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Looking after your Mental Health

Mental health… we’ve all got it, and it can fluctuate between being good and bad.

I suspect there are very few people out there that can claim to have had a great 2020, and as an osteopath I believe that physical and mental health are inextricably linked. 

So here are just a few simple tips that might help you look after yours:

1) Be in the present… most things we worry about have either happened in the past or are a construct of our imagination and will probably never happen. How many times have you worried about something that never actually happened?

2) Try to get good sleep… routine is important, try to relax and wind down as well as avoiding stimulants like coffee and tea. Avoiding phone and computer screens might help too, as well as making sure your bedroom is both dark and quiet.

3) Connect with others… Covid has made this one difficult this year but, spending quality time with friends or family and talking to someone about how you feel can improve your mental health and wellbeing. Finding ways to help other people can also stop you feeling lonely and improve your mood. This can be done online, by phone or (when possible...) seeing someone in person!

4) Live a healthy life… Being active, enjoying the outdoors and having a healthy, balanced diet all impact how we feel. Also, binning bad habits like smoking, and cutting down on alcohol and caffeine can have a positive effect on our mood.

5) Reframe unhelpful thoughtsThe way we think, feel and behave are linked. Sometimes we develop patterns of thoughts or behaviours that are unhelpful so recognising them, and taking steps to think about things differently, can improve your mental health and wellbeing. 

There is a growing body of evidence that what experts call “psycho-social factors” are one of the most reliable “indicators" for people that suffer long term back and neck pain. Put simply, there seems to be a correlation between stress and pain!!

Please look after your mental health and always try to remember to be kind, because none of us know what anyone else is going through.

If you need us, we are currently able to stay open throughout any tier/lockdown system because we are a “covid-secure” practice and classified as allied healthcare professionals. If you need to see an osteopath, give us a call at the Bexleyheath Osteopathic Practice on 02082987122.

We have male and female osteopaths available to help you, and hope to welcome you soon!!


Coronavirus Lockdown/Restrictions Update

As Allied Healthcare Professionals (AHP) we are able to remain open, even during a full lockdown. The reason for this is that we already have in place very stringent infection control protocols (click here for more details) and wear all of the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) set out in government guidelines. 

Both Chris and Alix, as registered osteopaths, are considered key workers. In addition to this, it has been confirmed that patients are permitted to travel to an osteopathic or medical appointment even during a lockdown.

We are remaining vigilant and screening people for coronavirus symptoms before they attend, and maintaining the very highest standards possible to help protect everyone. We are asking that patients wear a face covering when they visit, and inform us if they feel at all unwell.

It is hoped that by supporting and treating local people with musculoskeletal conditions, we can in some small way, help reduce the burden on our already overstretched National Health Service (NHS) during these unprecedented times.


Remember to wash your hands regularly, wear a mask and observe the 2 metre social distancing rule whenever possible to help control the spread of the virus- "Hands, Face, Space"


Please call us on 02082987122 if you need to book an appointment, we are open for business as usual!!


Stay safe everyone.


Coronavirus Update

We just wanted to write a small piece to tell people how things have changed, and what we are doing in order to make the Bexleyheath Osteopathic Practice “COVID-secure".

When the country went into lockdown at the end of March 2020 we closed our doors, not because legally we had to, but ethically we felt it was the right thing to do. We didn’t want to source Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that the NHS needed so desperately, and we wanted to do our bit to protect the public.

Now as we are starting to understand the virus a little better we are back open with a “new normal”, so I just wanted to outline a couple of things you might notice when you come in for your osteopathic appointment.

We are currently spacing bookings to avoid any patient crossover and to allow us time to clean thoroughly the treatment table and surfaces as well as any other potential contact points (like door handles). Patients should wait outside the building until called in by the osteopath. This gives us time to be ready, and ensure contact with others is kept to a minimum. We are airing the room regularly to reduce the “viral load”.

We are asking patients (if at all possible…) to avoid using the toilet, so as to reduce the potential for contamination. Please consider this before you visit!

