As a Gwynedd, Conwy and Anglesey Chiropractor at The North Wales Spine Clinic, how do I help prevent relapse of back pain, neck pain, sciatica or trapped nerves?

You’ve blown a disc!  It’s your hamstrings.  You’ve twisted your pelvis.  Worn discs! Torn muscles?

These are the classic statements often reiterated after a patient relapses.  But what do they mean?  Do discs just ‘blow’?  Hamstrings misbehave of their own accord?  Pelvises ‘twist’?! Discs just ‘wear out‘? Muscles ‘pull’?

Not really….

So why do so many people in the Conwy, Gwynedd and Anglesey areas get regular reoccurring problems such as back pain, neck pain, sciatica, joint pain and sports injuries despite seeing Chiropractors, Osteopaths and Physiotherapists?

Current research suggests that muscular and skeletal problems are about ‘control’.  Now, I’m not commenting about how you ‘control’ your behaviour here…or am I….read on.


The Sports Car

Imagine driving a 1950’s car.  Big, slow to respond, like driving a bed! Think about turning a corner, turning the wheel at least 20 degrees before the wheels turn!  Now, think about Lewis Hamilton in his Formula 1 racecar.  One twitch and the wheels have reacted!  Small specific movements are mapped onto the wheels immediately.  This is excellent ‘control’.

Imagine how your joints move around every day via small minute muscular contractions to help us defy gravity and move safely.  Complicate this with a desk job, sport, or being elderly and you’ve a recipe for muscular and skeletal injuries.  Sloppy, badly ordered, poorly organised muscular control of joint movement.  This leads to small increments of damage to our tissues that you may not feel at first.  Over time the small amounts of damage (micro trauma) become bigger (macro trauma).  This is when we find out about our injury – through our bodies only medium – pain.  Whilst your body has been ‘Whispering’ (micro trauma) to you with feelings of stiffness and slight discomfort most of us wait for it to ‘Shout’ (macro trauma) with Pain, and then we stick a sock in its mouth by taking painkillers!  Logical? Not really. The end result?  Irreversible arthritic damage.

The North Wales Spine Clinic difference.

Traditionally what happens when we seek help?

  • Focus on the area of pain? The pain producing tissue has highly likely to have been overloaded by structures not performing elsewhere in your body yet we still focus on the damaged area instead of correcting the cause.
  • Prescribed painkillers? Similar to smashing the oil warning light in your car, pain is a vital signal to help you stop further damage!
  • Massage and stretching? Rubbing the bodywork has little effects on the working parts – the engine!
  • Ultrasound? With a 7mm effective depth and questionable effectiveness even at that depth can that solve our ‘control’ problems? Will it make our joints move more safely for the long term?
  • Sheet of exercises? If we already load tissues incorrectly isn’t doing any old exercises without being taught properly potentially going to cause more problems?

Lets go back to ‘control’.  A piece of our anatomy is damaged and keeps getting damaged, traditionally that’s the bit we ‘diagnose’.  Factors such as number of relapses, how the problem initially happened, age, occupation etc all affect what we call the ‘prognosis’ – how long it’s going to take and what we need to do to fix it.  So how can we improve our ‘engine’ and gain better and safer ‘control’?

At The North Wales Spine Clinic we have Chiropractors and Rehabilitation Specialists that specialise in safe, drug free, long-term resolution of pain.  We have a unique evidence based approach that relies not only on treatment within the clinic but patient education and teamwork.  We create a team effort between the patient and us, rather than going to your therapist when it ‘goes again’ we give you a toolbox to help you look after your self for the long term.  Corrective exercise is one of the main long-term solutions and we teach specific exercises for neck pain, back pain, sciatica, trapped nerves, joint pain, disc problems and sports injuries. This is taught in our fully equipped gym and carefully prescribed to suit the needs of the individual – not a one size fits all.

Each time you relapse means more tissue damage due to worsening ‘control’.  There is a solution.

If your practitioner is paying lip service to corrective exercise or has never heard of it or even worse not even mentioning it at all then your just getting 20% of the job done.  There are no magic wands or clicks that put things back into place.  Those are mythical claims that simply lead to long-term relapses and further damage. If you’re not being taught to take an active part in your treatment it’s unlikely that you’re going to experience any long term resolution of your problem!

You need to consider your long-term health, what’s in your best interest?

Take responsibility for yourself and act now.

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