Success Patient Stories: A Testimony At How Holistic Physiotherapy Works for Chronic Pain

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One of the areas or treatment of expertise of Balance Health is holistic physiotherapy. Through the years, our physiotherapist Wendy Lam was able to help patients recover and heal from their pain and other clinical symptoms. We are happy to share 2 of the patient success stories from Wendy Lam. These serve as a living testimony as to how holistic physiotherapy can work and help us better manage pain by finding and treating the root cause of the condition.

First-Hand Holistic Physiotherapy Success Stories From Wendy Lam

I had two patients, Alice and Ben, both of them suffered from chronic low back pain. They had trouble when they sat for too long, or when they tried to get up from sitting. Although their diagnoses were the same and the clinical symptoms were similar,  the root causes of their problems were completely different and hence their treatment programs.

Alice has had low back pain since she started working in her early 20s. She had been to many conventional treatment modalities which all focused on treating the site of pain. She was diligently doing the exercise suggested by her therapists and attended pilates classes every week. However her back pain was still an issue, especially when she needed to work for long hours. She experienced good days and bad days. Sometimes she could do challenging poses in yoga, but other times a minor movement would trigger the pain and she needed to stop exercising completely. She was very frustrated with her back. 

When Alice came to see me, she just strained her back again, with a normal movement which seemed to be alright for other days. I did a thorough examination on her. The major areas of rigidity were actually in her pelvic and hips joints. She always felt her pelvis was somewhat tilted to one side but it was never addressed with the previous treatments. She also had quite a bit of bloating which caused tensions in her lower abdomen and pelvic regions. 

When there is stiffness or misalignment in the pelvis and hips, our low back will try to compensate, take up the extra workload to support the spine and create movements for our daily activities. However, the increased work demand of the low back accelerates its wear and tear, eventually pain develops and it may lead to early signs of degeneration.

Therefore the primary treatment goal for Alice was to restore the normal mobility of the pelvic and hip joints. I also advised her about food choices which aided to alleviate the bloating and tensions in her gut. After a few treatment sessions, Alice's back pain had improved noticeably. She also found it a lot easier in recruiting her back muscles, and feeling much stronger in her spine without doing any additional exercises.

We made another breakthrough in Alice's back after starting treatment on her neck. Alice did not have neck pain, but a lot of stiffness and tight knots in the neck and shoulder regions. She worked in an office where she sat and used the computer the whole day. Occasionally she would wake up in the mornings and had a wry neck or tinglings in her fingers, but the symptoms usually resolved by itself after a few weeks.  The neck and low back are essentially the two ends of the spine, they should be flexible and work together with the rest of the spine as a functional unit. If there is any restriction in one part of the spinal column, the other parts will side bend or shift to make up for it. Alice was amazed to see the improvement in her back pain while I was focused on freeing up the neck and upper back. Now Alice is pain-free in her back most of the days. She continues her exercise regime and enjoys the mobility and freedom of her spine.

Ben has a completely different story. Ben also suffered from chronic low back pain. He felt a lot of weakness in his low back no matter how much exercise he did. He needed to sit for prolonged time at work too. His back pain got worse when he was under stress or had poor sleep.  Upon examination, I found that there were significant tensions in the fascial and soft tissues around the low back area where the kidneys and renal system situated. Ben admitted that he drank mostly coffee or tea, and did not drink much water. Adequate hydration is indeed very important to keep the kidneys happy and muscles supple. I encouraged him to stay hydrated while focusing on loosening up the fascial restrictions in the lumbar spine and kidney areas, which helped to reduce his back aches by half.

There was another big progress in Ben's pain reduction when I started treating his nervous system. Ben did not sleep well in general and always woke up with back stiffness. He also went through a lot of stress at work which tensed up his back even more. A restful sleep is a key component to the recovery and repair of damaged tissues. Therefore I concentrated on relaxing the nervous system and rebalancing the body through manual therapies. After a course of treatment, Ben was very happy, not only had the back pain and sleep issues resolved, but also the residue kidney stones that he had dislodged themselves without any further interventions from the doctor. Now he continues his exercise program, and comes to visit me once every few weeks for maintenance treatment on his body and nervous system.

My little health tip for getting rid of your pain is that, try having a wider view of your body, understanding the interrelationships of different bodily systems and components, instead of just concentrating on the site of pain or damage. The causes of symptoms in chronic ailments are complex, Holistic Physiotherapy can help you to look beyond the pain, improving the health of your spine, muscles and nervous system.

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