Osteopathy

Osteopathy/Cranial Osteopathy

Free 20 Minute Back Check/Assessment

At Marlborough House our Osteopathy team in Taunton offer all our clients the opportunity to come in and have a free initial back check/assessment to find out exactly how we can help with your pain or discomfort. We have both male and female practitioners should you have a preference and between our team we can offer appointments Monday – Friday. Our aim is to help you to live your life with your body working as well as possible. Call 01823 272227 or email contact@mh-tc.com to book.

What is Osteopathy/Cranial Osteopathy?

Osteopathy is a safe and natural treatment for gentle, effective recovery from injuries and strains including one of the most common complaints – back pain. Osteopaths use a range of gentle and traditional techniques to realign the body. Good health is dependent upon the correct alignment of the spine, head and limbs. Osteopathy can be used to treat health problems and to enhance well-being. It is suitable for all ages.

Cranial Osteopathy uses a highly developed sense of touch to feel subtle changes of tension and tissue quality in the living anatomy of the whole body, and to diagnose areas of strain or dysfunction.

The osteopath is often drawn to areas in the body that have been affected by past events, such as old accidents and injuries. The body may have learned to compensate for a traumatic event or injury and the patient may be unaware that there is anything wrong, but the effects may still be present and relevant to current symptoms. Cranial osteopathy is a gentle, safe and effective approach to treatment of a wide range of problems in the whole body.

What are the Benefits of Osteopathic Treatment?

The vast majority of patients – people just like you – have enjoyed the following benefits:

  • Relief from aches & pains
  • Enjoying relief from back pain
  • Improved general mobility
  • Extra flexibility
  • Improved posture
  • Improved health
  • A happier life
  • Better relationships with family & friends
  • Feel better in themselves
  • Getting back to work quicker
  • Enjoying sports and hobbies
  • No longer have to take painkillers
  • Improved sense of overall wellbeing
  • Better sleep patterns

About the Treatment

Our Osteopaths will take a full history of the presenting complaint and will ask about other areas of dysfunction as well as gathering relevant medical history. The patient will then be asked to perform a range of movements so that the Osteopath can see where the restrictions are located, certain tests may be carried out (i.e. reflexes, blood pressure) in order to help them understand and assess your condition.

They know many different treatment techniques and we will tailor make each treatment for you. These can include; soft tissue massage, joint manipulation, stretching, joint articulation, and gentle cranial manipulation.

As treatment is hands-on they are effectively getting your body to move differently, you may experience some aches, stiffness and feeling a bit “bruised” afterwards. This is completely normal, but if you are concerned, please do not hesitate to call us so that we can reassure you.

Advice may be given to you to support the treatment. Prevention may also be discussed relating to posture and lifestyle.

Back Pain

Back pain is a very common problem, with reports suggesting as many as eight out of ten of us will suffer from it at some point during our lives. Around 5.6 million working days in the UK are lost each year due to back pain, second only to stress.

Back pain can affect anyone at any age,and can often be the result of a sprain or a strain of the structures of the back such as the muscles, ligaments, joints or damage to the discs. Osteoarthritis or wear and tear in the back can also be a reason.

Most of us know that back pain can be painful and inconvenient, but it’s not usually serious and will often resolve on its own within a few weeks. However, many people seek osteopathic treatment to address it quickly and at a time and place of their own choice; and osteopaths are skilled at helping prevent back pain from becoming a chronic, long-term condition.

Headaches

There are several reasons for headaches. Most are not serious and once the cause is established headaches can often be helped by simple changes in lifestyle. One cause can be tension or strain in the muscles and joints of the neck and upper back. 

Treatment from an osteopath may help. Gentle massage to the tight muscles and manipulation to loosen the joints of the neck, thorax and back can relieve the build-up of muscular tension that may lead to headaches. Osteopaths can also advise on exercise and lifestyle changes and offer guidance on simple changes to your posture when at work or driving which may help. 

