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I am a private practitioner working in various clinics in Norfolk. I can often help with most muscular or skeletal problems you may have, whether due to an injury, wear and tear or postural. I can be contacted via email address below.

• The Knee joint                     
• Common problems
• Stay injury free
• How an osteopath can help     

                
The Knee Joint is made up of four bones, the femur or thigh bone, the tibia, known as the shin bone, the fibula that runs parallel to the tibia for added support and the patella or kneecap, which sits at the front to help movement and offer protection.

The knee-joint is a hinge joint and although it may look like a simple joint, it is one of the most complex in the body. It is also the largest joint in the body and more likely to be injured than any other joint. As well as flexing and extending, the knee also has a small degree of rotation, which is possibly the reason why there are so many injuries to the knee. Taking care of our knees in our younger years may help prevent real complications in our more mature years.

The muscles at the front of the knee are the quadriceps and the muscles behind are the hamstrings. As well as causing movement, these muscles also help to support and protect the knee to help it move smoothly. It is very important to maintain the strength in these muscles because if the knee is injured, complications with other joints such as the ankle, hip and lower back will often follow.

The two Cruciate Ligaments are located in the centre of the knee and are the major stabilising ligaments of the joint. These ligaments stop the femur and tibia sliding in opposite directions against each other. If one of these ligaments is damaged, there is often huge instability within the knee leading to pain, discomfort and giving way.

The Collateral ligaments are located both side of the knee-joint and stop the knee falling inward or outward during movement. Once again, these ligaments offer important stability to the joint and can cause a number of problems if damaged.

The Menisci (meniscus) sit between the femur and tibia; they are cartilage structures deep within the knee and provide shock absorption, lubrication, load transmission, stability and aid smooth movement of the bones as they slide against each other. Problems with the meniscus can be very painful and operations are often performed to remove, or partially   remove damaged areas of these structures. Removal can reduce the shock absorbing capacity of the knee by 20%.

    
Common Problems 

Osteoarthritis (OA)
Osteoarthritis in the knee is a disease that causes cartilage to wear away; without this protective cartilage, the bones begin to rub together causing pain, loss of mobility and deformity. Symptoms of OA include pain, tenderness, stiffness and a loss of flexibility in the knee when standing or walking.  Osteoarthritis in the knee effects over 70,000 people each year in the UK, and is more common in women.  Most physicians believe a combination of factors are responsible for OA, these include muscle weakness, obesity, joint injury and aging. 
 
Degeneration of the cartilage that lines the kneecap is also common and results in pain during knee bending and kneeling, a grinding sensation behind the kneecap during movement is also common and often referred to as Chondromalacia patella.
     
Meniscal Tear 
Tears of the menisci can cause pain, popping, “catching” or “sticking” of the joint. Most tears are diagnosed by history and physical examination followed by an  x-ray and MRI scan.  Conservative  treatment can often help but if pain persists, surgical treatment may be required.

Ligament Tear
Four ligaments stabilize the knee: two cruciate ligaments, and two collateral ligaments. Ligament tears usually occur as the result of acute trauma. Symptoms include pain, swelling and stiffness, and possibly instability. Anterior cruciate ligament tears are usually dramatic with immediate symptoms of instability, Posterior cruciate ligament tears are less dramatic, but also result in swelling and instability. Collateral ligament tears are painful, but generally cause less instability.

Other problems that may cause knee pain include rheumatoid arthritis, muscle strains, bursitis, tendonitis, Osgood Schlatters lesion, ITB syndrome, thrombosis, fracture, dislocation, hip and lower back arthritis.

Stay Injury Free

As the knee-joint sits between two long levers, the upper and lower leg, it is extremely reliant upon the muscles and ligaments to support it. Therefore exercise to help maintain the strength, mobility and good foundation in these structures is vitally important to help stability and longevity of the knee-joint.  Be kind to your knees, be careful when twisting the knees under load, rest when needed and take advice when injured.

How an Osteopath can help
Osteopaths may often be able to identify the cause of knee problems or discomfort and can frequently help to relieve pain, improve range of movement and advise on exercises to help or activities to avoid. Osteopathy is predominantly ‘hands on’ treatment; though often involves ultrasound, acupuncture or electrotherapy to help recovery of an injured area. 
Please note: Osteopathic treatment is not available on the NHS. For prices, availability and any other queries please speak to the staff on reception or call/email me directly using the details below.

