Offering Osteopathy and Sports Injury Treatment in Yarm, Stockton, Ingleby Barwick and Middlesbrough
Opening Hours
Mon & Wed 09:30 - 19:00
Give us a call
01642 989 800

Information when attending appointments

Because of Covid-19 there are certain protocols we have to follow which I will list below together with guidelines and information we need you to read. Please take your time to have a look at these as there are certain things we need all patients to do before they can attend the clinic.

It is a bit long-winded but essential in this current climate for everyone’s safety. 

Otherwise on a positive note, we are really looking forward to seeing you.



Thank you for booking an appointment with us. We are so pleased to be back open but like all businesses we have had to change some of the ways in which we work during the current Covid-19 pandemic.  So please take some time to read through the following information as it will help you know what to expect prior to your appointment. 

Covid-19 safety precautions and risk 

We are doing our absolute best to ensure that we keep our patients and our staff as safe as possible in the current situation. Unfortunately the nature of this virus means that in some cases people can be carrying the virus but have no symptoms or be infectious just prior to developing symptoms, and this is the risk that we cannot fully rule out when we are conducting our face to face consultations. 

To reduce the risks as much as possible we have taken guidance from our governing bodies and Public Health England and put into place a strict health and safety policy which includes the following measures: 

  • We are screening all patients and practitioners for any symptoms prior to their appointments.
  • Our Osteopaths will be wearing the appropriate protective equipment for face to face contact (masks, aprons and gloves) and we are providing masks to our patients if they don’t have any of their own. 
  • Our practitioners and staff have all undertaken training in infection prevention and control and are following strict guidelines to keep our clinic environment as safe as we possibly can. 
  • We are allowing more time in between each patient to fully clean down and disinfect all surfaces.
  • We are restricting the number of people in our clinic to the bare minimum and allowed for social distancing in all of the public areas.  

If you are worried and need to discuss the risks further please speak to us. We are happy to go through our safety policy in detail and as you read on you will see that we do also offer a risk free option of a video consultation for anyone who is vulnerable. 

We have a new booking system! Please make sure you set up your account.

If you booked online you may have noticed the new booking system. This is a new a secure way of staying in contact with us, you can use it to book or rearrange your appointments and to check in and pay online.  Your osteopath can also use it to send you exercises or advice sheets. 

If you are advised to have a Telehealth video consultation to reduce your time in clinic, your account will also provide an easy link to connect you to your osteopath when it’s time for your appointment. 

If you don’t have access to a computer please do not worry, our reception team are still on hand to book appointments and take payments where necessary.

Risk assessment and appointment type

One of the biggest changes is that we will now need to conduct a risk assessment for each patient who visits us. To do this your osteopath may call you prior to your appointment to ask you a few questions.  This will help us to decide on which is the most appropriate and safest form of appointment for you. This may be one of the following:

  • Face to face assessment and treatment
  • Video Consultation 

Which appointment type you will be offered will depend on a variety of factors which we will discuss with you.  In some cases we may need to see you in person but may choose to take as much information over the telephone prior to your appointment to reduce the amount of face to face time that you would need to be in the clinic. 

Face to Face Assessment Guidance

If you are booked into for a face to face appointment you will receive a Covid-19 questionnaire 8 hours prior to your appointment. Please fill this in as we are unable to see you without this information. 

If on the day of your appointment you find that you have begun with any symptoms that might be Covid-19 related call us so that we can swap to video consultation or a later date appointment.

Current government guidelines suggest that everyone wears a face covering whilst they are in shops and indoor public environments, so we are now providing our patients with a face mask for their appointment if they don’t have a suitable one of their own. 

Please be assured that your osteopath will be adhering to strict hygiene protocols and will be wearing personal protective equipment for the duration of your appointment. 

Because of the current Covid restrictions we are asking that patients come into the clinic alone, however, if you feel you need someone else to come with you please let us know in advance. Under 18’s will continue to need to have a parent/guardian with them. 

