If you're on the 'other' side of 50 , it's tempting to blame "getting on" for everything. But the truth of the matter is that a lot of your problems are the same that much younger patients come in with. And happily, just like younger people, a lot our more senior patients get better with treatment too.
So perhaps the first lesson is not to give up on
your pain or get too philosophical about it before you've tried treatment.
Sound like you or someone you know?
You see your doctor because your neck is stiff & painful, & turning to reverse the car is difficult. You're sent for an x ray & it shows obvious signs of wear & tear. The doc. might not even bother with an x ray, & perhaps you're told that you'll just have to live with it - It's your age.
Sounds familiar? If so, it might be true, but just ignore it for now.
Never mind the x ray!
X-rays often show degeneration (wear and tear) in a spine over the age of 40. This is a very common & natural development as we age & it's the cost of using our joints in a world with gravity. But this doesn’t mean that the pain and stiffness is permanent or unchangeable.
Gentle stretching and soft tissue work on the muscles will greatly ease the problem and provide substantial relief. Strengthening will also help because stronger muscles don't get tired and tight so easily. And quite simple exercise will improve the blood flow to the area, which will also help.
The other good news is that there are many older people with obvious wear and tear on x ray, but who are pain-free! Many, many of our patients come to us in acute pain, but have nothing of note on their x rays. Unless the damage is too far gone, x rays are unreliable indicators of pain.
What will treatments be like?
Everyone wants treatments to be effective. But the main concern that most people in their later decades have is that treatment will be "rough" and painful.
Effective treatments don't have to hurt to work. At Osteoworks you won't find yourself being wrenched about or having your joints painfully manipulated. Manipulation (when your neck or back is clicked), can be very useful, but there are many situations in which that tool is best left in the box.
A lot of what we do involves us gently moving your joints around, and slowly coaxing them to move a little more. We also do a lot of work to stretch out tight and irritable muscles, but inside your comfort zone.
Arthritis & other degenerative conditions
As someone once said, ‘movement is life.’ But pain, inflammation & tightening of the muscles around affected joints can lead to further loss of mobility. A downward spiral!
But don't accept restricted movement as a fact of life. And don't be told that you'll just have to live with it. Osteopathic treatment CAN help — often with dramatic improvements in comfort and mobility.
Older people may experience this as a result of trauma, inflammation or poor circulation.
Therapeutic work to drain the affected area & promoting the free flow of fluids (blood and lymph containing nutrients & oxygen) will hasten relief.
Simple exercises can also be given to help avoid the problem from returning.
Illness & medical conditions
Osteopathy is about much more than bad backs or achy joints!
For example, symptoms associated with recurrent chest infections, sinus problems or constipation can often be alleviated.
Accidents & post-operative recovery
Ill health, a fall or an operation can accelerate the effects of ageing by reducing mobility, muscle strength & circulation. General health & resistance to infection can be weakened. Similarly, weakened leg muscles contribute to balance problems, increasing the chance of falls.
Any or all of these can lead to an erosion of confidence. But with our help and some effort on your part it can be restored!
Gentle osteopathic treatment restores movement & circulation to all parts of the body. Weakened muscles also need re-conditioning, and we will advise on stretching and strengthening.
How many treatments will I need?
We realize that many older people are on restricted incomes and for that reason we try to give them as much possibility of helping themselves as we can, usually through suggesting a self-help program such as simple things to do at home.
For most of our patients in this category, there is usually a noticeable improvement in comfort and mobility after three or four sessions, though some may need an occasional ‘top-up’ treatment, especially for long standing or severe underlying conditions or bad wear and tear.
For many, a one-off course of treatment will be sufficient.