Treatments

Osteopathic Treatments

What can Osteopaths treat?

Osteopaths treat the person not the condition. The osteopath works with structural imbalances that are present in the body to restore a state of physical balance. Osteopaths have two aims during their diagnosis and treatment:

  • To identify and treat the cause the pain (for example muscle injury, joint strain, intervertebral disc damage etc.)
  • To understand why the structure has been vulnerable to a strain, and to improve overall mechanics so that it is less likely to recur in the future.

The Advertising Standards Agency will only allow osteopaths to mention conditions where the efficacy has been proven by large scale clinical trials. This data is not available for many conditions that patients report improvement in, so they may not be mentioned here.

Please contact us if you want to find out whether osteopathy is likely to be able to help you.

Back Pain

Back pain affects up to 80% of us at some point in our lives. The NHS spends more than £1 billion per year on back pain related costs, but even more money is lost through leaves of absence in the workplace caused by excessive aches and pains. Your spine is made of solid, bony blocks reinforced by strong ligaments and muscles. It is surprisingly difficult to damage your spine, but if strained, the surrounding muscles and ligaments can cause discomfort and pain.

How can your osteopath help?

Often back pain resolves quickly by itself, but if it persists for more than a few days, an osteopath may be able to help. Osteopaths use a wide range of gentle hands-on techniques. Treatment varies between patients depending on your age, fitness and diagnosis, but often focuses on releasing tension, stretching muscles and mobilising joints - all of which may help to relieve your pain. Before you receive treatment your osteopath and you will jointly decide an appropriate and suitable treatment plan. Occasionally osteopathic techniques can result in an audible 'click', this is perfectly normal.

Research evidence shows that these manipulations can have beneficial effects, especially in the back, helping you to return to normal activity. About half of those who suffer an episode of back pain will have a recurrence of symptoms within a few years. Your osteopath can give you advice about what to do and how to keep active if your pain does return. Stress can increase the amount of pain you feel by magnifying the effect of tension and muscle spasms. Your osteopath may talk to you about breathing and relaxation exercises to help relieve this tension.

Osteopaths are highly trained professionals who are skilled in diagnosing problems, including those which may require further investigation. Back pain is not normally caused by anything serious, though it is natural to worry about what may be causing your symptoms. Your osteopath will always complete a routine examination that checks for more serious diagnoses and will advise and discuss with you on any further action that might be required.

Osteopathy In Sport

Taking part in sport or keeping fit can be rewarding, improve your health and reduce the risk of illnesses such as heart problems, strokes and cancer. It can also help maintain your weight and improve your self-esteem. Adults between the age of 19 - 64 are advised to do at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity activity, 5 days per week. This can include cardiovascular activities like fast walking, cycling or aqua aerobics, as well as exercises to strengthen all the main muscle groups twice per week. Even if you are active regularly, you should also minimize the amount of time spent sitting for extended periods.

Sport has become a way of life for many in the UK, with participants ranging from elite athletes to those who just want to keep fit. But what happens if you get an injury? Doing sport too often or too hard may result in injury. Failing to warm up properly beforehand, or warm down and stretch after exercise may also result in strains. Using inappropriate equipment or wearing the wrong footwear may likewise hinder your performance. An unresolved prior injury, which might not even be related to sport, can make it difficult even to get started.

How can your osteopath help?

It is common to feel some minor discomfort after training, as the body takes a little time to recover and adapt to the demands of your activities. Soreness often resolves quickly by itself, but occasionally it may persist for more than a few days or make it difficult for you to continue your normal activities. In these instances you may want to seek some advice from an osteopath.

Osteopaths use a wide range of hands-on techniques. Treatment varies depending on your age, fitness and diagnosis, but usually focuses on stretching muscles and mobilising your joints - which may help to relieve your pain. Osteopaths may also adjust your joints using manipulation techniques. Occasionally when this happens there will be an audible 'click', this is perfectly normal. Research has shown that manipulations can have beneficial effects, especially for back pain, helping you to return to ordinary movement and activity. Your osteopath may also use strapping or taping which may help ease your pain. As well as treating injuries, your osteopath may offer you advice about optimal nutrition or suggest a sport-specific diet.

Osteopaths are trained to determine if your sports related discomfort is due to a more serious underlying problem, or if it arises from a mechanical strain. It is natural to worry about what may be behind your symptoms, and it can be frustrating when pain stops you training.

