Hip and knee pains can occur due to injury or for any number of reasons and therefore it is important to always visit your practitioner for diagnosis and advice so that you can obtain the correct treatment for your condition.  However, here is a little self help advice that may just help you relieve some tight tissues that can result in hip and knee dysfunction and pain.

This video demonstrates two stretches that are common culprits for these complaints. (It may appear that the video has been cut short and in a way it has; I shortened it as I was speaking too much with information that may have confused you.) The first stretch is for the Psoas muscle and the second stretch is for the TFL/ITB. The only thing you may like to add to the second stretch, to make it more effective, is to raise the arm toward the ceiling, on the same side that you have the knee in contact with the floor.


The ilio-psoas muscles are one of the major postural muscles; it is the main hip flexor whose origin is the anterior (front) surface of the 12th thoracic to the 5th lumbar vertebrae of the spine and attaching to the lesser trochanter of the femur (thigh bone).

When these muscles are tight/dysfunctional they prohibit you from taking a full stride, altering the movement of lumbar vertebra, this can lead to lower back pain, increased lumbar lordosis or an antalgic stance as well as possible hip/groin pain or, in guys (obviously), testes pain (read this if this is of interest to you).


The tensor fascia latae (TFL) muscle originate from the iliac crest and insert into the iliotibial band (ITB); aiding in hip stabilisation, flexion and abduction. The ITB runs along the lateral or outside aspect of the thigh, to the lateral condyle of the tibia, or bony bit on the outside of the knee; crossing both the hip and knee joints. The TFL is an important stabiliser structure of the lateral part of the knee as the joint flexes and extends and therefore, they can cause a lot of hip and knee problems.

Iliotibial Band Syndrome

Iliotibial Band Syndrome


Soft tissue work – with your prickly ball or jack-knobber or foam roller (READ MORE HERE)- (we carry all of these at the clinic).

Increase flexibility – by doing daily stretches demonstrated in the video at the beginning of this blog.

Strengthening exercises – stretching is not going to do it all. The mentioned muscles may be having to work too hard because they are compensating for other muscles that are not firing properly. A plan of exercises to strengthen these involved muscles is needed. Your practitioner will be able to tell you which muscles are involved. The most commonly involved muscles are weak gluts as well as foot pronation causing incorrect alignment and function. However, please visit your practitioner as she/he will be able to advise you.

Hope you find this helpful.

Written by Anne French, BSc(Hons), MSc Chiropractic, D. C.

 If like me you enjoyed watching the Olympics and marvelled over what the human body is capable of, you’ll be interested to know that the amazing Usain Bolt uses homeopathy for sports injuries. Bolt has used homeopathic remedies since he was 16 years old. When he injured his hamstring in July this year, he withdrew from the Olympic trials. Using homeopathic remedies, Usain was able to heal his hamstring and go on to win numerous Olympic Medals, including his third consecutive gold medal in the 100 metres, just one month after his injury.

Homeopathy re-balances the body so it can repair and heal itself – I love it!

This is an interesting article published in the Daily Mail about a recent homeopathic trial http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-4040/Homeopathy-works.html


Along with Calc Carb, (last month’s remedy) and Lycopodium (which we will look at next month) Sulphur is one of the most frequently prescribed remedies in homeopathy.  The scope of this remedy is almost impossible to detail in this one article as it covers so many areas on the mental, emotional and physical levels. It is likely that we will all benefit from a dose of Sulphur at one time or another in our lives.

A brief outline of the main characteristics of this remedy are: Unhealthy looking skin, tendency to skin diseases, itching skin- scratching pleasurable but results in burning, acne, burning and and itching piles, tendency to sweat easily, body odour, orifices of body red (e.g. lips) burning pains, feet must be placed outside bedclothes to cool, insomnia, tinnitus, mid-morning hunger, large appetite for highly seasoned spicy and fatty foods, liking for sweets, aggravation from milk, diarrhoea – driven from bed in the morning, constipation with large, painful stools, lack of energy (regained quickly at the prospect of pleasurable activity), tendency to become exhausted quickly, tendency to catch cold easily which often goes into the chest.

