Are you in pain? – what could be happening? 

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  • Low back pain- slipped disc with pain radiating down / in your leg – Possibly sciatica. Sharp pain on leaning backwards may be a spinal joint or sciatica. Trapped nerves may produce painful symptoms or numbness down the leg or arm. The nerve pain tends to be very painful. However, it responds well to acupuncture: osteopathy or Physiotherapy. 
  • Arthritic pain – Many people, as they age, develop Arthritic pain– Arthritis takes on many forms. Osteoarthritis is the most commonly seen and may cause painfully swollen and hot joints. Very often, patients tend to have a history of pain in the same area. Depending on the position, symptom timescale, and inflammation, Arthritis will usually respond quickly to acupuncture, physiotherapy, or Acupuncture.
  • Muscle tear/strain – You may feel a painful spasm in an area of your body, tender, pain with movement. It can bruise and go a dark colour due to localised damage and a small amount of bleeding.
  • Pulled ligaments – Are generally caused by excessive violent movements. By trauma, sporting injury or accident forcing the ligaments into an unnatural range. Ligament strains may cause acute pain with excessive or limited range movement. Often ligaments are aggravated by joint stress.  A recent fall, slips, trips, or sport often cause ligament pain.
  • Shoulder conditions –Can be from repetitive movements; rotator cuff pain can commonly be a swollen rotator cuff muscle or tendon and occasionally a tear.

Common Conditions 

  • Reflex muscle spasms canbe an old injured area that has never recovered from the last episode. It can produce a severe fast painful response as the muscle spasms protect the body. The muscle feels twitchy, uneasy and feels like it wants to spasm or give way suddenly.
  • Spinal joint sprain – Is often worse when leaning back or getting up from sitting. Generally very painful, it’s hard to move. Osteopathy tends to resolve these problems quickly.
  • Pulled rib – typically starts by coughing or a twisting movement. The pain radiates around your rib cage to the front. It may feel like stabbing or feel like a cardiac episode. Call for advice asap.
  • Neck and back pain – Sometimes caused by sleeping on the floor or in a new bed, road traffic accident, sport or energetic gardening?  Much more painful if the pain is directed down a limb. Radiating pain may suggest a disc type injury.
  • Disc injuries, including sciatica – tend to start in the back or neck, then gradually, the pain will progress to the affected limb. Pain can be moderate or very, very severe.  Disc injuries often improve reasonably quickly to Acupuncture. When less inflammation or Osteopathy / Physiotherapy.
  • Sports injuries –  Hatfield Practice has a particular interest in sporting related injuries. Training injuries respond well to treatment by an Osteopath or Physiotherapist. With Sports injury, early treatment speeds up healing times. Essential. Non-resolving injuries, certain types of strains need precise management. Post-traumatic injuries – whiplash can be problematic as so many areas can be aggravated. Whiplash generally responds very well to Acupuncture or Physiotherapy treatment.
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Remedial Care to Reduce Inflammation ( RICE )

If you have just suffered a recent traumatic injury, the following general advice may help if you are unsure, please contact the Hatfield Practice or your GP as soon as possible.

REST AND TAKE IT EASY – rest the injured area for the first 24 hours if possible. Gentle movement (within your pain-free range) is advisable, but full weight bearing on a sprained ankle, for example, should be avoided.

For back pain, carefully alternating between lying down and gentle walking can be of great benefit. If the spinal pain is minor, keeping active is vital for your recovery.

ICE THE AFFECTED AREA – apply an ice pack or cold compress to the area sooner rather than later. Only do so for 10 minutes at a time – any more, and you could cause more damage. It is best to protect the skin with a towel or Vaseline – do not apply the ice directly to the area. Wrapping some ice blocks in a warm wet cloth and crushing the ice, and applying this to the injured part is the most practical. A pack of frozen peas or veg  is an excellent substitute (ice is best used in the first 24 hours)

APPLY SOME FORM OF COMPRESSION– a supportive compression strapping can be applied using a crepe bandage or Tubigrip. It must not be so tight as to cut off the circulation and allow for swelling to occur. Raising the injured (and possibly swollen) part above your heart level will help limit the swelling and aid drainage.

ELEVATION TO REDUCE SWELLING – People often find that raising a limb, knee, or ankle helps reduce a fluid build-up called oedema. The initial swelling is an essential part of healing and creates a “pool” of healing fluid. Sometimes, as the injury resolves, “puffiness” around the initial injury is left behind. Very often referred to as “residual tissue congestion”. It’s usually what Osteopaths and Physiotherapists treat. Reduced blood flow can also slow healing, create further stiffness, injury and pain. 

Although rest is of prime importance during the first twenty-four hours, you should gently try to move the affected area as soon as possible. If you feel any undue pain or are worried, please call Hatfield Practice on 01707 888229 for advice.

Herniated Disc – Sciatica – Trapped nerve-Slipped Disc)

The terms used above all describe back pain with radiations down the affected limb. It can be upsetting, and the online or general advice for the condition, especially from friends or online, can be confusing.  In general, a disc injury can present as Sudden aching in the back or neck or inability to straighten without extreme difficulty are signs of herniated disc problems. Numbness, tingling, or weakness in one or both arms is another sign of a herniated disc. We have a competent and highly experienced team specialising in acute pain relief. We use proven techniques to reduce and manage your severe pain. 

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Symptoms of a herniated or slipped disc can include:

Sciatica symptoms may produce light or extreme pain that radiates into the legs or arms. The pain may also travel along the legs or feet. The sciatic nerve pain may feel like a shooting spasm or electric shock as it progresses. This type of pain may be from the disc pressing against the nerve triggering a pain reflex, numbness or tingling in the legs or arms. Any sensation of numbness, tingling or the feeling of a part of the body numbness or arm /leg ‘falling asleep’ can indicate a disc problem. The sensation may occur in the legs or areas surrounding the spine or buttock muscles. It May also produce muscle weakness or unusual sensations around the affected area. If the sciatic nerve is involved, it may also interfere with muscle contractions and reflexes. There are many reasons for pain; please call your doctor or medical services for help if you can’t reach us.

Pain relief from local pharmacies 

Paracetamol is the painkiller of choice, especially the soluble type as it has a fast-acting effect. Aspirin and Ibuprofen are also helpful, and please take advice from your doctor or pharmacist. Ensure you only take the recommended dose and not mix with other medicines (including cold remedies). If in any doubt, again, please talk to your GP or pharmacist. If you are in severe pain, the doctor may prescribe a muscle relaxant or potent anti-inflammatory. For a non-pharmacological alternative, try arnica (either as a cream or tablets). If there is a lot of swelling or bruising, or you suspect a fracture or the pain is unbearable, call us for advice or seek medical help straight away. Visit your Welwyn and Hatfield Practice Physiotherapist, Acupuncturist or Osteopath as soon as you can for a complete evaluation and consultation and drug-free management.

Emergency problems needing urgent hospital care

Back pain with bowel or bladder Problems? Numbness Wiping Bottom? Back pain with bladder or bowel function, such as loss of function or numbness when you wipe your bottom, could be a herniated disc pushing on pelvic nerves. These symptoms may suggest a condition called Saddle Anaesthesia. If this is the case, it should be treated and evaluated immediately at your A&E STRAIGHT AWAY. Don’t leave it or “wait and see “. The bowel and bladder nerves can become permanently damaged. Please call us if you are concerned or want advice on 075 909 242 66. 

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