Sports Injuries

Taking part in sport or keeping fit can be rewarding, improve your health and reduce your risk of serious illnesses such as heart problems, stroke or cancer. It can also help maintain your weight and improve your self-esteem. Adults between the ages of 19 – 64 are advised to do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity per week. This can include activities like brisk walking, cycling or aqua aerobics. It is also recommended to perform exercises to strengthen all the main muscle groups (arms, legs and body) twice a week. Even if you are active regularly, you should also aim to minimise the amount of time you spend 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? Participating in sports too often or too hard may result in an 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 to even get started.

How can Osteopathy help with Sports Injuries
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 quickly resolves 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 advice from an osteopath. Osteopathic care is based on the individual needs of the patient and so varies depending on your age, fitness levels and diagnosis. Osteopaths use a wide range of gentle hands-on techniques that focus on releasing tension, stretching muscles and mobilising joints. These are often used with exercise and helpful advice, together with strapping or taping, all of which are designed to relieve your pain, help you return to your normal activity levels and maintain the best of health. As well as treating your injuries, your osteopath may offer you advice about optimal nutrition or suggest a sport specific diet. 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 more quickly and easily from their injuries. 

How can you help yourself?
• Begin your activity slowly and build up intensity, especially after an injury • Drink plenty of water when you are thirsty, especially if exercising • Exercise regularly, and try to vary the types of exercise you do for all over body fitness • If you believe you have injured a limb, then rest, ice, compression and elevation may help, but seek advice if you are worried • Normal soft tissue healing time can take up to 12 weeks (if no other injuries occur). If you’re worried at all about an injury in the short, medium or long term it is worth seeking further advice

Arthritis

Arthritis is a common condition which causes pain, swelling and inflammation and often stiffness in the joints of the body. 

The two most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis but there are many other types including ankylosing spondylitis, gout, psoriatic arthritis and reactive arthritis. Certain types of arthritis can also affect children. 

The gentle manipulative and massage techniques from osteopaths can help some arthritis sufferers. Treatment is individual, gently moving and stretching an arthritic joint and massaging surrounding muscles and tissues can help ease some of the discomfort. Sometimes an osteopath may work on general mobility of the other joints and muscles in the body to help the mechanics of the body work better. Osteopaths may also give advice on exercises, diet, posture and changes to lifestyle. X-rays, scans or other tests may be required and your osteopath may refer you to your GP for any additional investigations and treatment. 

Neck and Shoulder Pain

Neck pain is common in people of all ages and is often caused by how we use our necks.

Working all day bent over a computer, driving long distances, poor posture while standing or sitting, stress and tiredness are all factors that can cause the muscles in the neck and upper back to become tight and the joints to become stiff which can contribute to ongoing neck pain.

Sometimes a nerve in your neck can become irritated or “trapped” and cause pain in the arm going down into your shoulder or the hand, and may be accompanied by pins and needles and numbness.

Some headaches can be the result of tension or stiffness in the neck and upper back.

Osteoarthritis or age-related wear and tear in the neck can also cause muscular pain from the neck into the shoulder as well as some stiffness in moving the neck.

Shoulder Pain is common and can be caused by a number of conditions. These conditions include:

  • Rotator cuff problem  -  pain in the shoulder or upper arm, particularly when lifting the arm, lying on it or using the sore muscles. It is often the result of repetitive overuse of the arm and shoulder during a sport or activity or the result of a shoulder injury.  Age can also play a part.
  • Acromioclavicular joint pain  -  painful joint on the tip of the shoulder where the collarbone and shoulder blade join
  • Frozen shoulder or adhesive capsulitis  - is the painful and gradual stiffening of the shoulder capsule (the tissue that surrounds your shoulder joint) and the shoulder can often become so stiff and painful that it limits your ability to use your arm in everyday activities.
  • Referred shoulder pain - pain is experienced in an area away from the actual injury or problem e.g. pain in shoulder which is usually referred from the neck or upper back
  • Osteoarthritis – progressive wearing away of the cartilage of the joint leading to the two bones of the joint rubbing together causing pain. Patients who have had previous trauma or shoulder surgery are most likely to develop osteoarthritis in later life. Symptoms include swelling, stiffness, aching and sharp, stabbing pains.
  • Shoulder instability – dislocation or excessive movement of the shoulder joint.