Sulphur is suited to deep thinking people who can have a nervous yet independent nature. Those around them can see them as lazy or procrastinators, there will be talk ‘about’ doing something, rather than just getting up and doing it.

One of the leading features of someone needing this remedy can be seen in what they wear (or don’t wear!). You know those people who are always warm and will wear shorts and T shirts even in winter while most of us have a million layers on to stay warm! They are likely to be indifferent to their appearance, a button missing or a dinner spill and matching socks is not a priority.

Worse: from cold, from dampness, at the coast, hunger (and have to eat) at 11am.

Better: from warmth, in fresh air.

Written by  Sarah Allenby-Byrne, Homeopath

Homeopathy is relatively straightforward to use for everyday ailments and accidents and positive results can be obtained when selecting the correct remedy.

Each month I will be introducing a remedy that is used in Homeopathy for you to become familiar with and this month we are looking at Calcarea Carbonica better known as Calc Carb.


Calc Carb is one of the polychrest remedies (most commonly prescribed), and ranks with Sulphur and Lycopodium at the head of the antipsorics. These three are in a sense the standards around which the rest are grouped. All three have a very wide range and deep action.

The metallic element calcium is widely found in various compounds in minerals, animals and plants. Calcium salts give us our skeletal framework and the remedy is made from the inner layer of the oyster shell.

Calc Carb can be suited to quiet, shy, sensitive people who are subject to depression;  a feeling of being looked at by everyone and a fear of being laughed at; embarrassment when entering a room full of strangers. The typical Calc Carb patient is responsible and hard-working; they have a strong focus on security and practicalities. In many cases there will be a sense of being overwhelmed by the amount they have to accomplish. This in turn creates anxiety and fear.

Some of the keynote symptoms that may arise when needing a dose of Calc Carb are:

  • excessive appetite
  • overweight
  • disliking milk
  • craving for eggs and sweets
  • may feel generally better when constipated
  • tendency to feel the cold and to catch cold easily
  • cold hands
  • cracked skin in the winter
  • itching skin
  • profuse periods, period pains, premenstrual tension
  • toothache
  • vertigo
  • insomnia with much sweating once asleep

Worse: from cold, in damp weather, at night, from standing
Better: in dry weather, from warmth, while lying on the painful side

Written by Sarah Allenby-Byrne

Lenka, one of our Pilates instructors is offering a free 20 minute pre-class or pre 1-2-1 consultation to discuss your goals and body-related issues. This is a great opportunity to connect with your body and find out how Pilates can help you.

This offer is open to everyone, regardless of whether you are currently in one of our Pilates classes and / or thinking about also benefiting from having future 1-2-1‘s, or are thinking of joining one of our Pilates classes.

If you would like to take advantage of the offer, please call the clinic to book (Saturdays 12:05 – 12:25).

Lenka Sobotkova, Pilates Instructor

Lenka Sobotkova, Pilates Instructor


Pilates aims to strengthen the body, with particular emphasis on core strength to improve general fitness and well-being. Pilate’s exercises are done on a mat (or using special equipment) by emphasising proper breathing, correct spinal and pelvic alignment, and concentration on smooth controlled, flowing movement, you become acutely in tune with your body. You actually learn how to re-train/control your body to move in safer, more efficient patterns of movement which is invaluable for injury recovery, sports performance, good posture and optimal health.

Pilates practise can help improve posture, muscle tone, balance and joint mobility, as well as relieve stress and tension. For elite athletes/dancers, Pilates can complement their training by developing whole body strength and flexibility, and help reduce the risk of injury. There is some evidence that Pilates can provide pain relief to people with non-specific lower back pain.

Written By Anne French

Jenny James, one of our Pilates Instructors, recently did these Pilates videos for us. Which is really handy for me, as I often ask my patients to add these exercises to their daily routines. Thanks Jenny!

Half Roll down – For beginners a half roll down using the wall is a safe and affective way to mobilise the upper spine. It helps to release tension in the shoulders and the neck. It also teaches you to use the ribs to help segmentally control the spine.

Full Roll Down – The full roll down opens up the lower back as well as the upper spine. It creates space in-between the vertebrae lengthening the whole spine giving you segmental control and releasing tension in the lower back.