Car parking and our waiting area 

Car-parking is free for the duration of your appointment. Once you have arrived please wait in your vehicle and either call the practice to leave a message and let us know that you have arrived or check in online so that your osteopath knows that you are waiting (see below).

If you are arriving on foot, you may come in and sit in reception, but we kindly ask that you arrive no earlier than 5 minutes prior to your appointment so that we minimise your time in the practice.

Online check in 

If you have a smart phone you can Check In Online at

Or by scanning the QR code which is on display in our car park window and in our reception. 

This will let your osteopath knows that you have arrived and are waiting.  

Final screening 

On arrival your practitioner will conduct a final screening before treatment which may include checking your temperature with a hand held thermometer and possibly.  On entry to the clinic we also ask that you wash or sanitise your hands and wear the provided face mask whilst in the building. 

In line with current guidelines if on testing you have a fever or symptoms of a new cough we would advise you on what to do next and would need to reschedule your appointment. So if you are at all unsure speak to us before arriving for your appointment.

Toilet facilities 

Our toilet facilities are open for use but we would like to make you aware that this is a public building containing several different businesses, and therefore the toilet facilities are not just used by us so please be aware that social distancing in the corridor area may be required .   

Video Consultation Guidance

In some cases your osteopath may feel that it is safer to see if you can be helped via a video consultation rather than a face to face visit.

This is a new way of working and so far we have found that this has been an extremely useful way of getting help and advice for people who are shielding or are in a clinically vulnerable group but still need some face to face assessment and advice. 

If your osteopath has recommended that you have a video consultation the most secure way is to use our clinic Telehealth software for the video call. 

To use this please just log onto your Stuart Bentley Osteopaths account 5 minutes prior to your allotted appointment time and wait for your osteopath to activate the video call. 

IMPORTANT: Our video calling works best from a PC, laptop, or android device. 

It will work best if you log on to Stuart Bentley Osteopaths account from a Google chrome or Firefox browser. 

If you need to use an Apple device please let us know and we will make an alternative arrangement to call you on a different platform preferably Skype or WhatsApp as they are encrypted. 

  • Video consultations do require a good mobile/broadband service to ensure the best connection. If we lose connection during the call your osteopath will call you back. 
  • We suggest that you ensure that you have a quiet and private place to take the call in. A well lit room is also beneficial. Headphones can sometimes be useful in video calling but are not essential.  The time needed to complete a consultation can vary but we advise that you allow up to 1 hour for your initial assessment. 
  • Ensure that you can have your computer / device on a surface where you can be seen and use it hands free so that if necessary you can show your osteopath your range of movement in the affected area. 

NB. Some tests cannot be performed via video consultation and if these are needed for the osteopath to successfully diagnose they will inform you and advise you on the next best course of action. 

You are welcome to have a friend or relative with you during this consultation/treatment if you wish. If you are under 18 we do require a parent/guardian to be with you.

All patients are currently receiving a Covid-19 pre-assessment questionnaire 8 hours prior to their scheduled appointment time. This is a compulsory safety precaution and is automatically sent out.  We appreciate that it is actually much less relevant if you are booked in for a video consultation but if you can take the time to fill in any symptoms it will still help in our assessment of your current condition and enable us to give you the best advice we can.


Payment can currently be made by 3 methods; 

  1. Pay upfront before attending your appointment using our secure clinic booking system.
  2. An online invoice – we will email you with a secure link for you to make payment. We kindly ask that this payment be made within 24 hours of issue. This will be the only method of payment if you have had a video consultation. 
  3. Alternatively we can accept some contactless card payments by certain mobile phones in the practice if you have been in for a face to face appointment. Unfortunately we are unable to accept payment by cheque or cash at this time.  

Thank you for your understanding and patience with all these changes to our usual practices. We are doing our absolute best to ensure that we keep our patients and our staff as safe as possible. 

We look forward to seeing you soon! 

