Specialist in Neck, Back & Sports Injuries

Do you suffer from a Tarlov Cyst?

DO YOU HAVE A TARLOV CYST?!

Tarlov cysts are fluid-filled nerve root cysts found most commonly at the sacral level of the spine – the vertebrae at the base of the spine. These cysts typically occur along the posterior nerve roots. Cysts can be valved or nonvalved. The main feature that distinguishes Tarlov cysts from other spinal lesions is the presence of spinal nerve root fibers within the cyst wall or in the cyst cavity itself.

Due to the close proximity to the lower pelvic region, patients may be misdiagnosed with herniated lumbar discs, arachnoiditis and in females, gynecological conditions. An accurate diagnosis may be further complicated if the patient has another condition that affects the same region.

Although the exact cause is unknown, there are theories as to what may cause an asymptomatic Tarlov cyst to produce symptoms. In several documented cases, accidents or falls involving the tailbone area of the spine caused previously undiagnosed Tarlov cysts to flare up.

Any of the following may be present in patients that have symptomatic Tarlov cysts:

  • Pain in the area of the nerves affected by the cysts, especially the buttocks
  • Weakness of muscles
  • Difficulty sitting for prolonged periods
  • Loss of sensation on the skin
  • Loss of reflexes
  • Changes in bowel function, such as constipation
  • Changes in bladder function, including increased frequency or incontinence

Tarlov cysts may be discovered when patients with low back pain or sciatica have a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) performed. Follow-up radiological studies, in particular, computed tomographic (CT) myelography are usually recommended.

If you feel you may be suffering from a Tarlov Cyst, book in with us here at Rainham Physiotherapy Centre by calling 01644 377638 and arrange an initial consultation! 

Do you suffer from Thoracic Outlet Syndrome?

DO YOU SUFFER FROM THORACIC OUTLET SYNDROME?

Thoracic outlet syndrome is a group of disorders that occur when blood vessels or nerves in the space between your collarbone and your first rib (thoracic outlet) are compressed. This can cause pain in your shoulders and neck and numbness in your fingers.

Common causes of thoracic outlet syndrome include physical trauma from a car accident, repetitive injuries from job- or sports-related activities, certain anatomical defects (such as having an extra rib), and pregnancy. Sometimes doctors can’t determine the cause of thoracic outlet syndrome.

Thoracic outlet syndrome symptoms can vary, depending on which structures are compressed. When nerves are compressed, signs and symptoms of neurological thoracic outlet syndrome include:

  • Muscle wasting in the fleshy base of your thumb (Gilliatt-Sumner hand)
  • Numbness or tingling in your arm or fingers
  • Pain or aches in your neck, shoulder or hand
  • Weakening grip

Signs and symptoms of vascular thoracic outlet syndrome can include:

  • Discoloration of your hand (bluish color)
  • Arm pain and swelling, possibly due to blood clots
  • Lack of color (pallor) in one or more of your fingers or your entire hand
  • Weak or no pulse in the affected arm
  • Cold fingers, hands or arms
  • Arm fatigue with activity
  • Numbness or tingling in your fingers
  • Weakness of arm or neck
  • Throbbing lump near your collarbone

If you experience some or all of these symptoms and would like to get booked in for a consultation, book in with us at Rainham physiotherapy centre by calling 01634 377638 and we’ll be more than happy to help!

Office Mobility Workout

Today’s Fit tip is for anyone who sits a lot during their work day, whether it be at a desk or in a car.

If this is you and you feel like your back and shoulders get stiff, try to perform these stretches every 30 minutes or so, and try to get up and walk during that time too if possible.

Give these a try and let us know how you get on, on our facebook and instagram pages! (@rainhamphysiotherapycentre)

Do you suffer from spinal stenosis?!

DO YOU SUFFER FROM SPINAL STENOSIS?

Spinal stenosis is a condition that occurs when the canal in the spine that contains the spinal cord and nerve roots becomes narrowed or restricted. Spinal stenosis can compress the nerves and the spinal cord and can lead to pain in the lower back and legs or in the neck, arms, and hands, depending on where the narrowing is located.

Spinal stenosis is common and is usually caused by osteoarthritis of the spinal column. People suffering from spinal stenosis may have trouble walking long distances and may need to sit down frequently or lean over to relieve the pain. Sometimes patients experience tingling, pain, or numbness that runs down their arm and into the hand.
Symptoms of spinal stenosis can vary in different cases. There may be no symptoms at all, since narrowing of the canal in the vertebrae does not always compress the spinal cord or nerves.

There is no cure for spinal stenosis, but there are treatments to help relieve symptoms. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications can ease swelling and pain. Your doctor may also recommend cortisone injections. This anti-inflammatory drug is injected directly into the area of the spinal stenosis. Cortisone can significantly ease inflammation and pain. Its effects may be temporary, however, and you shouldn’t have more than three injections in a single year.