Jenny is starting a New Beginners Class on a Wednesday evening at 6pm. She also has available times for 1-2-1’s if you would like a more personalised approach.

Class schedule

  • Wednesday – 6pm – Beginners 
  • Saturday – 9am – Improvers
  • Saturday – 10am – Beginners

1 – 2 – 1 schedule

  • Wednesday – 7pm
  • Saturday – 11am
  • Sunday – 9am 

Call the clinic on 01273 321133 to book your place.

It’s salt awareness week – a chance to remember to check the labels on foods and to be mindful about your salt intake.

It really is so important to focus on how much salt you’re taking in daily. Too much salt in the body means that your body must increase its fluid content and thus blood pressure is forced to rise leading to hypertension (high blood pressure) as well as other problems such as, including kidney and gall bladder stones, arthritis, gout and even cellulite.

However, we do need salt as much as we need water. Every cell structure in our bodies is controlled by salt (and water) and both are vital for the entry and exit of nutrients from the cells. Our nervous system responses could not happen without salt and it’s also necessary for supporting the function of the adrenal glands, responsible for producing vital hormones.

But in the western world, salt is now added to nearly every food we consume including salad dressings, cheese, fizzy drinks, tins of food and junk food, even your breakfast cereal.

Awareness is key though and there are many alternatives to enhancing flavor and taste in cooking that are healthier, smarter options. Why not give these a try:

Himalayan Pink Salt – You may have already come across this as we carry it at the clinic – Himalayan Pink salt is a delightful pale pink colour and perhaps the purest salt available; it’s hand-mined from very old pollution-free marine deposits. It contains an array of minerals and trace elements that confer many health benefits such as promoting good digestion and balancing blood sugar. It also helps to balance the pH levels in our bodies and keep us more alkalised (the optimal state for our bodies to be in, rather than too acidic which can cause issues in the body).

Pick yours up when you're next in for treatment.

Pick yours up when you’re next in for treatment.

Tamari – Tamari is naturally fermented (good for our digestion) and a gluten-free version of soy sauce with a mellow, malty flavour. It’s a delicious addition to stir-fries; you can also add a splash to sunflower/pumpkin seeds to make a delicious snack. You can also whisk it into salad dressings with apple cider vinegar and lemon juice.

Lemons – Sometimes a squeeze of fresh lemon is all your food needs to get that tartness to a dish. It’s a great alkaliser for the body and may be a useful salt substitute to try.

Hatch Miso – Miso is a traditional Japanese staple food and seasoning. Hatcho is a very intense Japanese miso and is dark in colour. As a fermented food it is very beneficial for the bacteria in our stomachs. You can add it to salad dressings as well as any Asian dishes or add a spoonful into soups/stews for a really rich taste.

Umeboshi Puree – Umeboshi is a cheek-sucking tart puree made from pickled plums. It’s really delicious added to dressings, or with fish and any hot dish. Again, it packs a distinct flavoursome punch. It stimulates digestion and help with the elimination of toxins.

DillFresh dill adds pep to salad dressings and fish dishes; delicate and wispy with a fern-like appearance, it has a sweet taste. It has anti-bacterial properties similar to Garlic.

Cayenne  Cayenne comes from the Capsicum family (which includes peppers) and has been used in traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicines to help treat circulatory problems and increase appetite. Capsaicin is being studied as an effective treatment for sensory nerve fibre disorders, including pain associated with arthritis, psoriasis, and diabetic neuropathy.It adds zest and spice to most dishes.

Other herbs and spicesQuite often, the addition of fresh herbs can transform a dish and negate the need for added salt. Try basil, cumin, garlic, oregano, rosemary and thyme.

Ultimately, making home-made food is the only way to really control how much salt you are taking in, so if it is not home-made, be aware, check the label and then make your decision. And remember, as with everything, moderation is key.

Article by Daniela Barbaglia – Dip NT mBANT – Nutritional Therapist

If you’re interested in a Nutritional consultation, please contact me so we can have an initial informal chat.


It’s Time to End the War on Salt, Scientific American, July 8, 2011: Melinda Wenner Moyer.

The Long Term Effects of Advice to Cut Down on Salt in Food on Deaths, Cardiovascular Disease, and Blood Pressure in Adults, Cochrane Summaries, January 21, 2009: L. Hooper, et al.