Your osteopath will always check for more serious conditions as part of their routine examination, and will advise you if further action is required. The good news is that although sports injuries are common, those who are active and have experience of following exercise routines may find they recover quicker and more easily from their injuries.

Work Related Problems

Health and Safety Executive figures report that 9.5 million working days are lost each year to musculoskeletal issues in the UK alone. Osteopaths have clinical training in identifying musculoskeletal disorders, with a thorough understanding of the causes of an ailment, how to treat them and, if necessary, when to refer you to a GP for further investigation.

Many people who are on long-term sick leave say that the reasons they cannot work are due to problems with their muscles, bones, ligaments and nerves (musculoskeletal problems). Habitual poor posture can contribute to daily aches and discomfort in the workplace and beyond. Whether you work at a desk or have a more manual occupation, your job may expose you to stresses and strains that can cause you pain.

Common causes of strain in the workplace can include

  • Prolonged sitting at a desk
  • Driving long distances
  • Awkward lifting and carrying
  • Overstretching
  • Bending
  • Extended periods of repetitive motion
  • Using a computer without taking breaks

These strains can cause a number of musculoskeletal disorders in the body, including sciatica, carpal tunnel syndrome and tennis elbow.

Furthermore, workplace stress can increase the amount of pain you feel by causing tension and muscle spasms. During an osteopathic consultation you can discuss the impact work may have on your body and agree on an appropriate cause of action that may help. An osteopath may suggest trying different postures and exercises, and discuss workplace ergonomics and lifting techniques.

Osteopaths use a wide range of hands-on techniques, which vary depending on your age, fitness and diagnosis, but often focus on tension, stretching muscles and mobilising your joints.

You do not need to consult your GP before you visit an osteopath, although you may wish to do so. Osteopaths can provide you with a fit note if you do need time from work.

REFERENCES

Health and Safety Executive MSD Report, online at www.hse.gov.uk/Statistics/causdis/musculoskeletal

Office for National Statistics www.ons.gov.uk

Osteopathy And Pregnancy

Osteopaths spend four to five years training to understand the relationship between the body's organs, joints and muscles. Given the unique stresses pregnancy puts upon the body, osteopaths are well suited to diagnosing and helping you with some of the problems you may experience when you're expecting.

Every patient's problems are unique, and your treatment will be specific to your symptoms. Osteopaths use a wide range of hands-on techniques. These will vary depending on your age, fitness and diagnosis, but will focus on bodily tension, stretching muscles and mobilising your joints. You may wish to discuss with your osteopath how many treatments are likely to be necessary, and how frequently you may feel you would benefit from osteopathic treatment. Some new mothers like to return for follow-up osteopathic treatment after being discharged by their obstetrician or midwife. A number of osteopaths are also trained to assess babies; check in advance if you would like to make an appointment for your child. It's quite normal to get some discomfort during and directly after a pregnancy, and whilst usually nothing serious, it's natural to worry about what might be causing your symptoms. Your osteopath will discuss any concerns you have as part of your examination and will advise you on any further action that might be required.

Common pregnancy complaints

Many pregnant women experience back or pelvic pain. Common symptoms may include

  • Generalised muscular back pain
  • Symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD) - pain or discomfort in the joint at the front of the pelvis
  • Sacroiliac Joint pain - occurring in the lower back
  • Sciatica and leg pain associated with back pain
  • Rib and thoracic spinal problems leading to breathlessness and difficulty in deep breathing
  • Neck aches and headaches

Many commonly used medications for these symptoms are often not recommended for a pregnant or breast feeding mother. Osteopathy offers an alternative approach to help you deal with these common conditions.

Babies and Children

Osteopaths believe that mechanical imbalances in different areas of the body may contribute to discomfort and aggravate some of the common conditions that our patients present with.

Treatment is aimed at gently releasing and balancing areas of physical tension in order to return the body to a state of balance, in order to allow the body's own self-healing ability to restore a balanced state of well-being and health. Osteopaths take into consideration all aspects of health and development in their assessment of a baby or child.

Please contact us if you want to discuss whether osteopathy is likely to be able to help your child.


Complementary Health Treatments

Neuro Developmental Therapy

Neuro Developmental Therapy works with children and their families with development, learning, behavioural and social/emotional difficulties. The treatment programme is a non-invasive, drug-free, ‘Neural Stimulation Programme’ that treats the underlying causes of ‘Developmental Delay’ due to ‘Retained Primitive Reflexes’ and therefore enables the child to reach their full potential.

What are Primitive Reflexes?

