Back pain

Back pain and how to relieve the back pain is what most of us think whenever an osteopath is mentioned in daily life. This is what we are trained to alleviate through clinical observation, examination and treatment. We diagnose the particular structure that is giving the pain. The pain may arise in the vertebrae (bone) itself, in the spine, or in a muscle or ligament, or in a joint. These pains may, for example, ultimately result in osteoporosis, repetitive strain injury (RSI) and nerve root irritation.

Joint pain

Joint pain may arise from within the joint itself through deterioration of the articular cartilage, for example Osteoarthritis (see below for further information on this condition) or from a nerve supplying the joint, for example nerve irritation.

Ligament and muscle strains

Muscle strains may arise through overuse of the muscles, for example, in extended activities, bad postures or sports. Repetitive strain injuries are now more common with widespread use of computers. Ligament strains or injuries often arise after an accident, for example, turning an ankle. The blood supply is relatively poor here and therefore healing will take longer.

Use of hydrotherapy, i.e. the applications of hot and cold water compresses to the affected site, alongside osteopathic treatment can reduce the healing time.


Arthritis can be a very debilitating condition and osteopathy may offer a very welcome relief from painful symptoms. Arthritis is divided into two main types:

  1. Rheumatoid Arthritis (or inflammatory arthritis)
  2. Osteoarthritis (or degenerative arthritis) Rheumatoid Arthritis is a systemic, inflammatory disease which can affect several of the (usually) smaller joints of the body. Women may be affected greater than men in a 3:1 ratio. The course of the disease is variable with remissions and exacerbations. Rheumatoid Arthritis can be barely discernible with very mild signs and symptoms to progress to a severe and destructive disease. Many patients suffer fatigue, weight loss, weakness, and vague musculoskeletal discomfort. Diseased joints are often warm, swollen, and painful. Pain is usually worse in the morning, that is, after the inactivity of sleeping. Typically, over the years, the disease may wax and wane, and essentially there is an inflammation of the synovial membrane. Using many gentle mobilising techniques, osteopaths can ease the pressure and give relief from the suffering and pain.

Osteoarthritis is essentially a degeneration of the articular cartilage of the joint. This is usually a slowly (but sometimes rapidly) progressive disorder, from middle age to late life, affecting the large weight-bearing joints of the body.

Patients suffer pain, deformity, limited movement, and loss of function. As the disease progresses the ends of the bones are subject to remodelling, giving formation of osteophytes and bone cysts. Often, in Osteoarthritis, the involved joints are enlarged and tender. There is a deep, achy joint pain that is initiated by activity, and is relieved by rest. Again, osteopathy can be used to treat Osteoarthritis by working on the surrounding tissues and joints.

Also, we work distant to the site of pain to relieve the pressure on the weight-bearing joints and to build up the resistance of the body.


Osteopathy is seen by many as the treatment of choice for several conditions, and nowhere is this more the case than in pregnancy. Through the stages of pregnancy, mothers go through physical and physiological changes with resultant stretching of tissues and alterations to posture. Osteopaths can treat and relieve the discomfort that may occur through these significant changes.

Treatment is gentle and safe, and is normally given until the start of the third trimester.


Treatments on the head and face can improve the flow of fluids and hence help headaches.

Jaw problems (TMJ)

After accidents, or an extended visit to the dentist, TMJ or Temporomandibular Joint problems can arise. By specific osteopathic techniques on and around the maxillae and mandible(jaw) these problems can be alleviated.

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