Paleolithic Nutrition – A Consideration of Its Nature and Current Implications, New England Journal of Medicine, January 31, 1985: 312; 283-289, S. Boyd Eaton, M.D. and Melvin Konner, Ph.D.

The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods, Michael Murray, N.D. & Joseph Pizzorno, N.D. with Lara Pizzorno, M.A., L.M.T.

Article by Daniela Barbaglia – Dip NT mBANT – Nutritional Therapist

If you’re interested in a Nutritional consultation, please contact me so we can have an initial informal chat.

If you’re looking to make some positive nutritional changes in 2016, these are some of my favourite must-have items that I hope will inspire you. Try some or all of these to add a nutritional punch to drinks, snacks or meals. Enjoy experimenting!

  1. Matcha green tea

This dazzling emerald-green powder contains around fifteen times the amount of antioxidant levels than normal green tea. Quality really does count here. I love Clearspring Japanese Organic Matcha Green Tea Powder. Just whisk a teaspoon of this potent powder to hot water and enjoy. You can also sprinkle it into smoothies.

 It should increase your energy levels; it’s also known to fire up your metabolism due to a specific set of compounds called catechins which can help fat burning and also have a calming effect.

Matcha Green tea also has a positive effect on cholesterol levels and provides impressive quantities of Potassium, Vitamins A and C, iron, protein and calcium. Japanese Zen Buddhist monks drink Matcha to relax and meditate with a level of alertness, thanks to the amino acid L-Theanine contained in the leaves used to make Matcha. L-Theanine promotes the production of alpha waves in the brain which induces relaxation without causing drowsiness.

  1. Apple cider vinegar with ‘Mother’

The cloudier (organic) version of apple cider vinegar is due to the ‘mother’ – a blend of proteins, enzymes and beneficial bacteria. Rich in acetic acid, it helps to lower blood sugar levels and aids better digestion by increasing digestive enzymes, which break down food more effectively.

Try a couple of teaspoons in a little water and sip just before you eat your main meal. It’s also great for sore throats and you can try inhaling with a few drops in hot water to help soothe sinus infections.

  1. Coconut oil

Coconut oil has been used for centuries by ancient civilisations due to its health properties. It’s the most stable oil

Grab yours when you are in the clinic!

Grab yours when you are in the clinic!

to cook with because coconut oil can be heated to high temperatures without breaking down – and therefore doesn’t release harmful carcinogens that many other oils produce when heated.

High in health boosting fatty acids, coconut oil is incredibly versatile – you can cook with it, add it to sweet healthful treats, or dollop a spoonful into a smoothie. It’s also wonderfully healing and nourishing on dry skin or dry hair; it’s effective on many types of odd skin rashes that might flare up.

Coconut oil contains lauric acid which is converted to monolaurin which has antibacterial properties, making it ideal for oil pulling (an Ayurvedic remedy to naturally improve oral hygiene by swishing and ‘pulling’ oil around the teeth and gums). Coconut oil contains high amounts of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) which are immediately converted to energy and boost metabolism.

  1. Eggs

Eggs are not just protein-packed but also contain a wealth of vitamins, minerals and essential fats. They’re a great source of B12 (helping to produce healthy red-blood cells to carry oxygen around the body and regulate energy metabolism) and are one of the few natural dietary sources of vitamin D, which helps support immunity and bone health. Eggs are also a mood-boosting food as they contain choline, which plays an important role in the function of dopamine and serotonin (our ‘happy hormones’). Poached eggs with a handful of wilted spinach is a quick and delicious way to start the day.

  1. Turmeric

Turmeric comes from the root of the Curcuma longa plant and has a tough brown skin and a deep orange flesh.  It has long been used as a powerful anti-inflammatory in both Chinese and Indian medicine. It provides potent anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal properties.  Studies show that this powerful spice may help may protect against cancer cell growth and the management of inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, asthma, eczema and inflammatory bowel disease. It is a nutritional powerhouse, rich in manganese, zinc, B group vitamins and iron.

You can add a teaspoon into a hot mug of lemon, ginger and honey to ward off colds; or it can be used in soups, smoothies, dips and of course, curries.

