helped by visiting an osteopath.

Hip pain can come from a tight, strained or overused muscle in the hip or from the joint itself. Pain in the hip can sometimes be the result of an injury. The pain can also be referred from the back. It can also be related to the way you move, stand and/or use your hip.

Pain from osteoarthritis or wear and tear in the hip joint is also common. Treatment and advice from an osteopath can often help ease the symptoms more or less effectively, depending on the severity of the wear and tear. Osteopaths look at the patient as a whole. They will assess the way the hip moves, and strengthen and stretch the muscles. They may also gently massage the hip muscles and stretch the hip joint to reduce tension and improve the mobility of the joint. Osteopaths may also work on the secondary problems, such as backache.

X-rays, scans and other tests are sometimes required to make a diagnosis. Your osteopath may refer to your GP or a specialist for any additional investigations or treatment.

Knee Pain

The knee is the largest joint in the body. It is a major weight-bearing joint and is one of the most frequently injured joints in the human body.

Knee pain can be the result of a number of different issues. It can be painful and debilitating. Although some conditions may require surgery, many can be helped with the right advice, exercise and treatment from your osteopath.

The knee joint lies between the femur and tibia and at the front is the patella or kneecap. It is made up of a number of structures including ligaments, muscles, capsule, synovial membrane and two ‘c’-shaped pieces of cartilage which sit between the femur and tibia known as the menisci.

Damage, strain or sprain to the structures of the knee can give rise to symptoms.  It can be the result of a sudden injury – often sports injuries – or by repeatedly placing strain on an area of the knee. Poor alignment of the knee or kneecap, as well as altered joint mechanics in relation to other joints, such as the hips and knees, are often significant. Osteoarthritis or wear and tear is a common condition that affects the knee.

Common symptoms in the knee include pain, stiffness, aching, pain, locking, swelling, limping and difficulty fully straightening or bending the knee.

X-rays, scans and other tests are sometimes required to make a diagnosis. Your osteopath may refer to your GP or a specialist for any additional investigations or treatment.

Neck Pain

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Neck pain is common in people of all ages and is often caused by the way we use our necks.

Working all day bent over a computer, driving long distances, poor posture while standing or sitting, stress and tiredness… These are all factors that can cause the muscles in the neck and upper back to become tight, and the joints to become stiff, which can contribute to ongoing neck pain.

Sometimes, a nerve in your neck can become irritated or “trapped”, and cause pain in the arm going down into your shoulder or the hand. It may also be accompanied by pins and needles and numbness.

Some headaches can be the result of tension or stiffness in the neck and upper back.

Osteoarthritis, or age-related wear and tear in the neck, can also cause muscular pain from the neck into the shoulder, as well as some stiffness in moving the neck.

How can an Osteopath help with neck pain?

  • Osteopaths can use a wide range of gentle manipulations – depending on your age, fitness and diagnosis – to reduce muscular tension in the neck and improve movement in the joints of the neck and upper back. We may gently massage the soft tissues or  rhythmically “rock” the joints to release tension. Sometimes we might also gently manipulate the neck to move the joints and you may hear a “click”.
  • Treatment is different for every individual. Sometimes, it might involve treating other areas in the back and shoulders as well as the neck.
  • Osteopaths may offer advice on your posture at work or in the car. They may also give advice on exercise and stretches to help keep your neck and upper back muscles and joints relaxed.
  • X-rays, scans and other tests are sometimes required to make a diagnosis. Your osteopath may refer to your GP or a specialist for any additional investigations or treatment

Shoulder Pain

Shoulder Pain is common and can be caused by a number of conditions. These conditions include:

  • Rotator cuff problem  –  pain in the shoulder or upper arm, particularly when lifting the arm, lying on it or using the sore muscles. It is often the result of repetitive overuse of the arm and shoulder during a sport or activity. It can also be the result of a shoulder injury. Age can also play a part.
  • Acromioclavicular joint pain  –  painful joint on the tip of the shoulder where the collarbone and shoulder blade join
  • Frozen shoulder or adhesive capsulitis  – the painful and gradual stiffening of the shoulder capsule (the tissue that surrounds your shoulder joint). The shoulder can often become so stiff and painful that it limits your ability to use your arm in everyday activities.
  • Referred shoulder pain – pain experienced in an area away from the actual injury or problem (e.g. pain in shoulder which is usually referred from the neck or upper back)
  • Osteoarthritis – progressive wearing away of the cartilage of the joint leading to the two bones of the joint rubbing together, causing pain. Patients who have had previous trauma or shoulder surgery are most likely to develop osteoarthritis in later life. Symptoms include swelling, stiffness, aching and sharp, stabbing pains.
  • Shoulder instability – dislocation or excessive movement of the shoulder joint.

How can an Osteopath help with shoulder pain?

  • Shoulder problems are often complex and can take a long time to resolve. An osteopath will work with you to try and understand the cause of the ache, pain or injury your are experiencing in your shoulder.
  • Depending on your age, fitness and the diagnosis, the treatment will be different. We may use a variety of massage, rhythmical articulation and stretching techniques to try and improve the movement in your shoulder and reduce tension in any tight muscles.
  • Treatment is different in every individual. Osteopaths may massage and loosen the joints of the neck, the upper and mid back, and the shoulder blade area. We may sometimes do this in the lower back and hips, if we feel they are contributing to your shoulder pain.
  • Osteopaths may offer specific strengthening or loosening exercises to the shoulder and offer advice on posture. We will look at how you use your shoulder and enquire about any lifestyle habits that may be contributing to your shoulder problem.
  • X-rays, scans or other tests may be required to make a diagnosis. We may refer you to your GP for any further treatment.

Tennis Elbow and Golfers Elbow

Pain in the elbow is often due to two main conditions – tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow.

Tennis elbow causes pain and tenderness around the outside of the elbow joint. In contrast, golfer’s elbow causes pain around the inner side of the joint.

Tennis elbow is more common than golfer’s elbow. However, both are injuries caused by repetitive overuse or wear and tear from various hobbies, sports or activities. Contrary to what the name implies, these types of injuries do not only occur when playing tennis or golf. Sometimes, a single injury such as a sudden unexpected tug on the forearm can cause the symptoms.

Once the pain starts, your normal activities and habits can sustain the problem.

Pre-existing problems with your neck, wrist or shoulder, that may not be painful in themselves, can make it more likely for you to suffer with tennis or golfers elbow. Eventually, most cases ease naturally, but many people seek treatment and advice from an osteopath to support this process.

How can an osteopath help with Tennis elbow and Golfers elbow?

  • We can use a variety of different massage and manipulation techniques to try to ease your symptoms, tackle to the root cause of the problem, and get you back to your normal life style.
  • Osteopaths may gently manipulate the elbow, wrist, neck and upper back joints.
  • We may offer you advice on which activities and movements to avoid, on specific exercise, and on an appropriate elbow brace support or sports strapping.
  • We may suggest you see your GP for advice about pain medication or anti-inflammatories, or refer you to them for further investigations.