Our Osteopaths will use a wide range of gentle manipulations depending on your age, fitness and diagnosis to reduce muscular tension in the neck and improve movement in the joints of the neck and upper back. They may gently massage the soft tissues or  rhythmically “rock” the joints to release tension and sometimes they may gently manipulate the neck to move the joints and you may hear a “click”

Treatment is different in every individual and sometimes it might involve treating other areas in the back and shoulders as well as the neck.

The Osteopath may offer advice on your posture at work or in the car and give advice on exercise and stretching to help keep your neck and upper back muscles and joints relaxed.

X-rays, scans and other tests are sometimes required to make a diagnosis and your osteopath may refer to your GP or a specialist for any additional investigations or treatment

Elbow Pain

Pain in the elbow is often due to two main conditions – tennis elbow and golfers elbow. 

Tennis elbow causes pain and tenderness around the outside of the elbow joint, whereas golfer’s elbow causes pain around the inner side of the joint. 

Tennis elbow is more common than golfers elbow and both are injuries from repetitive overuse or wear and tear from any hobby, sport or activity not just tennis or golf as the name implies. Sometimes a single injury such as a sudden unexpected tug on the forearm can cause the symptoms. 

Once the pain starts, your normal activities and habits can maintain the problem. 

Pre-existing problems with your neck, wrist or shoulder, that might not be painful in themselves, can make it more likely for you to suffer with tennis or golfers elbow. Most cases ease naturally eventually but many people seek treatment and advice from an osteopath. 

Our Osteopathy team will use a variety of different massage and manipulation techniques to try to ease your symptoms, get to the cause of the problem and get you back to your normal life style. They may gently manipulate the elbow, wrist, neck and upper back joints. 

They may offer you advice on which activities and movements to avoid, advice on specific exercise and advice an appropriate elbow brace support or sports strapping. 

They may suggest you see your GP for advice about pain medication or anti-inflammatories or refer you to them for further investigations. 

Foot and Ankle Pain

Pain can occur in the foot and ankles for a number of reasons. 

The foot and ankle is made up of a number of small bones interconnected by ligaments, muscles and fascia all working together to give the strength, stability and flexibility the foot and ankle needs to function properly.
Common conditions of the foot, ankle and areas which can give rise to pain include: 

Acquired flat foot – when the inner side of the foot or inner arch flattens. The foot may roll over to the inner side (known as over-pronation). It is often apparent if the heels of shoes wear out quickly and unevenly. Over-pronation can damage your ankle joint and achilles tendon (the tendon at the back of your ankle) and can also cause shin pain. Symptoms can include, pain, swelling, change in foot shape and knee pain or swelling. 

Plantar fasciitis –is pain and inflammation in the plantar fascia – the tough fibrous band of tissue that supports the arches of the foot and runs under the small bones from the underside of the heel and sole towards the toes, Often, people who have plantar fasciitis describe it as a sharp pain, most often under the heel or instep of the foot. It tends to be made worse by standing for long periods of time in poor footwear. Sufferers commonly mention that it is worse when standing after being off their feet for a long time, and it can hurt more putting the foot on the floor first thing in the morning. The sole of the foot can occasionally feel a little numb, tingly or swell slightly. In some cases of plantar fasciitis, a small spur of bone can grow where the plantar fascia attaches and pulls on the heel which can cause a sharp pain. 

Achilles pain –The Achilles tendon is formed by the tendon of the two calf muscles, the gastrocnemius and soleus coming together and attaching onto the bone at the back of the heel called the calcaneus) Pain, inflammation or tendonitis in the Achilles can cause pain and tightness in this area. 

Sprained ankle. Typically the result of a sudden twisting or “going over” on the ankle joint and more commonly it is the ligaments on the outside of the ankle that are strained. Typical symptoms are swelling, bruising, pain and instability of the ankle. Sometimes an x-ray is required to rule out any fracture. Rest, ice, elevation and compression are often advisable in the first 24 to 48 hours. 