Opening soon – our new way of working

Opening soon – our new way of working

We will be re-opening very soon and we are excited to be able to welcome you back to the clinic.

However, the challenging times we have been experiencing have meant that we need to bring in some changes to the way we used to work.

Your safety and of course your health is our greatest concern.

With that in mind, here is how we will now conduct a treatment:

  1. When you book your appointment online, we now ask that you also pay for your treatment at the same time. This is because it will remove the need to touch the card reader after treatment. We think you’ll agree that the fewer things you need to touch when you visit us, the better.
  2. For the time-being, we will catch up on your progress via video consultation, just prior to your visit. This will reduce the amount of time that you’re in clinic. We will also check beforehand that you have no symptoms or a temperature.
  3. Also, for the time-being, we are asking that you only book in to see us if you are in considerable pain and discomfort. If you normally visit us for a regular preventative treatment, we would ask that you book a video consultation instead. We will be very happy to talk through some advice and exercises as necessary.
  4. We may look a little different to normal as we are required to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) to help to protect both you and ourselves. We will be wearing a face mask, visor, apron and gloves, which will be changed as government guidelines direct. We may look a little weird but we will still be focused on you and your health.
  5. We will be upholding strict hygiene procedures. All surfaces which may have been touched by previous patients will be thoroughly wiped down with soap and water or appropriate sanitiser. We will also air the room for 15 minutes between patients.
  6. Before your appointment, we ask that you either wait in your car or stand back from the front door. We will call you in when our hygiene procedures have been properly carried out.
  7. We may conduct a further video consultation to check up on your progress, which may save you a further trip to the clinic.
  8. Where possible, please do book a video consultation, rather that come in to see us. We can still give you an excellent service, with guidance and reassurance.

We are hopeful that these measures will only be in place for the short term. Of course, none of us yet know how long this will be, so again, please do bear with us during this transition period.

If you have any questions, please reply to this email or call us on 01642 927302 and we’ll be happy to help.

Take care and keep safe

What we are doing to stay safe

What we are doing to stay safe

We can’t wait to be back to work helping and treating our patients as normal! We know that many of you are looking forward to coming back in to see us and we are hoping that we will be able to resume some sort of normality in a couple of weeks time.

In the meantime we are working really hard to ensure that when we do reopen we are able to reduce the risk of Covid-19 spread as much as possible.

These are just some of the measures that are now in place to keep you safe if you need to visit us.

• We are screening both staff and patients for any Covid-19 symptoms prior to all appointments. This will include a questionnaire and may involve taking temperatures prior to entering the building.

• We have a risk assessment protocol in place that prioritises your safety and well-being. This protocol enables us to decide on the safest form of appointment. In some cases we are advising video calls rather than a face to face visit to reduce risks in those who need advice support and assessment but are currently vulnerable or shielding.

• All patients will be asked to sanitise their hands on entry to the building.

• Our Osteopaths will be wearing aprons, gloves and appropriate face masks during any face to face contact. Current government guidelines suggest that it is advisable to wear a face covering whilst in shops or any indoor public space. So we are asking our patients to bring a face covering for use during their appointment.

• We are operating with a minimum number of people in our clinic at any one time.

• We are trying to limit the amount of time spent in the clinic as much as we can so we are sometimes taking information via telephone in advance and we are asking people to wait in their cars rather than the waiting room when possible.

• We are booking time in between each appointment to clean and disinfect all surfaces.

• Our staff and practitioners have all undergone training in infection prevention and control and are following strict hygiene guidelines.

• Our booking system allows you to book or rearrange your appointments, organise a video consultation with your osteopath and pay for treatment online.

• We are not currently accepting cash or cheques but ask that you pay with contactless or online methods.

Stay safe everyone. If you need our advice and help before we reopen just call and leave us a message and I will return your call.