In the womb and early stages of life, we are equipped with a number of reflexes that not only aid the birthing process, but also serve to ensure the survival and safety of the newborn into early infancy; eg. grasping (to hold objects), rooting (to find nipple) and sucking (to feed), etc. ThesePrimitive Reflexes are instinctive, involuntary reflex movements that require no thought involvement and are directed from the brainstem.

What are Retained Primitive Reflexes?

As learning and development occur and more mature, complex, higher centres of the brain begin to take control of the system, so these early reflexes are no longer needed and must inhibit to allow more sophisticated neurological organisation of the brain to develop. If however these reflexes fail to inhibit they are said to be Retained. This can affect the appropriate function of the central nervous system and therefore a child may display immature patterns of behaviour – lacking appropriate emotional, social and behavioural responses, difficulty in classroom learning and physical balance and co-ordination issues.

What is Developmental Delay?

As a result of these Reflexes being Retained we refer to the collective affect on the system as Developmental Delay – simply, that the child is less developed than is normal for a child of its age.

As the brain develops in stages, beginning with lower levels of function, each developmental stage serves as a foundation for the later more advanced stages. If there is any interruption in these crucial early, foundational stages then this can result in the some areas of the brain maturing late. This can have a significant impact on appropriate function of the brain and affect all aspects of physical, cognitive, behavioural, emotional and social development – and particularly learning.

What is Neuro Developmental Therapy?

Neuro Developmental Therapy uses non-invasive, drug free ‘Neural Stimulation Programmes’ designed to treat the underlying causes of Developmental Delay. It aims to inhibit Retained Primitive Reflexes and stimulate the maturation of the Central Nervous System, therefore encouraging appropriate development and learning skills enabling the child to reach its full potential.

Nutritional Therapy

Nutritional Therapy uses the science of nutrition to support health issues and promote optimal health in children and adults. It is relevant for individuals with health concerns such as digestive issues, inflammatory conditions, blood sugar imbalance, tiredness, low energy, skin conditions, food allergies and intolerances, or those requiring nutritional advice regarding weight management and general healthy eating.

Foot Health Care

For many different reasons a large proportion of the population suffer from some type of foot problem at some time in their life and it is the chiropodist's responsibility not only to treat the condition, whether corn, verruca, in-growing toenail or other foot disorder, but also to give advice and practical help to prevent the condition from recurring.

A foot treatment is usually a pleasurable experience beginning with nail trimming and ending with a massage to foot and leg (subject to there being no medical condition which would make this inadvisable).

Homoeopathy

Classical homoeopathy is the treatment of a patient as a whole person, with a single remedy matched to all of a patients’ symptoms.

Homoeopathic remedies are gentle and prescribed on the basis of giving a remedy in a minute dose that in larger doses creates the same symptoms.

The homoeopathic remedy sparks the bodies own immune system to put back into balance a person’s health.

Constitutional prescribing takes into account a patients’ entire medical history as well as emotional characteristics. Through this method of prescribing and a thorough consultation, homoeopathy can help to treat most conditions, such as, skin complaints, digestive problems, asthma and other respiratory conditions, migraine, menstrual disorders and emotional problems.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a method of using fine needles to stimulate pathways of energy running through the body. This affects a change in the energy balance of the body and works to restore health by stimulating the body's own healing powers. Acupuncturists are trained to recognise disease in its early stages and acupuncture is used as a preventative form of medicine as well as a means to reduce pain and inflammation.

There are twelve main pathways (meridians) of energy and each pathway is associated with a different part of the body. The balance of this energy is felt by examination of the pulse at the wrist and by observing the tongue. It is extremely effective in a wide variety of chronic and acute conditions such as back pain, chest conditions, hypertension, migraine, women's problems as well as many emotional problems.

Chinese herbal medicine

Like the other Chinese medicine disciplines, Chinese Herbal Medicine is based on the principle that good health depends on achieving optimum vitality and balance - a balance described in terms of the polarity of Yin and Yang. Chinese Herbal Medicine has a great deal to offer in supporting that vitality and balance.

Psychotherapy and Hypnotherapy

Psychotherapy is the practical application of psychology. It relieves many of the conditions which are prevalent in modern life today.

Hypnosis and counselling are the "tools" which the psychotherapist uses. By means of these the therapist is able to assist in the exploration of many personal problems to the benefit of the patient. Hypnosis is a very pleasant state of "total" relaxation, free from any adverse side-effects. It can be very beneficial in the treatment of nervous complaints such as stress, anxiety, depression, asthma, smoking, over-eating as well as treatment of many phobias, for example fear of flying and fear of spiders.