How can an osteopath help with foot and ankle pain? 

  • Depending on the diagnosis and your age and fitness they can use a variety of gentle massage and manipulative techniques to increase the mobility of the joints and the flexibility of the muscles in the foot. 
  • They will often look at muscles and joints in the lower limb, the knee, hip and lower back and may treat any joint restrictions and muscle tightness we find there. Often improving the movement in the joints of the lower will help the foot and ankle function better. 
  • They may offer specific balancing, strengthening or loosening exercises 
  • They may offer advice on strapping and brace supports, footwear and any lifestyle factors that might be hindering healing. They may refer you to a podiatrist for their opinion and specialist foot supports 
  • X-rays, scans or other tests may be required to make a diagnosis  and they may refer you to your  GP for any additional  investigations and treatment  such as advice on pain killers and anti-inflammatory medications

Hip Pain

There are a number or reasons for hip pain some of which can be helped by visiting an osteopath. 

Pain can come from a tight, strained or overused muscle in the hip or from the joint itself. Pain in the hip can sometimes be the result of an injury, it can be referred from the back or related to the way you move, stand and/or use your hip. 

Pain from osteoarthritis or wear and tear in the hip joint is also common. Osteopaths can’t cure the arthritis and it depends on the severity of the wear and tear but treatment and advice from an osteopath can often help ease the symptoms. Osteopaths can look at the patient as a whole, assess the way the hip moves, strengthen and stretch the muscles, gently massage the hip muscles and stretch the hip joint to reduce tension and improve the mobility of the joint and work on the secondary problems like backache. 

X-rays, scans and other tests are sometimes required to make a diagnosis and your osteopath may refer to your GP or a specialist for any additional investigations or treatment. 

Knee Pain

The knee is the largest joint in the body. It is a major weight-bearing joint and is one of the most frequently injured joints in the human body. 

Knee pain can have a number of different causes and can be painful and debilitating and although some conditions may require surgery many can be helped with the right advice, exercise and treatment. 

The knee joint lies between the femur and tibia and at the front is the patella or kneecap. It is made up of a number of structures including ligaments, muscles, capsule, synovial membrane and two ‘c’ shaped pieces of cartilage which sit between the femur and tibia known as the menisci. 

Damage, strain or sprain to the structures of the knee can give rise to symptoms.  It can be the result of a sudden injury as often seen in sports injuries or by repeatedly placing strain on an area of the knee. Poor alignment of the knee or kneecap and altered joint mechanics in relation to other joints such as the hips and knees are often significant. Osteoarthritis or wear and tear is a common condition that affects the knee. 

Common symptoms in the knee include pain, stiffness, aching, pain, locking, swelling, limping and difficulty fully straightening or bending the knee. 

X-rays, scans and other tests are sometimes required to make a diagnosis and your osteopath may refer to your GP or a specialist for any additional investigations or treatment. 

Women’s Health Osteopathy

Women have many different physical changes to overcome in their lifetimes. For those struggling with the challenges of these changes it is helpful to see a specialist physiotherapist for women’s health. A therapist will be able to assess the level of symptoms, recommend the appropriate treatment plan and therefore reduce the level of discomfort and their overall impact. 

WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT AT A WOMEN’S HEALTH APPOINTMENT? 

Our specialist therapists will carry out a full assessment and examination. Depending on your symptoms this may include examination of your abdominal muscles, pelvis and lumbar spine. Dysfunction in one of these areas can result in dysfunction elsewhere. 

If it is considered necessary an internal examination may also need to be carried out. This is a very important part of the assessment and vital in identifying the level of control of the pelvic floor muscles but also their tone and strength. 

Using finger palpation, the pelvic floor muscles and connective tissue will be assessed for injury or scarring, signs of pelvic organ prolapse, muscle tone, tenderness, sensation and neural sensitivity. Following which the pelvic floor muscle will be tested for strength and endurance. It is important to determine if the left and right, superficial and deep pelvic floor muscles are working together, and if not why not. 