You might feel as though you’re in too much pain to exercise, but movement is crucial to your overall health. Try to perform some stretching exercises several times a day. In the video on our instagram page (@rainhamphysiotherapysentre) we demonstrate some stretches which will help. Focus on spinal flexion but do not extend the spine when finishing each rep, come back to a neutral straight spine.

If you feel you need more supervision and guidance, feel free to call us at Rainham Physiotherapy Centre on 01634 377638 and book in a consultation.

Spondylolisthesis rehabilitation.

DO YOU SUFFER FROM SPONDYLOLISTHESIS?!

_________________________

Spondylolisthesis is where one of the bones in your spine, known as a vertebra, slips out of position.

It’s most common in the lower back, but it can also happen in the mid to upper back or at the top of the spine at the back of your neck.

Spondylolisthesis is not the same as a slipped disc. A slipped disc is when a disc (the tissue between the bones in your spine) moves out of place.

Many people may not realise they have spondylolisthesis because it does not always cause symptoms.

Symptoms can include:

  • lower back pain – which is usually worse when you’re active or when you’re standing, and is often relieved by lying down
  • pain, numbness or a tingling feeling spreading from your lower back down your legs (sciatica) – this happens if the bone in the spine presses on a nerve
  • tight hamstring muscles
  • stiffness or tenderness in your back
  • curvature of the spine (kyphosis)

Initial treatments for spondylolisthesis may include:

  • a short period of rest
  • anti-inflammatory painkillers, such as ibuprofen, or stronger painkillers available on prescription
  • physiotherapy – simple stretching and strengthening exercises may help increase the range of motion in your lower back and hamstrings
  • if you have pain, numbness and tingling in your legs, corticosteroid injections around the compressed nerve and into the centre of your spine may be recommended

If you feel you suffer from Spondylolisthesis try the exercise on our instagram @rainhamphysiotherapycentre or call us at Rainham Physiotherapy Centre on 01634 377638 and book in for a consultation.

Facet Joint Arthropathy rehabilitation.

DO YOU SUFFER FROM FACET JOINT ARTHROPATHY?!

The facet joints are found between the vertebrae of each segment of your spinal column. Osteoarthritis can develop in these joints and may be called facet arthropathy or facet joint osteoarthritis.

Facet arthropathy is degenerative arthritis which affects the facet joints of the spine.

Healthy Facet joints help keep the normal alignment of the vertebrae and limit motion.

Causes

Arthritis in the facet joints can develop from:

  • Wear and tear that decreases space between vertebrae causing facet joints to rub together
  • A previous back injury
  • Fractures
  • Torn ligaments
  • Disc problems

Due to the additional stress caused by these circumstances affecting the facet joints, bone spurs (also known as osteophytes) can develop and cartilage can deteriorate.

Symptoms

Pain is the main symptom associated with facet arthropathy. The pain is typically worse following sleep or rest. Pain associated with facet arthropathy may be exacerbated by twisting or bending backward. Low back pain is the most frequent complaint but it does not typically radiate down the legs or buttocks unless spinal stenosis also is involved.

Facet arthropathy Treatments

Oral medication may be prescribed including:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Corticosteroids

Other treatment options include:

  • Traction
  • Strengthening and aerobic exercise
  • Spinal manipulation

When it comes to strengthening exercises, Go to our instagram page @rainhamphysiotherapycentre for more information.

Scoliosis rehabilitation.

WHAT IS SCOLIOSIS?!

Scoliosis is where the spine twists and curves to the side.

It can affect people of any age, from babies to adults, but most often starts in children aged 10 to 15.

Scoliosis doesn’t normally improve without treatment, but it isn’t usually a sign of anything serious and treatment isn’t always needed if it’s mild.

Signs of scoliosis include:

  • a visibly curved spine
  • leaning to one side
  • uneven shoulders
  • one shoulder or hip sticking out
  • the ribs sticking out on one side
  • clothes not fitting well

Some people with scoliosis may also have back pain. This tends to be more common in adults with the condition.

Treatment for scoliosis depends on your age, how severe the curve is, and whether it’s likely to get worse with time.

Many people won’t need any treatment and only a small number will need to have surgery on their spine.

  • Babies and toddlers may not need treatment as the curve might improve over time. A plaster cast or plastic brace may be fitted to their back to stop the curve getting worse as they grow.
  • Older children may wear a back brace to stop the curve getting worse until they stop growing. Sometimes surgery may be needed.
  • Adults may need treatment to relieve pain, such as painkillers, exercises, spinal injections and, very occasionally, surgery.