Counselling

People decide to try counselling for many different reasons. It might be following a life-changing event such as bereavement, traumatic incident or the breakdown of a relationship. Others choose to come because they are simply not happy with their lives, perhaps suffering from anxiety, depression or low self-esteem.

In a safe and confidential space, clients are offered the chance to talk and be heard, to feel accepted and understood. They work with the counsellor to understand their feelings and emotions more clearly, recognise where the real problems lie and discover what they really want and need. With this self-awareness, the first steps can then be made towards taking back some control and making the changes necessary to face the future more positively.

Alexander Technique

The Alexander Technique addresses the fundamental causes of many medical conditions such as back pain, neck and shoulder tension , breathing disorders, stress related illnesses and general fatigue where misuse and a loss of poise are contributory factors.

A re-education process, the use of the body is re-learnt in terms of posture, muscular tension and everyday movement, encouraging a sense of freedom, poise and well-being.

Advanced Kinesiology

Advanced Kinesiology is a truly holistic approach to health which can be used both as a therapeutic modality and for preventative care. In AK, kinesiological muscle tests and muscle reflex tests are used. The practitioner is able to use these tests to discover imbalances and sub-clinical conditions of the body, and then to find what is needed to correct those imbalances or conditions.

Conditions that can benefit from Advanced Kinesiology include: digestive disorders, chronic fatigue (M.E.), stress (and related disorders), aches and pains in joints or muscles and much more besides.

Western Herbal Medicine

Western Herbal Medicine - the treatment of disease by means of plant remedies - is also known by its European name of phytotherapy. It is the oldest form of medicine.

The qualified herbalist draws on a wealth of accumulated knowledge from past centuries and modern scientific research (which confirms many of these older methods.

Medical Herbalists are trained in the same diagnostic skills as orthodox doctors, but follow a more holistic approach to illness. Herbalists believe that treating or suppressing symptoms will not rid the body of the actual disease. The underlying cause of the problem is sought and when identified it is this that is treated rather than the symptoms alone. Herbal remedies are used to restore balance in the body -enabling it to mobilise its own healing process. Herbalists treat almost any condition that patients might take to a doctor.

Herbal Medicine works by utilising plant remedies with particular affinities for certain organs or body systems. These feed and restore those parts which have become weakened. As the body is strengthened, so is its power and ability to fight off disease. When balance is restored, health is regained.

A first consultation generally takes at least an hour. A case history is taken, and details of any current or previous medication carefully noted. Patients are not discouraged from continuing with their conventional medication. Herbalists are trained in drug-herb interactions and will select appropriate herbs for use alongside any conventional medicine already in place.

A second appointment lasting 30 minutes may follow in a couple of weeks, subsequent ones monthly-depending on the individual herbalist, the patient and the illness.

Herbal prescriptions are unique to each patient's requirements and may consist of tinctures, infusions, juices, powders, tablets, creams or oils. Only whole plant products are used rather than isolated extracts -herbalists believe the combined actions of all the plant's constituents have more enduring effects and are safer. Diet and lifestyle advice is also given.

Qualified herbalists know when a condition is best seen by a doctor or other professional, and in such instance the patient will be referred appropriately.

Massage Therapy

Sports Massage

Sports Massage is the application of massage and stretch techniques to the muscle and connective tissues of the body to enhance athletic performance and maximise the performance of the athlete. Its primary purpose is to ease stiffness and pain in both muscles and joints, increase mobility in muscles and joints, warm muscle and connective tissue prior to exercise and help in removing toxins and lactic acid after a workout.

Swedish Massage

The main goal of Swedish Massage is relaxation. It uses a firm but gentle pressure, gliding strokes to improve circulation, ease muscle aches and tension, and improve flexibility and create relaxation. It involves a sequence of movements working superficially and deeper into the tissue layers.

Deep Tissue Massage

Deep tissue massage is a type of massage therapy that focuses on re-aligning deeper layers of muscles and connective tissue. It is especially helpful for chronically tense and contracted areas such as stiff necks, low back tightness, and sore shoulders. When there is chronic muscle tension or injury, there are usually adhesions (bands of painful, rigid tissue) in muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Adhesions can block circulation and cause pain, limit movement, and cause inflammation. Deep tissue massage works by physically breaking down these adhesions to relieve pain and restore normal movement.