Dangerous Sports: 1 – Gardening!

Summer is here and the gardeners are in their element – and in their Osteopath’s clinic…  What is it about gardening that is SO dangerous?

If plants were all straight in front of us and within easy reach, many of our patients wouldn’t be (our patients, that is).  Gardening involves lots of bending, and that is not normally a problem.  But then you need to reach that little bit further, so while you are bent over you also twist, and sure enough, you now can reach that little bit further.  The problem is that you now cannot get back up again – you have twisted your pelvis and your muscles’ response to this pelvic torsion is to go into a protective spasm.

Now, protective muscle spasm is wonderful at protecting the pelvis from further damage, but it certainly couldn’t be described as comfortable!  Neither does it respond much to non-steroidal anti-inflammatories or Paracetamol.  In fact, from personal experience, about the only drugs that help at all are Diazepam (2mg) as a muscle relaxant, and Morphine.  Muscle spasm pain is excruciating and disabling – it is certainly going to stop you doing anything more to hurt your pelvis.

So what can you do about the pain – your GP is (to say the very least) unlikely to prescribe you morphine for back pain, and you don’t want to be taking Diazepam as a muscle relaxant for more than a couple of days.  So that’s where the Osteopath’s clinic comes in – or, rather, you come into the Osteopath’s clinic.

Pelvic torsions are a very common complaint – sorry gardeners, your plants may be exotic but your pelvic torsions aren’t!  We see and treat them every day – usually with rapid results.  Occasionally there is something else going on that is tending to twist the pelvis, and just fixing the pelvis isn’t enough – in these cases we have to track down whatever else it is that is going on.  This could be something at the foot, ankle, knee or hip which is affecting the way the leg muscles are pulling on the pelvis, or something affecting the upper back or ribcage affecting the way the muscles of the trunk are pulling on it.  Either way, whether the uneven pull on the pelvis is coming from above or below, the pelvis is liable to array on twisting until the cause of that uneven pull is sorted out.

You could, of course, leave it untreated.  You won’t damage the pelvis further by doing that – it is an entirely safe option – but you will spend longer in pain, unable to do the things you want to do (like gardening, for instance…).  Your body will probably adapt (eventually) to the pelvic torsion and learn to accommodate it.  The pain will eventually subside (to some extent, at least), but the torsion will still be there, and the effect of that is that actions that normally would be no problem are likely to re-sprain the ligaments across the sacro-iliac joint and send those muscles back into their protective spasm.  If you are happy to face a life of recurrent agony, that’s fine.  If not, see your Osteopath sooner rather than later.