Creating a Covid-19 Secure Clinic

Creating a Covid-19 Secure Clinic

No one has been untouched by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in some way. Throughout this time, the safety and well-being of all our patients and staff has been our utmost priority and will always continue to be at the core of all our decisions.  

We have missed being able to offer you the support and care that we know you value, and are planning to re-open our doors and are looking forward to welcoming you into the clinic again in June/July time, albeit with lo’s of changes and additional measures in place.

Being a healthcare environment, that inherently involves very close contact, there are obviously things we have to address and consider. 

Following the latest guidance, wherever possible, we will continue to offer virtual online appointments as a preferred alternative to face to face. Any patients making a booking will have to be assessed online first to identify which path of care is most appropriate for you. As it currently stands, lockdown restrictions have been eased and NOT lifted and therefore, we must continue to respect and follow guidance appropriately. 

Our priority is to keep you as safe as possible, and in order to re-open the clinic for face to face services, we have implemented a number of changes which we would like to make you aware of. 

These measures have been put in place following an extensive risk assessment and will be revised and amended as necessary. To help ensure we can run and maintain a safe environment for all, it is essential that you carefully read the steps we have taken and agree to comply with the measures we ask visitors to our clinic to take. 

The steps we’ve taken to create a Covid-19 Secure Clinic 

Online Virtual Consultations

  • Prior to booking any face to face consultations, we have to conduct an online assessment to identify which path of care is most appropriate for you. We must assess whether you have significant pain or an urgent clinical need that justifies attending for a face to face consultation, in line with the latest professional guidance. 
  • During this assessment we will diagnose your condition or injury, through a series of questions and tests, advise on the most appropriate advice and care and prescribe a personalised exercise programme, which we will then email you. 
  • Following the latest guidance, wherever possible, we will continue to offer virtual online appointments as a preferred alternative to face to face.
  • Should it be agreed face to face care is the preferred route, we will ensure that you understand:
    • The potential nature of close patient contact during our services
    • The level of PPE that a clinician will be required to wear
    • The infection prevention and control measures that must be taken
  • We will ask you to read a ‘Risks statement’ which we will confirm you understand and agree to. 
  • Given the guidance on shielding, those classified as ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ will be discouraged from face to face appointments during the period of shielding. 


  • As part of the assessment, we will ask you a series of screening questions in relation to Covid-19. 
  • If you are attending for a face to face appointment, we will send you an online screening form which it is essential for you to complete online before your appointment.
  • We may ask to take your temperature on entry to the clinic as part of our screening.

COVID Secure 

  • All correspondence, invoices, exercises and receipts will be sent via email, so please ensure we have your correct email address and monitor your spam folder. We are unable to provide any paper documents, receipts or information. 
  • You will find physical reminders of social distancing throughout the clinic, including floor markings, posters and display screen messages.
  • All magazines, printed material and soft furnishings (including pillows and towels) have been removed. 
  • We would ask that if you would like a pillow or towel during treatment, to please bring your own. 
  • We will be minimising the use of equipment wherever possible. 

Clinic Capacity 

  • We would request that if at all possible, you do not bring anyone with you to your appointment. If it is your preference to bring someone with you, they will have to accompany you into the clinic room (they will not be able to wait in the waiting area) and will also be asked Covid-19 screening questions and to record their contact details should we require them in the future as part of track and trace. 
  • Children under 16 will need to be accompanied by a parent/guardian (in line with our Child Protection Policy), who will also need to answer Covid-19 screening questions. 
  • Please do not arrive early for your appointment to minimise the risk of contact with other patients. We ask that if you come by car, please wait in your car in the car park until your booked appointment time. At your appointment time, please wait at the front door of the clinic and your Clinician will greet you at your appointment time. 
  • Whilst in the clinic, please observe social distancing, by keeping at least 2m from anyone (unless receiving clinical treatment). 