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)- We are using facemasks (and ask that patients wear one too!), the osteopath will also be wearing an apron, gloves and possibly protective glasses. This will ensure that we are all as safe as possible. We continue to meticulously hand wash (obviously...), and also have sanitiser available, for regular use by everyone.

Patients are being screened for coronavirus before they attend via a phone call. We check they are not suffering from a persistent cough, fever or loss of smell/taste. We reserve the right to refuse treatment if there is any doubt about their health.

We have had to remove all of the towels and linen as they present a potential for infection, which leaves us with a wipeable table and pillows to help us clean thoroughly between sessions.

Regular Rapid Lateral Flow testing also helps us to be more confident that we are not asymptomatic carriers and are therefore safe to work.

We continue to attempt to make you as comfortable as possible during your osteopathic treatment, but we are sure that eveyone will understand that we need to maintain the most rigorous infection control protocols at this time.

The Bexleyheath Osteopathic Practice is committed to monitoring and following all current guidelines and government advice related to coronavirus to keep our patients, our osteopaths, and the community at large as safe as possible.

We look forward to welcoming you back soon. 

Please call us on 02082987122 if you need to book an appointment.

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GDPR- Your privacy is (..and always has been!) really important to us!!

As you probably know by now on the 25th May 2018 new regulation is coming into practise that will govern how all organisations (including the Bexleyheath Osteopathic Practice) manage, store and use your personal data.

We thought, in order to be compliant, now would be a good time to reassure everyone about our policies.

Medical records have always been subject to stringent confidentiality guidelines, and when we take our case histories (which here, are recorded with pen and paper) we have always been obliged to keep them stored in a cupboard under lock and key. It is recommended that we keep notes for at least 8 years after we last see a patient, or until a child turns 25 years old. We afford the same level of privacy to all of the data we hold regardless of age.

These notes have only ever been accessible to staff members all of whom are trained about the importance of medical confidentiality. This remains the case, and is a responsibility we take very seriously.

On a first visit, when we take a patient’s initial case history it is obviously important (..and a General Osteopathic Council regulation) to take a certain amount of personal data such as name, address, age etc. We have never asked for (or stored) patients' email addresses as part of this process, but do ask for a preferred telephone number in order that we might contact people to send appointment reminders, or perhaps amend appointments if necessary. Some of these numbers are securely stored on mobile phones that require a passcode and finger print scan to access. Whilst we respect a patient’s right to request that we do not contact them, there are occasions that it might be necessary for the smooth running of the practice. We try to keep contact to a minimum.

If patients contact the practice by email, access to the email account is enabled to staff members only and password protected. Part of the reason that GDPR legislation has come into place is to stop organisations from inundating people with unsolicited “junk mail”. We do NO email marketing. We rely primarily on patient recommendations and people contacting us (by phone, but occasionally email) normally via our website.

Personal data has become a valuable commodity, and some companies sell what they hold for profit to third party organisations. Please be assured that we never have, and never will, partake in such activity.

I hope that this information outlines our commitment to GDPR compliance and gives you an idea about how seriously we take your privacy. I also hope that it reassures you that any information we hold, we do so as securely as possible, and only in order that we can supply the best possible service to our patients.

Thank you.


Marathon Training

Loads has been written in the past about the trials and tribulations of training for a marathon or any other endurance event. This year for the first time, I have really understood what they meant, as since Christamas I have been “cranking up” the miles in an attempt to complete the 2018 London Marathon.

Whilst a lot of long distance running is “in the head” I can definitely confirm that an awful lot of it is also in the legs!! My aim is to simply complete my first event, not particularly chasing a quick time, but none the less the schedule is gruelling. Last week alone I covered over 50 miles!

Any internet search will tell you how and when to stretch, which is really important, but I personally have found that stretching, and even foam rolling have not proved enough to relieve all of my muscular tightness and tension. If I am honest I can constantly feel a degree of "conditioning ache” in my major muscle groups.