  1. Chia seeds

These nutrient-packed super seeds are versatile and easy to use but the best way to use them is to soak them in some water first. Chia seeds are hydrophilic, meaning they readily absorb water; this helps them to ‘swell’ and creates a jelly-like consistency. Consuming chia seeds in their dry, unsoaked state, can cause bloating and stomach ache in some people. So, soak your chia seeds first and then add them to your morning porridge/granola or add them to a green juice or into soups.

Why are they so great? They have high levels of omega 3 fats (vital for the immune system, skin, brain, heart and can help to reduce inflammation in the body); they provide a good source of fibre (essential for digestion, efficient toxin elimination and for lowering cholesterol) and they also contain high amounts of protein as well as an impressive amount of calcium.

  1. Almond nut butter

Look for nut butters with no added oils, sugar or stabilisers. Nut butters are packed with protein that keeps your body sustained for hours.  They are also rich in antioxidants and minerals that include Vitamin E, magnesium, potassium, niacin and folate.

You could have a go at making your own delicious pimped-up nut butter. All you need is a high speed blender, 1 cup (250 g) organic almond butter, 1 tablespoon of good quality honey or maple syrup and 1 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste. Whoosh it all up in the blender and try not to eat it off the spoon in one go!

  1. Manuka honey

Honey is still a sweetener and should therefore be consumed in moderation. However, good quality Manuka honey UMF 15+ has antiviral and antibacterial qualities that are invaluable during the cold season.  You can add it as natural sweetener to home-made banana bread, add it to hot drinks and spread a little on some rye or buckwheat bread.

  1. Lemons

Antiviral, rich in Vitamin C and surprisingly alkalising – I always have lemons in my kitchen and love them. Vitamin C is needed for tissue growth and repair, adrenal gland function, immune system support, iron absorption and stomach acid activation. In addition, lemon stimulates the release of bile and digestive enzymes to help cleanse the body.

Add the juice of half a lemon to warm water in the mornings; add it to a fresh morning green juice for some extra zing or take a little raw if you are fighting a cold. Lemons also bring out the flavour in food, so they’re great for people trying to reduce salt intake – simply use a little less salt and a little more juice.

Ensure you opt for unwaxed lemons; although these cost more, the ‘waxed’ lemons contain nasty chemicals, akin to ‘shellac’ – yes, the coated nail polish used to achieve glossy painted fingernails!

  1. Ginger

Anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory warming and full of flavour, ginger can be chopped, grated, sliced and juiced into almost anything for a spicy immunity boost. It gives pep to a morning green juice and is delicious sliced into a speedy stir-fry or slowly cooked with other aromatic spices in curries. This gut friendly spice stimulates digestion, gut motility and bowel function, and can help to relieve bloating, cramping and nausea.

Ok, so I actually have a longer list than a top 10 nutritional favourites but I couldn’t end without a couple of other mentions!

  1. Avocados

One of my all-time favourite foods because they provide a great source of B5, which is important for managing stress and many other biological functions in the body. They’re also a good source of antioxidants such as glutathione, vitamin E and vitamin C, which help protect from toxins in the environment.

Due to its beneficial fat content, avocado enables your body to more efficiently absorb fat-soluble nutrients (including alpha- and beta-carotene and lutein found in brightly coloured vegetables).

And they contain N-acetyl cysteine, an important nutrient for raising your energy levels. Smashed on buckwheat toast with a pinch of Himalayan salt and a squeeze of lime, these delicious nutrient powerhouses will provide a guaranteed morning or mid afternoon energy boost.

  1. Buckwheat

Buckwheat is actually not a grain but a seed (related to rhubarb) that is completely wheat-free. It has a wonderful nutty flavour and is gluten-free, low GI and high in amino acids, soluble fibre (promotes healthy bowel movements) and essential minerals iron, manganese, magnesium, zinc and copper. It is also bursting with B-vitamins.

Buckwheat is also rich in anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant polyphenols like rutin, which can help to reduce blood pressure. It also contains the amino acid tryptophan which helps to make serotonin – one of the feel good hormone mentioned earlier, responsible for feelings of wellbeing.