Booking and payments

  • To reduce face to face contact with non-clinical staff, you will be asked to make any follow up appointments with your Clinician whilst still in the clinic room or online. No bookings will be made at reception. 
  • After your appointment, you will be sent an email with a link to make payment securely online. (Prompt payment would be much appreciated, don’t forget to check you spam folder if you don’t see the email). 
  • We will be unable to accept cash payments. 

Enhanced Cleaning 

  • We have put in place enhanced cleaning measures for all communal and clinical areas. The clinic rooms will be cleaned thoroughly in between every patient, and additional time has been scheduled to allow for this. 
  • All communal and high contact areas will be cleaned frequently.  
  • We have replaced all fabric chairs with wipeable seating and removed any soft furnishings and accessories, such as pillows and towels. 


  • We will ask all patients visiting the clinic to wear their own face covering. If possible, please wear your own face covering to the clinic. If you don’t have one, we will provide you with one. 
  • Our Clinicians will be wearing appropriate PPE in line with the latest guidance. 

Hand Hygiene 

  • Please do not wear your own gloves into the clinic, as this poses a potential risk. 
  • Please use hand sanitiser when you enter the clinic. 
  • Please refrain from touching anything whilst you are in the clinic. 
  • Our team understand the importance of hand hygiene and will ensure that they wash their hands in according with Covid-19 Secure guidelines before and after any ‘hands on’ interaction. 

Our services

  • We have carried out a risk assessment on all the services that we offer and we are confident that we can continue to provide these safely. We will be offering selected, essential services initially and will review what we offer on an ongoing basis subject to Government recommendations. 

We aim to make any interactions as safe, comfortable and valuable as possible. If you have any concerns about the services please let us know and we will do what we can to satisfy you. If you have any preferences regarding social distancing and ‘hands on’ treatments please advise your Clinician so that these can be respected. 

Thank you for your understanding

Best practice care for musculoskeletal pain

Best practice care for musculoskeletal pain


What does best practice care for musculoskeletal pain look like? A recent review was published by The British Medical Journal, that came up with 11 consistent recommendations to help form ‘best practice’ in the care of musculoskeletal pain. 

In today’s blog, we explore these recommendations, how we implement them at our clinic and what it means to you guys, the people with the pain or injury.

#1 Care should be patient centred This goes without saying, but you’re the one and only person that matters to us. We take time to get to know you, learn how your injury is impacting you, and work with you to understand your lifestyle, so we know what we are aiming for. Everyone and everyone’s circumstances are SO different and individual, so it’s crucial our approach to each and every person we see is individualised too. 

#2 Screen for serious conditions We take this incredibly seriously and although it may go un-noticed by you, we make sure that there is nothing serious going on. If we are in any way concerned, we’ll make sure we point you in the right direction and will provide any letters, phone calls or support that you need. 

#3 Assess psychological factors The body and the mind are inextricably linked. The power of the mind is incredible. You need to feel reassured, informed and have an appropriate understanding of your injury. Any doubts, fears, worries or misconceptions will really impact on your recovery. We make sure we consider any psychological factors that may be impacting you and address them appropriately. 

#4 Only refer for imaging if specifically indicated It’s a commonly held myth, that a scan or an X-Ray is needed in order to diagnose an injury. In fact, referrals for imaging (X-Rays or scans) are only needed in very specific cases. Why? Because all too often, symptoms do not relate to imaging results. So, an image may not show any damage or injury, but you may be getting symptoms. Equally, you may have damage on imaging, but be symptom free and seeing the damage on imagery can cause issues in itself! If we think that there is indication for a scan or X-Ray we will make sure we assist you with this. We can even refer directly to low cost, quick, private scanning – so you don’t have to get referred by a Dr, saving you even more time. 

#5 Physical examination This is our bread and butter. Using all our senses – looking, feeling, testing, questioning and putting it all together with our evaluation skills in order to explain to you exactly what’s going on. 

#6 Evaluate progress Together, we will set your goals, what you want to achieve through coming to see us. That’s the most important bit. However, we will also take measurements and document certain testing, so that we can measure your progress and ensure we’re on the right track. 