Good nutrition helps (again a Google search away…) and also cross-training instead of just doing what you’re training for relentlessly i.e. simply running at the expense of other resistance work…. and definitely don’t forget to be organised and observe your schedule, including your rest days!

The last piece of general advice I can offer from my first experience of intense event training is to occasionally pamper yourself with a sports massage or osteopathic treatment, this has been a life saver for me on a couple of occasions when my legs have been at their most exhausted, especially after those long weekend runs!

If you think we can help you avoid that dreaded event-finishing injury please call The Bexleyheath Osteopathic Practice on 020 8298 7122 and let us give you some personalised treatment and advice, based on good evidence... and now bitter/sweet experience!!

We look forward to hearing from you.


Chiropractor or Osteopath?

Chiropractor or Osteopath? Who should I see? Which is better? What's is the difference between the two therapies? These are questions that are asked by our patients on a daily basis. There are some historical differences in the philosophy of the two professions, but what most people want to know is how their treatment may differ by visiting either therapist.

Like most professions, I should start by saying that there is a huge variance in the ways that individuals within both professions practice.

Some patients who have seen both say that there are chiropractors out there who practise more like an osteopath, and likewise, some osteopaths who practise like chiropractors – these practitioners may not massage the soft tissues or focus on rehabilitation at all and only ‘adjust’ or manipulate joints.

A significant difference between a chiropractor and an osteopath is that while the chiropractor is primarily focused on the spine and joints, an osteopath is perhaps more concerned with the rest of the body- taking a more holistic or “overall” approach. Osteopaths may treat patients for not just musculo-skeletal symptoms, but also people with problems in other systems in their bodies- possibly digestive problems or any other number of problems that may seem unrelated to the spine or joints.

This assessment of the main difference comes from a chiropractor friend of mine- “Typically chiropractors will use what we call “Adjustments”, which are as specific as possible and aimed at restoring joint position and function. Osteopaths typically take a broader approach and may treat a larger area…. both professions are highly trained at an undergraduate level and both are trained to be excellent clinicians and to care for your health first and foremost”. I think that this is a very fair viewpoint.

What is Osteopathy?

Osteopathy is a natural therapy, which combines manual ‘hands-on’ techniques with exercise and advice.

Osteopathy works with the structure and function of the body and is based on the principle that the well-being of an individual depends on the skeleton, muscles, ligaments and connective tissues functioning smoothly together.

An osteopath works to restore your body to a state of balance without the use of drugs or surgery.

What is Chiropractic?

According to the General Chiropractic Council (GCC), chiropractic is “a health profession concerned with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mechanical disorders of the musculoskeletal system, and the effects of these disorders on the function of the nervous system and general health”.

Chiropractors (practitioners of chiropractic) use their hands to treat disorders of the bones, muscles and joints. Treatments that involve using the hands in this way are called “manual therapies”, so both osteopaths and chiropractors are “manual therapists”.

Chiropractors use a range of techniques, with an emphasis on manipulation of the spine.

Differences between a Chiropractor and an Osteopath?

Chiropractic therapy is actually derived from Osteopathy… osteopathy was invented by Dr. Andrew Taylor Still in 1872 and Chiropractic care was invented by one of Dr. Still’s students- Daniel David Palmer, in 1895, so there are many obvious similarities. However you should be aware that subtle differences between the two techniques may make one more suitable for you than the other.

The major difference between an Osteopath and a Chiropractor is that while the Chiropractor is primarily focused on the spine and joints, an Osteopath is also concerned with the rest of the body. Osteopaths tend to work more holistically; generally looking at the contributing factors that may be causing your symptoms which need to be addressed too.

Whether you see an osteopath or a chiropractor, you should expect:

  • A thorough case history to be taken.
  • A clinical examination undertaken.
  • An accurate clinical diagnosis reached.
  • Effective treatment for your condition.
  • Management over the longer term if needed.
  • Appropriate rehabilitation exercises.
  • Effective advice regarding your activity, life or sport

… then you have found the right practice, and the right practitioner for you, regardless of their profession.