It’s a complex carbohydrate meaning that it releases its energy slowly so it’s a good choice for maintaining blood sugar levels. As well as being nutritionally beneficial, it’s very versatile and can be used in porridge, salads and risottos. It’s also an ideal flour for baking delicious treats with. It’s becoming a popular choice if you’re seeking a gluten and wheat-free alternative to starchy grains.


Article: Daniela Barbaglia – registered nutritional therapist Dip NT Mbant CNHC


  1. BAULCH P. (2006) Hypothyroidism. In: BAULCH, P. (2006) Prescription for healing. 4th Avery Press.
  2. Nutra- Donnelly, Stephen: Green tea http://www.nutraingredients-usa.com/Research/Green-tea-may-influence-brain-function-boost-working-memory-Study
  3. HOLFORD P (2004) The New Optimum Nutrition Bible. 2nd Piatkus Books.
  4. LIEBERMAN, S (2003) The Real Vitamin and Mineral Book. 3rd Avery Press.
  5. NORMAN A, LITWACK G (1997). Hormones. 2nd Academic press

At the first symptoms of a cold

Many of you are coming in complaining of an irritating cold and cough. It is that time of year…Common-Cold

Here are some very simple cold recommendations, that HAVE worked for me.

Very recently, I awoke with all the symptoms of a cold coming on, sore throat, voice breaking, nasty sinus congestion. It was really important that I could use my voice that evening so I needed to give my body a helping hand if I could. The 2 main things I did:

  • I didn’t eat solid food – It takes effort for your body to breakdown food and I didn’t want my body (immune system) distracted from eliminating the foreign invader. Vegetable juice or warm broth would be fine.
  • I drank copious amounts of lemon & ginger tea (here’s ‘how to’)
  • Salt water gargle(i)

I was amazed as by the evening I had none of the symptoms I was suffering from in the morning. Give it a go – it worked really well for me.

Cough syrup recipe

Cough syrups are full of sugar (which lower your immune system) plus, they don’t appear to do the job. Here is a recipe for a natural cough syrup; a combination of products that reduce inflammation, and respiratory infections. I haven’t suffered from a cough for many years so can’t verify the effectiveness of the cough syrup recipe but I can state that if I was suffering – this is definitely something that I would try.


  • 1 cup fresh pineapple (core included as has highest content of Bromelain(ii)
  • fresh ginger(iii) – large chunk, at least 3 inches
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp raw honey (manuka would be great!)

Just chuck all the ingredients into a blender and blend.

Take 1/4 cup 2-3 times per day.

Keep in the fridge.

Adjust cayenne pepper to taste, if needed.

Let me know how you get on with this.

For more in depth advice on how to Stay Healthy and Happy through the Winter.

Note: If coughing persists, please visit your GP.

Written by Anne French

(i) Salt water gargle, does it work? http://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/features/does-gargling-wlth-salt-water-ease-a-sore-throat

(ii) Short-term Treatment of Painful osteoarthritis of the Knee With Oral Enyzmes. http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/406154

(iii) Ginger uses. http://reference.medscape.com/drug/african-ginger-black-ginger-344468#2

This has been one of my staple daily inclusions since October last year. Apart from it being a really good anti-inflammatory and immune boosting tea it also tastes delicious!

I do recommend it to patients quite a lot so forgive me if you have heard this all before but I thought I would mention it here as many people ask me how to make it. It’s simple.


  • fresh lemon chunk (to taste)
  • fresh ginger (to taste) thinly sliced
  • raw honey (optional)

Squeeze the lemon into a mug. Add the thinly sliced ginger (increased surface area contact with water) or a chunk if you can’t be bothered to slice. Then fill the mug with boiling water. Voila lemon and ginger tea!

You can add honey if you wish. I often add some turmeric (many good properties) to it.

This tea is also nice chilled in the summer.

I usually have a mug of this tea on the go and just top up the ingredients as needed during the day. I always top it up with boiling water before I go to bed so that I can drink it first thing in the morning.