#7 Education We want to make sure that you fully understand what’s going on in as much detail as you need. Some people only want the basics, some want an in depth explanation. But if you can understand what’s going on and what you can do to help yourself with your recovery, you’re much more likely to succeed in achieving your goal. This may include modifying your activity or lifestyle slightly, changing a routine, adapting a training programme or work activity. 

#8 Address physical activity / exercise As a team of health professionals, it’s important that we support everyone in living a healthy and active life. As part of this, we can provide the necessary support and advice you may need to start or increase your physical activity. Some people find having an injury a bit of a wake up call to make some changes and often, getting more active is one. 

#9 Apply ‘manual therapy’ as an adjunct We use a huge range of treatments to help you with your recovery. Using our hands (manual therapy) is just one tool, and can be very beneficial in many ways for lot’s of different injuries and to help ease pain. It is very important though that it is used as an adjunct to more active approaches, such as exercise and education/advice. Manual therapy alone is unlikely to be a solution to your recovery, as it’s effects are often short lived – it’s the strengthening, stretching, confidence and education that makes the most impact on recovery. 

#10 Discuss non-surgical approaches (unless surgery indicated) Unfortunately, people still remain entrenched in the ‘medical model’ of belief, thinking that medicine and/or surgery are the only answer. They often want quick fixes and magic cures! Much of the evidence is now very clear on when surgery is indicated and it’s not as often as you may think! Osteopathy and physical treatments are often much more effective than surgery when given the chance in many conditions. Obviously, there are cases when surgery is absolutely the right decision. In these cases, our Clinicians will help with referrals and work very closely with many local Consultants to ensure you receive the most appropriate care. We can also closely liaise with your GP to facilitate this. 

#11 Facilitate continuation or return to work Staying at work or returning to work ASAP when you’ve had an injury is crucially important for your recovery. We can help advise on modifying your activities so this is possible. It may seem a bit daunting, especially if you’ve had to take time off work because of your injury. But remaining in work helps in so many ways. 

If you’ve got an injury and want the best possible care, then do give us a call on 01642 927302 and see if we can help you. 

Helping local people live a healthy, active, positive life, pain and injury free. 

Stuart Bentley Osteopaths

Back Pain Myth 2 – I should avoid exercise, especially weight training

Back Pain Myth 2 – I should avoid exercise, especially weight training

With back pain affecting so many people, The Chartered Society of Physiotherapists (CSP) have produced a series of evidence based, myth busters to tackle the common myths surrounding back pain.

The CSP are busting myths about back pain and reinforcing what the latest evidence says is best for your back.

Myth 2 – I should avoid exercise, especially weight training

Exercise is generally accepted amongst all respected authorities to be the best modality for treating low back pain, in both the acute and chronic phases.

Studies have shown great benefits and long-term safety of various types of exercises, including high load resistance training.

Interestingly, according to research, no one type of exercise proves to be better or worse, so simply do what you enjoy and can tolerate! Gradually build up as your confidence and ability improves.

If you’re not feeling confident about exercising with or when you’re recovering from or had back pain, we provide additional support where you work on a specific exercise programme designed for your individual needs and goals.



O’Sullivan and Lin (2014) Acute low back pain Beyond drug therapies; Pain Management Today, Volume 1, Number 1.

Steele et al (2015) A Review of the Clinical Value of Isolated Lumbar Extension Resistance Training for Chronic Low Back Pain; American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Volume 7, Issue 2, Pages 169–187.

Searle et al (2015) Exercise interventions for the treatment of chronic low back pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials; Clinical Rehabilitation 2015, Vol. 29(12) 1155 –1167.

Bjorn et al (2015) Individualized Low-Load Motor Control Exercises and Education Versus a High-Load Lifting Exercise and Education to Improve Activity, Pain Intensity, and Physical Performance in Patients With Low Back Pain: A Randomized Controlled Trial; Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, Volume:45 Issue:2 Pages:77-85.

