Interesting case history and testimonial.


This is a duplication of a patient story on our “What our patients say” page.

I wanted to include it as a blog as it highlights the wonderful way that osteopathic treatment can improve whole body health.

With our in depth understanding of anatomy, physiology and pathology, osteopath’s can use manual techniques to influence the bodies fluid systems; blood, lymph and neural tissues, to improve whole body health. 

I think it is fair to say that osteopath’s often struggle to get their message of whole body wellbeing across to the public. Because really, what does that mean?! We are often bracketed as spinal specialists, given that our title ‘osteo path’ has it’s origins from the latin word for bone, this is unsurprising. However, osteopathy originated as a complete system of health care, the principle foundations being, so long as every cell has nourishment (fuel in/waste out) and every part of the body has ease of movement, the body will be in good health.  

When we assess you, we look at your palor as well as your posture. We are trained to assess your neurological and cardiovascular systems as well as your functional movement. All of this gives us an image of how healthy your body is as a whole, that is what we mean by whole body wellbeing. 

With that in mind, the following is a story about an office worker who presented to me with neck and shoulder pain, but upon examination had a chronic foot swelling that got the osteopath in me more interested! 

Elaine is a legal secretary, she presented to me with upper back and neck symptoms that were not uncommon to anyone in a sedentary desk role. On examination, Elaine had obvious tension around the head, neck and chest but additionally I noticed an abnormally swollen left foot, something she had failed to mention during the medical history examination. When I quizzed Elaine on it, she informed me the swelling had developed following a foot trauma some years previous. It had been investigated by specialist’s who had been unable to offer any advice. Although the swelling was not in itself painful, the swollen foot often caused a lot of frustration and discomfort when it came to choosing footwear, especially in warmer weather. 

The distribution of the swelling suggested a lymphatic problem, most likely a result of the trauma. The lymphatic system, when damaged doesn’t heal well, if at all, but I had a suspicion that I would be able to improve Elaine’s symptoms by getting the lymphatic drainage working better all the way up the left leg. 

Like cars on the M5 on a summers friday, lymphatic vessels can get blocked or damaged, causing fluid to accumulate into surrounding tissues instead of being ‘mopped up’ and put back into the circulatory system. If the fluid can find another way to exit (i.e. knowing the back roads), fluid can find its way out of the tissues, into other lymphatic vessels allowing the swelling to reduce. 

In Elaine’s case, this meant stimulating the lymphatic system by reducing the restrictions in Elaine’s left foot, knee, hip and lower back. In addition to manual osteopathic techniques, I also used some dry needling to the foot muscles to promote muscle relaxation and stimulate general health. 

Much to Elaine’s surprise (and delight) the swelling reduced remarkably quickly and, motivated by less pain throughout her body, she further improved and maintained her symptoms by becoming more active. 

All in all, it was a great response to osteopathy and an example of how osteopathic treatment can help with general health and wellbeing of all the functions of the body, by improving the circulation of fluids, be them blood or lymph. 

Oh, and no, I didn’t forget to treat Elaine’s main presenting treatment!   

One very satisfied customer, my upper back and neck is no longer painful at all, but I come to see Rachel three monthly to keep it that way. Elaine Ponsford