A tailored treatment and exercise programme can be developed for you depending on your symptoms and the outcome of the assessment. The therapist will talk through all the stages with you to allay any fears. 

What treatment can a women’s health osteopath/physiotherapist provide? 

Pelvic floor muscle exercises to help regain normal muscle strength & tone 

Pelvic floor muscle release – internal 

Bladder and bowel control exercises 

Post-natal rehabilitation 

Post-gynaecological surgery rehabilitation 

Massage – C section scar 

Massage – Perineal & scar 

Acupuncture 

Guidance with appropriate lifestyle changes

Pre and Post Natal

A woman’s body will go through several important shifts during pregnancy and our mums come to the practice for all sorts of pregnancy related symptoms! 

Significant postural changes are going to occur as pregnancy progresses, aided by the release of hormones designed to allow ligaments to soften and stretch. This will help mum’s spine accommodate the new shape her back, ribs and pelvis will need to take as her body adapts to the growing “bump”. 

Mostly these changes go well, but some mums experience aches and pains as their spinal curves are changing. We osteopaths are experienced in assessing and offering treatment to help the spine and pelvis accommodate for changes in pregnancy. 

Babies and Young Children

The process of labour and birth is a stressful and demanding experience for both mother and baby. The birth process itself requires a large physical demand from the baby, in order to withstand the number of forces placed upon its body – these include compression of the head and body, as well as rotational and twisting movements as the baby passes through the birth canal. 

Babies are equipped to deal with such forces in the way they are designed – small spaces (fontanelles) in between the bones that make up the skull allow the cranial bones to overlap as the head passes through the birth canal. After birth, the body untwists and the skull remoulds, with many tensions from birth working their own way out over time. 

In some instances, however, these patterns of tension remain within the body and can cause discomfort in the new born. This is sometimes more evident in a child that has required intervention during the birthing process; this can be anything from a forceps assisted delivery to a caesarean section. Occasionally, after an assisted birth, the remoulding process remains incomplete and causes a number of symptoms in a new born, including; poor sleep, problems with feeding or digestion and unsettled behaviour. For example, if the occiput (the bone at the base of the skull) remains compressed or rotated, it can impact on some of the surrounding nerves and create problems with sucking/latching and gastric irritability. Another common problem can be caused by something as simple as muscle tension; the diaphragm is a sheet of muscle below the ribcage; if it is affected by tension created from a fast or difficult birth, it can cause discomfort and also trap wind. 

If these problems are not dealt with, they can sometimes lead to discomfort in later years; symptoms may be expressed as agitation, hyperactivity or sleeplessness in a toddler.  

Cranial osteopathy is a gentle, safe and effective treatment modality used to treat babies and children whereby specific light pressure is applied on an area of the body that requires treatment. This treatment helps to assist the body’s natural ability to reduce stress and tension that is held within it by creating a better blood flow to tired tissues and reducing any inflammation around a joint or problem area. Cranial osteopathy helps to ease the ‘shock’ of birth and allows the nervous system to relax and heal itself.  

FAQ’s

Who can benefit from Osteopathic Treatment?

We treat patients of all ages and lifestyles, from new babies to the elderly, and very sporty as well as sedentary people. We can help during pregnancy and also offer pre- and post-operative treatments. 

What are the benefits of Osteopathy?

Gentle, effective recovery from pain and injury/Improved flexibility/Increased strength/Reduced wear  of joints/ Increased energy levels/Overall wellbeing/Improved digestion/Clearer sinuses and airways/Improved mood/Cope better with stress/Less headaches and migraines. 

How long is a treatment?

We like to allow 45 – 60 minutes for the first treatment and typically 45minutes for follow ups.

How many treatments will I need?

This varies greatly with each patient depending upon how long the condition has been present and other factors such as age, general health and fitness. On average four to five treatments are enough to resolve most complaints.

Can I claim for my treatments on my insurance?

Many health insurance policies cover Osteopathic Treatment, we can issue you with a signed receipt so that you can reclaim the cost if your policy permits.