Pieber et al (2014) Long-term effects of an outpatient rehabilitation program in patients with chronic recurrent low back pain; Eur Spine J 23:779–785.

Vincent et al (2014) Resistance Exercise, Disability, and Pain Catastrophizing in Obese Adults with Back Pain; Med Sci Sports Exerc. 46(9): 1693–170.

Smith et al (2014) An update of stabilisation exercises for low back pain: a systematic review with meta-analysis. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 15:416 DOI: 10.1186/1471-2474-15-416

Back Pain Myth 1 – Moving will make my back pain worse

Back Pain Myth 1 – Moving will make my back pain worse

The Chartered Society of Physiotherapists (CSP) have produced a series of evidence based myth busters to tackle the common myths surrounding back pain.

The CSP are busting myths about back pain and reinforcing what the latest evidence says is best for your back.

Myth 1 – Moving will make my back pain worse 

Although it is true that some movements can be uncomfortable when you have back pain, it is well established that returning to movement and work as soon as you are able, is better for recovery and preventing recurrence than bed rest.

This is not a new concept by any means, but it is an unfortunate misconception which is continues to endure, due in part, to the complex nature of pain.



Balagu, F. et al., 2012. Non-specific low back pain. The Lancet, 379(9814), pp.482–491.

Darlow, B. et al., 2015. Easy to Harm, Hard to Heal. Spine, (August 2016), p.1.

Picavet, H.S.J., Vlaeyen, J.W.S. & Schouten, J.S.A.G., 2002. Pain catastrophizing and kinesiophobia: Predictors of chronic low back pain. American Journal of Epidemiology, 156(11), pp.1028–1034.

Pincus, T. et al., 2002. A systematic review of psychological factors as predictors of chronicity/disability in prospective cohorts of low back pain. Spine (Phila Pa 1976), 27(5), pp.E109–20. 

Swinkels-Meewisse, I.E.J. et al., 2006. Acute low back pain: Pain-related fear and pain catastrophizing influence physical performance and perceived disability. Pain, 120(1-2), pp.36–43.

Waddell, G., 1993. Simple low back pain: rest or active exercise? Annals of the rheumatic diseases, 52(5), p.317. 

Wynne-Jones, G. et al., 2014. Absence from work and return to work in people with back pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Occupational and environmental medicine, 71(6), pp.448–56.

Ouch! What to do when you sustain an injury

Sprains and strains

Sprains and strains to muscles and joints happen to all of us and for most they are a painful, but temporary reminder to be a little more careful. Prompt action can help your body to heal faster and may prevent further injury or prolonged pain.

Strained or ‘pulled’ muscles often happen when we over exert untrained muscles, train without properly warming up or try to go beyond a joint’s natural flexibility. Sometimes we feel the pain straight away, however some injuries might not cause pain until later on. What can you do?

Remember RICE (Relative rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation), using these can help to relieve the pain and start the healing process.

Relative Rest

The first thing to do if you feel pain is to reduce the offending activity – pain is usually your body’s way of telling you that there is something wrong that needs your attention. It can be normal to feel a little sore after exercises for a day or two, but if it is more than this, pushing through the pain is rarely beneficial.

However, movement stimulates the healing process so stay as mobile as you comfortably can. Try to keep the joint moving through a comfortable range of motion, without forcing it to the point of pain. This will help to encourage blood flow and keep your joint flexible whilst it heals. This is particularly relevant for back pain as gentle exercise, such as walking, can help. You should slowly build your activity levels up as soon as your symptoms begin to resolve and as soon as you are able.


Cooling the area using an ice pack can help to reduce swelling and pain. Wrap a thin tea towel around the area so as to avoid direct skin contact and then apply the pack to the injured area for 10 – 15 minutes. You should repeat this several times per day for the first 72 hours. This will help to control inflammation, making it easier for your body to get blood and nutrients to the area and resolve the injured tissues.


