Sometimes, when we think of a profession, an image immediately springs to mind.
With Osteopathy, there’s a strong possibility it conjures up someone in a white coat rather forcefully manipulating the spine of someone with lower back pain.
But Osteopathy is much more than that. And treats so much more than just back pain. Darren Hayward at Lymm Osteopathic Practice is testament to that. In a typical day he can treat a whole variety of contrasting conditions using a whole range of physical techniques.
A first session could indeed present him with a back related injury. Maybe a builder who’s having trouble walking because of a herniated disc brought about by lifting heavy blocks. However, the second, might entail a tennis player with intense elbow tendinitis pain caused by her poor posture on the court. Or later, there could be a patient with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome who just wants to be able to relax and have practical help dealing with his constant fatigue, headaches and muscle pain.
All are very diverse problems and all require a very different, individually formulated approach.
As Darren points out “The goal is always to get a person’s body functioning as it should. Most Osteopaths adopt a holistic approach and will look at the whole body and not just the painful region. This is why a first session is around an hour so that I can ask lots of questions about symptoms and general health, to really get to understand the nature of the problem”
The purely mechanical issues are the ones that are likely to result in manipulation, stretching and massage of the joints and soft tissues – which help the body’s own healing mechanism. Usually bringing about the relief of pain and an increase in mobility and function.
A session can also include the devising of tailor-made exercises such as simple flexes and stretches as well as exercises to strengthen the core. There may well be lifestyle advice on subjects such as diet, working posture and even sleeping position.
Other conditions such as headaches and neuralgia are less likely to involve rigorous treatment and will use other soft tissue techniques that are often extremely gentle and soothing.
Because of Darren’s own, personal enthusiasm for sport, (in the past, he has run ultra-marathons, played rugby and participated and coached in judo), he has a particular interest in sports injuries.