Tom and his arthritic pains

Tom, a 70-year old retired bank clerk, had been suffering with back pain over the years but continued to enjoy his hobbies of gardening and bridge. The GP had put it down to arthritis and suggested he accept the discomfort as part of getting old. More recently Tom started getting knee pain after gardening and soon found that the pain prevented him from kneeling at all.

On examination Tom’s lower back showed signs of moderate wear and tear which seemed normal for his age. The range of movement in his back was excellent and it was decided that in addition to normal wear and tear he actually had a persistent joint strain that could be treated rather than arthritis. His right knee-cap grated on movement and flexing the knee was painful but the general movement was surprisingly good. There was definitely mild arthritis present but as the symptoms had come on so suddenly it was unlikely to be the main cause of his pain. The muscles on the side of his knee were exceptionally tight pulling the knee-cap sideways and increasing the pressure on the outside of his knee. This was causing a strain of the ligaments.

Tom agreed to 6 sessions to improve the muscle tone of his leg and help position the knee-cap more comfortably. Initially Tom felt slightly more discomfort after treatment but this didn’t last long. After the fourth session Tom was already back to his gardening albeit in shorter sessions and with advice to stretch before and after. The last two sessions were spent improving flexibility in his lower back and hips to help reduce the strain on his knees so that the arthritis wouldn’t develop too rapidly. Tom continued to come for maintenance treatment over the following year and was pleased with the improvement with both his knees and his back problem.

Click to return to the Osteopathy in Action homepage.