Gently applying a compression dressing may help to temporarily support the injured joint and reduce swelling, though remove this immediately if there are signs that this is reducing the circulation to the area (numbness, pins and needles, the skin turning white or blue etc).


If the injury is in the lower limb (knee or ankle), elevating the area a little can make it easier for your body drain fluids that might accumulate around the area, causing swelling. For example, if you’ve hurt your knee, sitting down with the knee raised on a low foot stool may ease your pain.

Seek medical attention

If you have pain that can’t be controlled with over the counter painkillers, can’t put weight on the injured limb, experience paralysis or loss of sensation or the swelling is very bad seek help from your local A&E department, urgent care centre or telephone 111 for advice.

If the pain or swelling fails to improve within a week, a visit to an osteopath may be beneficial. They will be able to assess the injury, advise you on the correct treatment and can provide some manual therapy which may help it get better faster.

Postural Problems

Postural Problems

Few of us are likely to conclude that we have perfect posture. Most of us probably spend too much time slumped at our laptop, staring at a screen at work or stand slouched, as it ‘feels more comfortable’.

Modern Technology doesn’t help

In today’s modern technological world, we have become more sedentary, we sit longer, rely more heavily on gadgets, cars, mobiles and computers. Children follow suit from an early age and attend our clinic better versed at the use of an iPad than most of our staff.

Sit-stand desks

We are simply not designed to be as sedentary as we are living today. Not only does this impact heavily on our skeleton and muscles, but our heart, lungs, digestion and indeed our spirit and emotional wellbeing too. Many large companies are starting to take this on board, introducing sit-stand desks and getting staff moving more, but a lot more needs to be done for us to stay fit and healthy.

Centre of gravity and posture

Our body has an ‘ideal’ centre of gravity. Too long away from this ideal means that the joints change the alignment they are designed to be in as they are pushed or pulled from the centre. When this happens, instead of the bony part of the spine, designed to take the loading taking it, the soft tissues and muscles are forced too. Even this balance in the muscular system is then also not balanced as the load does not fall evenly resulting in some muscles working really hard and for long periods and others not working much at all. Muscles then become fatigued and this can cause pain and stiffness.

Many of the common problems that I see in clinic, like back pain and headaches, often have a postural component to them. I will work to assess your posture, alongside your condition and identify areas of muscle weakness and overload and then use techniques like osteopathy, massage, orthotic prescription and exercise to gently and effectively restore you back to health. My aim is to work in partnership with you to help you achieve your goals.

Persistent Pain

Persistent Pain

We all feel pain from time to time. When someone injures themselves, specific nerves recognise this as pain, which in turn triggers the body’s repair mechanism. As the problem resolves, the pain tends to improve and usually disappears within 3-6 months. This type of pain could be argued to be beneficial: if it hurts, you are likely to try and avoid doing whatever it is that has caused the pain in the future, so you are less likely to injure yourself in that way again.

Occasionally the pain continues even after tissue healing has finished. When pain continues after this point, it becomes known as persistent (or is sometimes referred to as chronic) pain. This type of pain is not beneficial and is a result of the nerves becoming over-sensitised, which means that a painful response will be triggered much more easily than normal. This can be unpleasant, but doesn’t necessarily mean that you are doing yourself any harm simply by moving. You could think of this as a sensitive car alarm that goes off in error when someone walks past.

Persistent pain is very common and effects over 14 million people in the UK alone. It often does not respond to conventional medical interventions and needs a different kind of approach, but there are many things that you can do to manage your pain yourself with the support of your osteopath, your family and loved-ones. Keeping active, performing exercises and stretches can help, learning to pace your activities so that you don’t trigger a flare-up of your pain as well as setting goals and priorities are all very important and can help you to maintain a fulfilling lifestyle.

For more information on how to manage your persistent pain, speak to your osteopath.


Content courtesy of Institute of Osteopathy