Magdalen Health and Wellbeing

Case study - disc injury

January 25, 2024


The patient in this case was an active 66 year old female and a retired carer.

In the first consultation, she presented with chronic low back pain which started randomly 2 years prior. The sharp stabbing pain radiated into the back of her thigh of both legs which worsened with walking. The patient’s left leg was verystiff with almost bending in her knee and mild weakness  of the left ankle.

The patient was sceptical of how effective osteopathy would be. However, she felt let down by other  health care practitioners and that her pain was out of control. She didn’t want to leave the house on her own as she would often trip and couldn’t walk very far.


Screening and consultation ruled out Cauda Equina ( a serious complication affecting control of bladder and bowel) and other medical conditions, however I referred the patient for an MRI considering her sudden decline in symptoms.

This working diagnosis reached was spinal stenosis predisposed by a suspected L5/S1 disc bulge. This where there is narrowing of the spinal canal and contents of the disc put pressure on the nerves coming out of the spine.

This was confirmed by the MRI scan which actually revealed further disc herniations at L2,3 and 4 (upper and middle levels of the lower back) 

I proceeded to treat the lower back pain  using mobilisations, stretching of the trunk and side muscles, release of the psoas muscle running from the back to the hip and stretching around the pelvis.

Using exercises to strengthen the ankle, within 3 treatment sessions this patient was pain-free, felt more stable on her feet and could walk for hours without tripping.

Holly Nov 2023

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Back Pain