Treatment by an Osteopath and Chiropractor

Osteopaths use soft tissue massage, stretching and manipulation techniques to re-balance your body’s structure in a way that enhances your blood flow and nerve function. This allows your body’s natural healing process to be improved.

Chiropractors use manipulation to adjust the position of your spine and joints in order to improve your nerve function and healing ability.

All of the team of osteopaths at the Bexleyheath Osteopathic Practice have the greatest respect for the chiropractic profession. In many ways we are trying to achieve the same goals with our patients, but we might use slightly different techniques.

Our advice when choosing a Chiropractor or Osteopath would briefly be as follows:

  • Make sure that the chiropractor or osteopath has studied a four or five year degree.
  • Ensure that they are a member of their respective governing body (General Osteopathic Council or General Chiropractic Council). This ensures that you know that you will receive a minimum standard of care and treatment whichever chiropractor or osteopath you choose.
  • If possible use a practitioner who has been recommended by a friend or GP.
  • Don’t persist with treatment if the treatment does not suit you.


Our team at the Bexleyheath Osteopathic Practice aim to treat a wide range of complaints, using osteopathy. We are a local, easily accessible family run osteopathy practice, serving Kent and south-east London.

We have over 25 years experience from which we have developed a highly effective, safe, gentle manipulation and massage approach to Osteopathy.

Our approach helps improve the function of the joints, muscles, ligaments and tendons, providing pain relief for a wide range of musculoskeletal conditions.

Our practitioners use structural osteopathic techniques and sports massage. We attempt to create bespoke treatment plans considering every patient as an individual.

We don’t only treat injuries however- it is our aim to look after patients even if they have no obvious problems. Our team are highly trained to recognise imbalances within the body that may not yet be manifesting themselves as pain or symptoms. We endeavour to look after the patient before they experience pain and advocate the motto “Prevention is better than cure”.

A gentle form of treatment, osteopathy can benefit most types of aches, pains and strains in people of every age. Osteopaths often provide advice on posture and exercise to aid recovery, promote health and prevent symptoms from reoccurring.

As osteopaths, we treat many conditions, although a common myth is that most people think of us as ‘back specialists’.

Although we do see a lot of people looking for back pain relief, don’t forget that osteopathic treatment can benefit all parts of the skeleton. It does not just target your symptoms but treats the parts of the body that have caused these symptoms.

Our osteopaths assess and treat people of all types and ages: from children to the very elderly, and from pregnant women to elite sports people.

If you would like more information about our clinic and the various conditions we commonly see, please take a look around our website. If you would like to book an appointment please call us at the Bexleyheath Osteopathic Practice on 020 8298 7122.


FOOSH!!

You may have read about or heard the term, but what exactly is a FOOSH injury?

FOOSH is an acronym which stands for:

Fall
Onto
Out
Stretched
Hand

We can all relate to this, as it is instinctive to try to protect yourself if you feel that you are falling.
As a result, we tend to put out our arm to break our fall and protect our head and face.
As we topple over, there are large forces which may potentially cause injury- we have the combination of our body weight and gravity meeting with an unforgiving (usually hard) ground.
So FOOSH doesn’t describe the specific injury- more it describes the mechanism of injury. Most often, it results in damage to the wrist, arm or shoulder region.

What are examples of FOOSH injuries?

1. Fractured metacarpal: one of the long thin bones in your hand. The ring and little finger (4/5) are most vulnerable to this, but any metacarpal can be involved. It is sometimes called a Boxer’s fracture, as it usually occurs if you fall onto a clenched fist, and the injury is similar to a punching impact injury- hence the name.

2. Fractured Scaphoid: one of the small bones within the wrist. This accounts for 70-80% of wrist fractures. The patient will feel pain at the base of their thumb between the two prominent tendons that stand to attention when you give the “thumbs-up” sign.

