Back Pain Clinic Principle 5 – “It’s all connected”
This may seem a bit like that old children’s song “the knee bone’s connected to the hip bone” etc. Of course it’s all connected. But sometimes things are connected in ways that aren’t immediately obvious.
A case study…
I had seen Iona (not her real name) a middle aged woman with recurrent sciatica occasionally over a period of 5 years. Her pain had always resolved quickly with appropriate sciatica treatment. She wasn’t very good at following my advice and I had thought this was why it kept recurring. There were no other symptoms, but a quick check of her lower limbs revealed that the arch of her foot on that side had collapsed. She also had a bunion on the opposite foot which made walking painful at times.
Although her sciatic pain was aggravated most by sitting, it could also become more sore after walking more than a mile.
We fixed her up with exercises to strengthen the muscles supporting the arch of her foot. And gave her an arch support to wear. I also mobilised the opposite foot, aiming to improve the function of the foot generally. That’s 2 years ago now, and her sciatic pain has never come back.
How does Back Pain Clinic Principle 5 work?
Your body is constantly adapting to its environment. That includes the internal environment. If there’s a problem in one bit, your Central Nervous System will know about it. It may not bring it to your conscious attention. After all, you’ve got important things to do. If your subconscious mind can orchestrate things without interrupting you it probably will. Many things happen reflexively… Not even reaching the brain, but being automatically processed by the spinal cord.
And remember of course that you really are completely connected at a physical/mechanical level. Iona’s collapsed arch caused her knee to knock in a little. This led to more tightness in the muscles on the outside of her hip. These pulled on muscles in the lower back causing them to tense up. Which ultimately led to strain on the joints and the resulting “non-nerve compression sciatica“.
Of course this connectedness can make things complicated. It’s not always obvious why you have developed a pain. As an author of two books on lower back pain, and an osteopath in Edinburgh for nearly 30 years, I have seen thousands of people whose pain did not have an obvious initial cause. This is often because everything’s connected, and due to the effects of cumulative loading.
Help is at hand
If you’d like help unravelling the mysteries of your own back pain or sciatica, you can book an osteopathy appointment online, or just give Andreea or Paula a ring to arrange to see one of our Edinburgh osteopaths.