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dh osteopathy - Tips, myths and more.


The body as the complaints department

I often say to patients “in the office of life the body is the complaints department”meaning that dis-ease in our bodies be this back ache, neck ache, headache or digestive upset is sometimes a signal of an imbalance in the wider context of our lives.

Most of you will be familiar with times when we are torn between two or more options in making a decision, or in a situation where you may do some things because of “shoulds and oughts”in your head versus the “wants and needs” part of you. Sometimes these conflicts manifest in our bodies. How we think and feel is not separate from our body's physiology, they are inextricably linked. How do we express a feeling without the use of our body? Which begs the question, how do we suppress a feeling or thought without the use of our body? I don't think that the “stuff” that we may be keeping in the back of our mind gets filed neatly away until we decide to pay it our attention, instead I think it is exerting an influence on us. How often have you noticed the change in your energy levels when you have finally dealt with something in the back of your mind or made a decision that has been hovering over you for a while? How often have you noticed that a friend is troubled just by seeing the way they are holding their self? How often have you noticed that a friend is feeling “fed up”from the tone of their voice?

So what does this have to do with osteopathy you may ask? Surely not all problems that an osteopath deals with are to do with these so called conflicts?. No they are not, often there is a straight forward mechanical explanation and solution for the symptoms. However, with the more long term or recurrent problems I often find that it is necessary for patients to examine the wider context of their life to understand the background to their symptoms. Patients will often be surprised to find that their joint and muscle problems are related not just to the structural aspects of their body but to how their body is functioning in relation to their life. Finding a lasting solution often requires attention to the physical and emotional aspects of life.

So if you are one of those people that has been through the mill of various tests that have been inconclusive, or seen various modalities of physical therapist to no lasting benefit it maybe, just maybe, worth taking a broader look at the balance of your life and apply the “magic wand” test to it. If you had a magic wand would you be waving it over any aspects of your life? Your job? Your personal life? Are you an all work and no play type? Do people lean heavily on you for their support? Do you find it difficult to say no, feeling that you are letting people down? These are some examples of common life issues that can influence our bodies. You don't necessarily have to visit a counsellor to explore these things, although some people do find they benefit from exploring some issues with a trained professional. You do, however, need to be brutally honest with yourself and to then ask yourself what you can and will do to change your situation. Sometimes these changes are easy modifications to the balance of life, some of them require considerable courage to alter.

You may be surprised by how these lifestyle adjustments can impact on your physical well being.
Dave Heath


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