3. Colles Frcture: affects the end of the radius, one of the 2 forearm bones- most likely if the patient lands on the palm of their hand.

4. Smith Fracture: again a fracture of the end of the radius, but usually occurs if the wrist is flexed when landed upon (i.e. patient lands on the back of their hand).

5. Fractured elbow: may affect either of the forearm bones (radius and ulna) and/or the upper arm bone (humerus).

6. Fractured humerus: the bone at the top of your arm- usually gets broken at the top near the joint, so may cause shoulder-type symptoms and bruising may be evident in the patient’s trunk/ ribs as well as in the arm itself.

7. Shoulder dislocation: occurs when the joint between the ball and socket joint of the shoulder separate. If the bones remain out of place it is known as a dislocation but if is reduces spontaneously, it is known as a subluxation.

8. Fractured Clavicle: The collar bone at the front of the neck links the arm with the rest of the body, so absorbs a lot of shock. This bone is susceptible to fracture by a FOOSH and may result in bony deformity.

9. A/C Joint dislocation: Where the shoulder blade and collar bone meet, we have the “Acromio-clavicular” joint. A FOOSH injury may cause sufficient opposing forces for the joint to separate, and result in ligament injury affecting the stability of the joint. Often after injury, a step can be seen, this sometimes called a sprung clavicle"

10. Whiplash: Neck related pain from a heavy head falling at a faster rate than the rest of the body.

FOOSH Injury Symptoms

Symptoms include:
• Arm pain
• Arm stiffness
• Difficulty moving the neck/ shoulder/ elbow or wrist
• Upper back pain and/ or stiffness
• Swelling
• Bruising
• Bony deformity

FOOSH Injury diagnosis

Any physical therapist, such as an osteopath or physiotherapist, as well as a qualified medical practitioner will normally be able to diagnose the injury from the way you describe how the accident occurred, from your symptoms, and through a thorough physical examination.
If a fracture or dislocation is suspected, usually an X-ray will confirm the diagnosis.

FOOSH injury treatment
General advice for FOOSH injuries:

RICE (Protocol for any acute injury)
 Rest (immobilise)
 Ice- 5 minutes over the affected area every hour until the diagnosis is confirmed.
 Compress to minimise swelling.
 Elevate the limb if possible.
• Paracetamol- For an adult the maximum dose is two 500 mg tablets, four times a day.
• Anti-inflammatories- These may be used alone or at the same time as paracetamol. They include ibuprofen which you can buy at pharmacies or get on prescription. Other types such as diclofenac or naproxen need a prescription via your GP. Some people with stomach ulcers, asthma, high blood pressure, kidney failure, or heart failure may not be able to take anti-inflammatory painkillers.
• A stronger painkiller such as codeine is an option if anti-inflammatories do not suit or do not work well. Codeine is often taken in addition to paracetamol.
• Muscle relaxants such as diazepam are occasionally prescribed for a few days if your neck muscles become very tense and make the pain worse.

Please only take prescribed medication when it has been prescribed specifically for you by the GP, and if you use over the counter medication, always read the label.

If a fracture or dislocation is found, the patient may need the bones to be realigned (reduced), and they are then immobilised for 6 weeks (or more) in a splint, plaster cast or sling.
Occasionally surgery may be required to stabilise the bones in the correct position for healing to occur. This is called an “Open Reduction- Internal Fixation” repair.
Once out of plaster, rehabilitation with a physical therapist is suggested to restore normal function.

Osteopathic Management

Our osteopaths are able to offer various options for rehabilitation and to help symptoms to settle down. They may suggest massage, traction, manipulation, acupuncture etc.
Although it may take several weeks to achieve this, the main emphasis of their treatment will be to:
• Increase strength
• Increase joint range of motion
• Reduce pain
• Reduce swelling
• Reduce scar tissue
• Restore normal function
• Permit a return to regular activities and sports

If you have a problem you think we can help you with, please call us at the Bexleyheath Osteopathic Practice on 020 8298 7122, we look forward to hearing from you.