Your body is a beautiful manifestation powered by spirit. ~Mike Dolan

For more information please contact me at info@jhoughtonosteopath.co.uk or visit my website www.jhoughtonosteopath.co.uk or www.woodfarmcentre.co.uk  Thank you for reading.

So where to begin? I guess as an Osteopath I should really start by giving you some ideas and information about the most common problem I treat    ……….    Lower Back Pain!


         

   

A brief history· 

Common causes of back pain

How can an Osteopath help?

Helping yourself – Exercise/Nutrition

 

A brief history:

Back problems will affect 80% of us at some point during our lives, even osteopaths! There is no specific category of subjects who suffer back pain more frequently than others, men are affected as often as women, physical workers as often as static deskbound workers, this said, there are some risk factors involved which include:

  • ·         Being overweight – the extra weight puts pressure on the spine, this can cause compression, increased lordosis, imbalance and weakness. 
  • ·         Smoking – possibly due to decreased blood and oxygen supply to the tissues by damaged or blocked arteries, or that smokers generally tend to have unhealthier lifestyles than non-smokers?
  • ·         Pregnancy – the excess weight of carrying a baby places additional strain on the back, causing stretching of the abdominals, back compression and pain.
  • ·         Medication – long-term use of medication such as steroids can weaken bone and lead to possible fracture.
  • ·         Stress – it is thought stress can cause tension, headaches and heighten the awareness of pain in the back or elsewhere.
  • ·         Lack of exercise – if muscles are not worked regularly they become weak. The whole skeletal system is supported by muscles and will be affected if these supporting structures weaken or fail.

Common causes of back pain:

Slipped disc or prolapsed disc – this is when the thick viscous fluid inside the disc bulges through the outer layers causing back pain and often pressing on a nerve causing sciatica.

Muscle strain – heavy lifting or repeated movements such as digging can cause muscular strains which limit movement and produce severe pain and weakness.

Facet Joint compression – the joints in the lower back can become compressed through poor posture, repeated extension movements or normal wear and tear (Osteoarthritis) which often leads to inflammation, tenderness, sharp catching pain or even sciatica in the back of the leg.

There are countless causes of back pain including: infection, ankylosing spondylitis, hip problems, abdominal aneurism, rheumatoid arthritis, polymyalgia and cancer.  Fortunately the majority of problems are mechanical and improve quickly, sometimes with treatment, sometimes without, but if you’re in pain and unsure its worth getting checked out.

How can an Osteopath help?

Osteopaths use a variety of techniques to help improve the blood flow to tissues. Improved blood flow increases the oxygen and nutrient supply to injured tissue helping the healing process. Osteopaths can also help increase joint motion which helps lubricate the joint as well as repair and help protect the cartilage within. Although osteopathy is predominantly a ‘hands on’ treatment, Osteopaths often use other tools such as Ultrasound, Acupuncture, Electro-Acupuncture and Tens to aid recovery.

Helping Yourself – Exercise

Exercising regularly will do a great deal to keep your back muscles strong, the joints lubricated and help maintain your range of movement. Exercise is a genuine effective outlet for stress; it helps counteract sedentary occupational work as well as helping to keep your weight from creeping in the wrong direction! It boosts the immune system keeps bones strong and improves energy levels. There is not one system in the body that is not affected by exercise!

 

Nutrition

Diet can have a huge impact on the way your body functions. The wrong diet can increase weight, damage arteries, cause heart disease, lower the immune system, aggravate arthritis and generally stress the whole body.  We are designed to eat a varied diet as much as we are designed to move through exercise; both help maintain optimum health when carried out correctly. Your body is a complex machine which takes a level of discipline to keep in tune; it is susceptible to irreversible damage.   Eat plenty of colours, not too much fat, eat regular but not constant and stay healthy.

 

 

Life is not merely to be alive, but to be well”.  ~Marcus Valerius Martial

By Jason Houghton – Bsc (hons) Oste0

http://www.woodfaramcentre.co.uk