Written by Anne French

The practice of osteopathy was first coined by Andrew Taylor Still in the United States in 1874 with the arrival of the first osteopathic school in the UK in 1917. The concept of treatment was based around a non-invasive and medicine free type of manual therapy that would focus on the body as a whole and try to address strain patterns and mechanical dysfunctions. The efficacy of Osteopathic treatment was finally accepted in to mainstream health care in the UK in 1993 with the formation of the General Osteopathic Council. Since then, many osteopaths have had great success with treating all types of musculoskeletal presentations that cause discomfort on a day to day basis. However, osteopathy can also be used to help prevent some of these types of complaints before they ever happen which may result in less treatment being needed in the long run and saving you some money at the same time!

The human body is a constantly adapting and re-structuring entity that will change to suit the everyday needs of the individual which in many circumstances cause a person to adopt a distinct strain pattern to an affected area. For example, for someone who works at a desk full time there may be aches and stiffness in the neck and shoulders or for people that work manually with lots of lifting involved there can be times of aching low backs and tightness in the surrounding muscles. A paper published by the Health and Safety Executive on sick day statistics found that 553,000 days were lost due to Work-related musculoskeletal disorders in the UK in 2015. This alarmingly high number accounted for approximately 44% of all sick days lost last year and that’s just the cases that were recorded.

So with these statistics in mind, why wait for these types of symptoms to turn in to painful and sometimes quite debilitating presentations before going to see someone? One of the underlying principles behind osteopathy is that “the body has within all the mechanisms needed to heal itself”. This being the case, osteopathic treatment is aimed at returning problematic areas of the muscular and skeletal system back to an optimum position to give the body it’s best chance of being able to heal itself and relieve pain. However, what most people don’t understand is that pain is in fact one of the last indicators or symptoms experienced by an individual with an ailment or structural impairment.

In otherwise healthy people with little or no pain, osteopathic treatment can be used to help maintain a healthy range of motion through most, if not all the joints in the human body, keeping them supple and well lubricated with the body’s natural synovial joint fluids. It can help to relive tension areas and ‘knotted’ muscles which occur as a consequence of day to day over use, thus keeping muscles feeling healthy and vibrant and not hardened and tough. It can be used to influence and enhance the exchange of fluids and arterial blood flow which can, in turn, optimise the delivery of nutrition carried in the blood around the body and also enhance the body’s capacity to dispose of metabolic waste from cells which can be processed within a system called the lymphatic system which helps to cleanse the body. But perhaps the most important aspect of osteopathic treatment is the diagnostic stage.

A very important goal of osteopathy is not to find the problem; it’s to find the reason behind it. When diagnosing a patient, the osteopath will take in to account many factors that they feel may be contributing to this area of pain. It is for this reason that an osteopath has at their disposal a very holistic outlook to the human body trying to encompass all of the contributing factors to the reason behind an area of dysfunction. The same rule applies for people who are not in pain. A practitioner could look at a patient who was not experiencing any pain and spot a strain pattern emerging from their occupation or hobbies’ and treat that area before it ever becomes painful.

This also goes for people playing sports or who are into their fitness and gym training. All of these active past times will put the body under a certain amount of stress which will start to enforce changes to the body’s morphology. A visit to the osteopath could not only try to correct that before it becomes a problem but it could, through the treatment of restricted areas actually enhance performance by allowing that extra aspect of rotation through the spine during that golf swing at tea off, or the extra 5kgs on a one rep max in the gym due to the muscles being in a more optimal bodily position allowing you to perform to your maximum potential.

So is osteopathy only for people in pain, certainly not! If you’re concerned about keeping and maintaining a healthy body in order to stay in work, or you’d like to enhance your performance and prevent sporting injuries, book in with your local osteopath for the human equivalent of an ‘M.O.T.’ and see if you can stay in tip top shape no matter your chosen walk of life.

Written by Wayne Beck, Osteopath.


HSE, (2015). Work-related Musculoskeletal Disorder (WRMSDs) Statistics, Great Britain, 2015 [online] http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/causdis/musculoskeletal/msd.pdf [access date 23/01/2016]

Parsons, J, Marcer, N. (2006). Osteopathy models for diagnosis, treatment and practice. UK, Churchill Livingstone, p9-11

Taylor Still. A (1874). [online] http://cdm.sos.mo.gov/cdm4/document.php?CISOROOT=/atsu&CISOPTR=693&REC=1 [access date 24/01/2016]

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