Ergonomics in the Office

Avoid Back Pain With These 13 Tips

At my practice this week I have had several patients reporting similar back pain. In all these cases, the main cause of their back pain symptoms has been from sitting at their desk in a bad position from 9 to 5 each day. Unfortunately, if you work at a computer all day its highly likely that at some point you will feel a stiffness or discomfort in your lower back or between your shoulder blades.

When most of us sit at our desks the last thing we are thinking of is having good posture. The reality is that it is very important to consider your posture and make sure that you do everything you can to avoid back pain and shoulder pain.

Here are a few ideas to think about when sitting at your desk, which may help to improve your posture and reduce the possibility of back and shoulder symptoms:

Improve Your Posture At Work And Avoid Back Pain

  1.  Set your chair height to allow your feet to be flat on the floor or on a foot rest.
  2.  Ensure your chair has a full length back to ensure appropriate support to your lumbar curve.
  3.  Make sure there is sufficient clearance between the desk and your thighs and that your thighs are at a 100-120 degree angle from your upper body.
  4.  When sitting normally, shoulders should be relaxed, with elbows at 90 degrees when your hands are on the keyboard.
  5.  Your wrists should be horizontal or around a 20 degree backward tilt with mid forearms supported on the table.
  6.  Set your screen so it’s directly in front of you, approximately arm’s length away.
  7.  Position the top of the screen so it is at eye level.
  8.  Try avoiding prolonged sitting, especially when you’re getting tired – take regular walks if possible.
  9.  When sitting at your desk, try to replicate the same upper body posture that you would adopt if you were standing upright.
  10.  Sit back in your chair and use the back as a support and let the chair do the work when rotating from side to side.
  11.  Your mouse should be in easy reach at all times and you might find a gel wrist cushion will add further support.
  12.  Concentrate on not slouching in your chair – easily done after a long day.
  13. Speak to the facilities team at work and find out if you can have a desk assessment of how your work station is set up.

Back Pain Relief

Follow these simple steps and you will go a long way to avoiding back pain and shoulder pain in the work place. If, however you are experiencing pain and are looking for relief then give us a call at the Bexleyheath Osteopathic Practice on 020 8298 7122.


Persistent pain? Keep moving!

The old-fashioned treatment for painful conditions was bed rest for weeks or months on end. We now know this is the worst possible approach. Exercise and continuing to work are key to recovery.

Forget resting if you have a painful condition like back or neck pain. Lying in bed for long periods may actually make the pain last longer, because inactivity makes you stiffen up, your muscles and bones get weaker, you don't sleep well, you become lonely and depressed, and the pain feels worse.

You'll also find that it becomes harder and harder to get going again.

A better approach to reducing pain is a combination of exercise, staying at work, physical therapy and painkillers.

Exercise to beat pain

Choose an exercise that won't put too much strain on yourself. Good options include:

  • walking 
  • swimming 
  • exercise bike 
  • dance/yoga/pilates
  • most daily activities and hobbies 

Activity and stretching needs to become part of your lifestyle so you routinely do exercise little and often.

Try to be active every day, instead of only on the good days when you're not in so much pain. This may reduce the number of bad days you have and help you feel more in control. 

If possible, try to go to work despite the pain!

It's important to try to stay in work even though you're in pain. Research shows that people become less active and more depressed when they don't work.

Being at work will distract you from the pain and won't make your pain worse. 

If you have a heavy job, you may need some help from colleagues. Talk to your supervisor or boss about the parts of your job that may be difficult to begin with, but stress that you want to be at work.

If you have to stay off work for a while, try to get back as soon as possible.

You could go back to work gradually; this is called a "graded return". For instance, you might start with one day a week and gradually increase the time you spend at work. 

You could also agree changes to your job or pattern of work, if it helps – talking to a health and safety rep or an occupational health department may be useful here.

