Pregnancy represents enormous physical, hormonal and emotional change. Whilst these kinds of changes happen in all of our lives, very rarely do they happen over such a short space of time and so rapidly. Osteopathy helps by dealing with any factors that might impede or impact these important changes. I have researched the effect stress can have on pregnancy and on the foetus. It is important to be mindful that all aspects of our being must aspire to remain healthy and balanced, not just our musculoskeletal system. If a woman is stressed she will produced increased amounts of the hormone cortisol. Cortisol is harmful to our own immune system and studies show that it increases wound healing time. This means any muscle strain during pregnancy could take longer to heal when we need to be at our strongest to keep up with the amount of change occurring in the body. Exposure to excess Cortisol in utero has also shown to effect developmental outcomes and growth patterns in babies. Just one way Osteopathy can help a woman during pregnancy is to down regulate stress responses and allow the body’s full capacity of change to take place. The better prepared the body is for labour the less likely any medical intervention will be needed and the more settled the newborn.
As we all know, prevention is better than cure. Early correction in a child’s life, whether it be the result of birth strain, poor posture due to shyness at primary school level or even puberty, is easier to correct. Children’s capacity for change, recovery and development is incredible, this is why paediatric osteopathy is often so effective for a range of paediatric conditions. Instead of reeling off a list of conditions osteopathy can help your child with, I suggest reading on so you can get an understanding of how exactly I can help and what I do….
The birth of a baby is one of the most stressful events of its life. The baby is subjected to enormous forces as the uterus and powerful muscle groups contract to twist and squeeze the infant through the bony pelvic outlets. A baby’s skull has the ability to change shape at birth because plates in the skull are not yet fused. Usually, any distortions self correct after birth but with the use of tools during labour such as forceps and ventouse, forces are stronger than the natural ones the baby’s body is designed for. If these birth stresses are left unresolved they can quite simply put, be uncomfortable for the baby. Babies can also suffer from sore necks and headaches! Which is why sometimes they cry and cannot be consoled. Correcting birth strains cranially can prevent the entire body developing in a distorted asymmetric way.
We all know about the importance of our posture and the effect long term poor posture and desk based work can have on us. Sore necks, shoulders, lower backs… but why can the pain associated with this be so preoccupying?
It's because it is not as simple as just having bad posture. The effects stress, or worse, long term stress have on our body are far more powerful and actually increases likelihood of muscular weakness and pain which can then result in poor posture. Have you ever noticed in times of stress you hunch your shoulders or roll them forwards? This is just the beginning of a chain of musculoskeletal changes that inhibit good breathing function. Decreased breathing capacity leads to decreased oxygen and decreased carbon dioxide, both of which are vital for bodily functions. By definition, postural related muscle pain is when blood cannot perfuse (enter) a hypertonic (tight or contracted) muscle and microtrauma occurs. Blood carries oxygen and the less oxygen saturation in our blood the poorer the muscle health…so it can end up being a cycle of pain followed by altered posture which aggravates the pain and muscle contraction further… I look at these cycles and identify how to break them by working on different parts of the body suffering from the effects of long term stress and poor posture. Often it involves working with an individual on their breathing mechanics and lifestyles, as well as directly on to the painful muscles and joints.
Of course, there are endless reasons for why an individual might have back pain and the above is just one of the more common ones. I clinically examine all my patients and never generalise or assume a diagnosis. Each individuals situation, lifestyle, past history and present are very different, no one body will be the same.
Although relatively small in stature myself, I have treated everyone from 21 stone rugby players to marshal art professionals and future eventing stars training at Tallands School of Equitation. Being an effective osteopath for sports professionals does not require the practitioner themselves to be Jona Lomu in stature and physique, it requires knowledge of the sport an individual is practising and an intimate understanding of human anatomy. I do not believe in blindly manipulating every joint in a patient’s body and hoping one of them ‘does the trick’. I access every patient I see and identify the problem causing area and the impact that may be having on other parts of the body. A keen runner, cyclist and rider I exercise everyday and understand that with sports men and women, concern over injury is usually less to do with pain and more the anxiety of not being able to practise the sport you love and is a part of your life. My primary goal will always be to rehabilitate the sports man or woman back to their physical peak as quickly, safely and effectively as possible working with other healthcare professionals if needs be.