We have decided to do a few case studies for you so you can get a feel as to what your osteopath will do when you see them!

Case study 1

This is the case of an 80-year-old retired, female teacher who came into clinic a few weeks ago. The patient came in presenting with severe upper back and rib pain which had been present for around six months. There was no particular incident that caused this pain, the patient just woke up with it one day! The patient came to clinic as the pain had then become constant and she could find no relief!

This pain started six months ago, in that time the patient saw their GP twice who prescribed pain killers and ordered an X-ray. The GP also referred the patient for physiotherapy on the NHS. The X-ray did not reveal anything out of the ordinary, so the patient continued with the physiotherapy and pain killers, although neither of these avenues seemed to reduce her pain.

After taking the detailed case history and performing a thorough examination, we came to a diagnosis of suspected osteoarthritis in the upper back and associated ribs. Osteoarthritis is the most common joint disease in the UK, affecting up to eight million people!

This was a challenging case due to the amount of pain the patient was in. Due to this, we had to tailor our treatment to the patients needs. This meant providing very gentle treatment which did not exceed the patients pain threshold and not cause any further discomfort after treatment as well as taking the patients other health problems into consideration.

To treat this issue, we used gentle mobilising techniques to improve the upper back and rib movement which also helps reduce any inflammation and fluid build-up around arthritic joints. We also used soft tissue treatment to reduce the tension in the surrounding muscles which were very tense and impacting on the patient’s pain and mobility.

After one treatment, the patient was totally pain free until the day before the next appointment where a mild pain returned. This was the first time the patient had any relief from her pain for six months!

This patient will now be seen on a maintenance basis, as we do with many patients who suffer from arthritis as it is best to keep symptoms at bay before they take over! We will also be introducing some gentle exercises, so the patient can maintain her pain between appointments and not revert back to where she was six months ago.

If you suffer with rib pain, why not see how your osteopath can help!

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