Physical therapy for pain

Pain experts often recommend a short course of physical therapy. This helps you to move better, relieves your pain, and makes daily tasks and activities, such as walking, going up stairs, or getting in and out of bed, easier. 

Physical therapy for persistent pain can involve manipulation, stretching exercises and pain relief exercises. 

This can be delivered by one of our osteopaths. Acupuncture (which can also be helpful) is also offered at the Bexleyheath Osteopathic Practice, especially for back pain and neck pain.

Osteopaths can give you advice on the right type of exercise and activity. 

If you have physical therapy, you should begin to feel the benefits after a few sessions. 

Your GP may be able to refer you for physical therapy on the NHS, unfortunately osteopathy in the London Borough of Bexley is only available privately.

Your GP may also refer you for exercise classes, and some centres have specific classes for low back pain. It is good to talk to others that suffer from conditions similar to you, and to share ways of managing painful conditions.

Painkillers

These can be "over the counter” remedies like paracetemol or ibuprofen, or they can be prescribed by the doctor. Be sure to always read the label and talk to your GP immediately if you have any concerns!!


Persistent pain can be a disabling problem and because it is complicated it tends to require a combined approach to care. At the Bexleyheath Osteopathic Practice we are here to do our part, and to help you!

Please call us on 020 8298 7122 if you would like to book an appointment.


Red Flags

Severe pain is very frightening, especially when it’s the first time we suffer a new type of pain i.e. it’s in a new place or when it's so bad it interrupts our day to day living. This is a problem, as fear and anxiety can sometimes “amplify or turn up” the pain simply making things worse.

The irony is that pain (even when severe..) in isolation is not necessarily a serious symptom, it is normally just the bodies way of telling you that something is wrong with the musculo-skeletal system e.g. muscles, joints, ligaments, tendons, etc.

The purpose of this blog is to try to help patients decide when it is time to see an osteopath and when they should see the doctor for further medical examination/testing. As osteopaths we use a system called red flags. 

Red flags are a list of signs and symptoms that if a patient tells us they are suffering, we need to consider whether there is something more medically serious going on, and decide whether to refer back to the doctor for further tests.

It is very difficult to write a definitive list, as humans are effected by so many different conditions and diseases, and these all present differently in different people. Equally, just because you have something from the list doesn’t mean you are definitely medically ill, it just means healthcare professionals need to consider your problem a little more carefully.

Here are the main ones that make me think a patient MIGHT NOT be appropriate for osteopathic treatment/manual therapy:


A high temperature (fever)- this can be a sign of systemic illness

Unexplained weight lose- emphasis here is on the "unexplained" 

A swelling or a deformity in your back- lumps and bumps anywhere need investigating!

It’s constant and doesn't ease after lying down- this sounds less mechanical

It’s getting worse not better- progressive pain can be a sign of an ongoing process

Pain in your chest- could be a sign of heart or lung problems

A loss of bladder or bowel control (retention or incontinence)

An inability to pass urine or stool 

Numbness around your genitals or back passage 

It's worse at night- although a lot of straight forward musculo-skeletal pain can be bad at night too!

It started after an accident or impact- it could be a fracture

Worsening weakness in muscle groups

Bilateral pain/tingling/numbness i.e. into both arms or both legs

Symptoms all down one side i.e. same sided arm and leg

Rapid change in vision, hearing, taste or smell

Problems talking, swallowing or controlling the muscles of your face

Passing out- losing consciousness


Please remember that just because you have something on the list it doesn’t mean you are necessarily seriously unwell, it just means you should get it checked out!

I hope this list is useful for patients that are considering booking into the practice for treatment. I have shared it in order that patients can make the right choice about where they seek treatment, and get the right care for them.

Please remember that the vast majority of people that suffer pain have simple musculo-skeletal problems which can be easily treated at the Bexleyheath Osteopathic Practice. 

Call us on 020 8298 7122 to book an appointment if you think we can help you.


© Bexleyheath Ostepathic Practice 2013