In around 8 in every 10 cases, the cause of scoliosis is unknown. This is called idiopathic scoliosis.

scoliosis may also be caused by:

  • the bones in the spine not forming properly in the womb – this is called congenital scoliosis and is present from birth
  • an underlying nerve or muscle condition, such as cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy – this is called neuromuscular scoliosis
  • wear and tear of the spine with age – this is called degenerative scoliosis, which affects older adults

If you feel you have scoliosis, feel free to call us at Rainham Physiotherapy Centre on 01634 377 638 and book in to see one of our physiotherapists.

Lordosis rehabilitation.

WHAT IS LORDOSIS?!

Everyone’s spine curves a little in your neck, upper back, and lower back. These curves, which create your spine’s S shape, are called the lordotic (neck and lower back) and kyphotic (upper back). They help your body:

* absorb shock

* support the weight of the head

* align your head over your pelvis

* stabilize and maintain its structure

* move and bend flexibly

If your lumbar curve arches too far inward, it’s called lordosis, or swayback. This can lead to excess pressure on the spine, causing pain and discomfort. It can affect your ability to move if it’s severe and left untreated. There’s little medical concern if your lower back curve reverses itself when you bend forward. You can probably manage your condition with daily exercises.

You should seek physiotherapy help if the curve remains the same when you bend forward.

The easiest way to check for Lordosis is to lie on your back on a flat surface. You should be able to slide your hand under your lower back, with little space to spare.

Someone with lordosis will have extra space between their back and the surface. If they have an extreme curve, there’ll be a visible C-like arch when they stand. And from the side view, their abdomen and buttocks will stick out.

The most common symptom of lordosis is muscle pain. When your spine curves abnormally, your muscles get pulled in different directions, causing them to tighten or spasm. You may also experience limited movement.

 

Make an appointment with your Physio if you are experiencing other symptoms, such as:

* numbness

* tingling

* electric shock pains

* weak bladder control

* weakness

* difficulty maintaining muscle control

 

Treatment for lordosis will depend on how severe your curve is and the presence of other symptoms.

Treatment options include:

* medication, to reduce pain and swelling

* physical therapy, to strengthen muscles and range of motion

* weight loss, to help posture

* surgery, in severe cases with neurological concerns

Kyphosis rehabilitation.

DO YOU SUFFER FROM KYPHOSIS?!

Kyphosis is a spinal disorder in which an excessive outward curve of the spine results in an abnormal rounding of the upper back. The condition is sometimes known as “roundback” or—in the case of a severe curve—as “hunchback.” Kyphosis can occur at any age, but is common during adolescence.

In the majority of cases, kyphosis causes few problems and does not require treatment. Occasionally, a patient may need to wear a back brace or do exercises in order to improve his or her posture and strengthen the spine. In severe cases, however, kyphosis can be painful, cause significant spinal deformity, and lead to breathing problems.

The signs and symptoms of kyphosis vary, depending upon the cause and severity of the curve. These may include:

  • Rounded shoulders
  • A visible hump on the back
  • Mild back pain
  • Fatigue
  • Spine stiffness
  • Tight hamstrings (the muscles in the back of the thigh)

Rarely, over time, progressive curves may lead to:

  • Weakness, numbness, or tingling in the legs
  • Loss of sensation
  • Shortness of breath or other breathing difficulties

Specific exercises can help relieve back pain and improve posture by strengthening muscles in the abdomen and back. Certain exercises can also help stretch tight hamstrings and strengthen areas of the body that may be impacted by misalignment of the spine.

The main exercises we’d recommend are I’s, Y’s and T’s. Try 3 sets of 10-15 reps per angle to stretch then the back and stretch your chest and shoulders.

Achilles Tendinitis rehabilitation.

ACHILLES TENDINITIS REHAB

Achilles tendinitis is an overuse injury of the Achilles tendon, the band of tissue that connects calf muscles at the back of the lower leg to your heel bone.

Achilles tendinitis most commonly occurs in runners who have suddenly increased the intensity or duration of their runs. It’s also common in middle-aged people who play sports, such as tennis or basketball, only on the weekends.

Most cases of Achilles tendinitis can be treated with relatively simple, at-home care under physiotherapist supervision. Self-care strategies are usually necessary to prevent recurring episodes. More-serious cases of Achilles tendinitis can lead to tendon tears (ruptures) that may require surgical repair.

The pain associated with Achilles tendinitis typically begins as a mild ache in the back of the leg or above the heel after running or other sports activity. Episodes of more-severe pain may occur after prolonged running, stair climbing or sprinting.

You might also experience tenderness or stiffness, especially in the morning, which usually improves with mild activity.

When to see a a physiotherapist?

If you experience persistent pain around the Achilles tendon, seek immediate medical attention if the pain or disability is severe. You may have a torn (ruptured) Achilles tendon.

If you feel that you’re suufering from Achilles Tendinitis, feel free to call us here at Rainham Physiotherapy Centre on 01634 377638 and get booked in with one of our highly experienced physiotherapists.