Sophie Simmons explains her approach to osteopathy treatment

Generally, it’s known that my treatment approach is gentler than others, this is because of my cranial osteopathy background and also my size, I’m petite (as I like to say). Therefore, I have become subtle in my treatment approach. I create a balance through the joints, look for restrictions in function and use more delicate and precise manipulations to fix this.

My treatment is based on a whole body approach, and each appointment is specially tailored to the needs of the patient. Most patients are either experiencing high levels of stress, emotional trauma or are slightly under the weather when they first visit, and this affects you physically which exacerbates existing bodily aches and pains. So I try to address this with ways to help patients relax, through stretching, yoga, and mindfulness.

Following this whole body approach, when I assess a patient I am looking at the spine as a whole for any joint out of alignment (i.e., any twists). This is because even if you came in with neck pain and you have a twist in your neck, usually at some position in your spine you will have a twist back in the other direction so that your eyes remain level and facing forward. Therefore, if I only fix the twist in your neck but you have another twist lower down your spine, the twist in your neck will come back because this compensation keeps you facing forward.
A build-up of twists can also result in one part of the spine not functioning properly. The twisted area often doesn’t have a full range of movement so another part of the spine will be doing extra to compensate for the restricted movement. A good example for this can be applied to the work place; when someone is off work other team members have to pick up the slack (something I’m sure a lot of us have experienced!) – it’s the same for your body. Sometimes it’s the part doing extra that causes the main complaint and other times it’s the restricted part that causes the pain.

When I treat, I try to establish a balance through all joints so they work together and therefore distribute the work evenly. This can take a while to achieve if your spine has been functioning compartmentally, which puts more stress on the body, instead of as a whole. A build-up of twists and the resulting movement restrictions is usually the cause of pain in most patients. But Osteopaths can usually see which joints are working harder, or which have stopped working, and recreate a balance before any pain sets in. This is why we advise occasional check-ups, depending on our assessments of your needs.

How I achieve a balance and free range of movement differs from patient to patient. Sometimes using cranial osteopathy – which is ideal for babies and children or those in lots of pain because it’s very gentle – ranging to the clicking and popping approach used by our other practitioners. With advice on prevention and rehab exercises for those patients who want them.

I hope this gives more of an insight into my treatment approach. Osteopaths all practise differently but this is the approach that works best for me and for my patients – they get better which, at the end of the day, is what matters!