These exercises shouldn’t cause pain, if you experience a problem, stop the exercise and consult your Osteopath or other medical practitioner. If you have an existing complaint, it would be wise to consult your practitioner to check these exercises are appropriate for you.


Laying on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Breathe in through your nose and try and completely fill up your lungs with air. Make sure you use your lower ribs and diaphragm. Relax and breathe out through your mouth. To try and see if you’re doing this, place a scarf under your lower ribcage, and hold the two ends at the front. When you breathe in, you should feel the scarf pull if you’re working the right area. Alternatively place your hands over the lower ribcage, feel them rise, and feel your ribcage expand outwards and into the floor.
Focus on this for a couple of minutes, just relax and don’t hyperventilate. It may take time to get used to this pattern of breathing.


From standing, raise one arm above your head and side-bend in the opposite direction to the arm you have raised. You may use your other arm to hold the forearm and increase the stretch. Take a deep breath into your lower ribs, to further increase the stretch. Repeat on the opposite side.


Sitting on a chair, grab hold of the seat base on one side. Lean your body and your neck away from the side of the seat you have hold of. You should feel a stretch on the side of your neck, hold for 10 relaxed breaths, and then repeat on the opposite side.


WHY PUFFY KNEES CAN BE A SIGN OF “SILENT” ARTHRITIS (DAILY MAIL, ROGER DOBSON) – This article highlights how often symptoms of arthritis can be ignored, in this case the article is particularly talking about Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). It reports that if symptoms aren’t treated within 3 months of their onset, then there is a risk of long term joint damage, disability and pain. The article states that many ignore symptoms such as pain, stiffness and swelling. Putting it all down to the ageing process, or over-doing things.
The exact cause of RA remains unknown – a genetic predisposition, or possible viral/bacterial infection may trigger it? There is no cure, but there is a range of medications that can be used to alleviate the symptoms. Sometimes surgery may be indicated. The article talks about an injection which is currently being developed, it’s purpose is to stop the immune system from overreacting. Apparently results so far are promising, and seem to help the worse effected patients.
The key symptoms to look out for are early morning joint stiffness lasting longer than 30 minutes. Persistent swelling of one joint or more, especially in the hands. Also pain when the joints are squeezed. MY THOUGHTS, RA is a terrible joint disorder and can cause terrible deformity and disability in those worse effected. Not everyone who suffers morning joint stiffness, pain and swelling will have RA. But its important for people to observe their bodies and report any persistent issues as appropriate.

SOMETHING TO SMILE ABOUT: WOMAN BANISHES MIGRAINES…BY HAVING FROWN MUSCLE REMOVED. (DAILY MAIL, CLAIRE BATES) – A 47 year old lady having struggled over 3 decades with migraine headaches has finally become head pain free. She has had an operation to remove the corrugator muscle (frown muscle). She had to have many tests to assess the potential effectiveness of this procedure for her, the surgery was carried out in Berlin. MY THOUGHTS, there are many different reasons why people suffer migraines, and it is a problem that is poorly understood. Any procedure which makes such a dramatic transformation to someone’s life is wonderful, but its unlikely to be the solution for all migraine sufferers.


Osteopathy can treat respiratory function via the musculoskeletal system. In acute and chronic disease we change the way we breathe to deal with the problem, especially with chronic (long term) issues where these changes become adaptations over a period of time. The system develops “bad habits” and over-relies on areas, often resulting in pain.

Osteopathy works on the areas directly related to breathing, so the diaphragm muscle, ribcage and associated muscles, are commonly effected. The ribs and diaphragm attach to the spine, so often this area is strained and can become symptomatic. A good example of this would be in the case of a persistent cough. Very commonly we will place greater emphasis on what are termed the accessory muscles of breathing. We have to when there is a disease process, it’s a coping mechanism. There are several muscles we utilise more, for example those that travel up into the neck from the upper ribs – scalenes, and those that travel across the chest and attach to the ribs – pectoralis minor.

Poor breathing mechanics can alter an individual’s posture, so an Osteopath would look at a whole individual to assess the areas effected and work accordingly.

The types of respiratory problems that very commonly present to Osteopaths are asthma, bronchitis, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), people who are very stressed, and the common cough and cold. Obviously there is a need in some of these instances for appropriate medication to be given, and for the patient to be monitored by their GP. An Osteopath won’t cure these conditions, but Osteopathy may help when people struggle to manage their symptoms.


Happy December/Christmas! Welcome to the new Rivermead Osteopathic Clinic monthly bulletin. My aim is to offer some useful and interesting information.

After a mild autumn, we are now experiencing the cold once more. This weather can often highlight people’s aches and pains. Try and stay as active as possible and wrap up warm. If you have any persistent joint and muscular issues, I may be able to help. Osteopathy treats musculoskeletal problems from head to toe. It could really make a huge difference to your daily comfort.

Read the rest of the December posts, it may be of particular interest to you if you suffer or know anyone else who has hip pain. There are some exercises to try and keep us all more mobile, whether we experience pain or not.

Enjoy the festivities!


Hip osteoarthritis is the degenerative wear and tear of the hip ball and socket joint. It can cause local stiffness and pain, and may also create pain elsewhere as a result of the strain placed on other areas, or the hip may refer pain. It can substantially reduce an individual’s mobility, and reduce their ability to stay active. At worse, it may require a joint replacement.

If the joint isn’t bad enough for a replacement, what do you do? Staying mobile with gentle, regular activity and specific exercises should help. If necessary pain medication could be available from your GP or pharmacy.

However, Osteopathic treatment would aim to reduce or eliminate the need for additional pain medication. Gentle manipulation and soft-tissue massage can aid the mobility and comfort of the area. An Osteopath would also look at other related areas, and possibly work on these. The aim being to remove as much pressure as possible from the arthritic hip. For example, it is common to need to work on the lower back as well as the hip itself.

If you feel Osteopathic treatment may be of use to you, please call to make an appointment or to discuss your issue.


  • URINE TESTS TO DIAGNOSE GENUINE CASES OF BACK PAIN. Developed to be used on those thought to be malingering on long-term sickness benefits and those making fraudulent claims, eg following road traffic accidents. The test costs £200 and is reported to be 95% effective. It tests immune system compounds excreted in the urine that are produced when people are experiencing back pain. MY THOUGHTS, what happens in the 5% of cases that the test doesn’t work for? Those immune system compounds could be released with pain anywhere in the body, they are not specific to spinal pain surely?
  • POT BELLY BLASTER! An injection to banish 60% of body fat in just one month. As yet this has only been tested on monkeys, and it works by attacking the blood supply of the fat cells. It is reported that tests may start on humans soon. MY THOUGHTS, we all know that as a nation our weight is increasing and we are becoming increasingly susceptible to the health problems that go alongside this. As an Osteopath, I think that reducing weight and taking undue strain off the body’s joints and tissues has got to be a good thing. However, I don’t think there is a substitute for a healthy balanced diet and regular exercise. This has to be the gold standard. There are also some suspected consequences on the kidneys, but researchers feel they could be overcome.
  • RESTLESS LEG SYNDROME, THOUGHT TO BE HEREDITARY. Restless leg syndrome is thought to trouble 1 in 10 adults at some point in their life. Symptoms are tingling, prickling and numbness in the lower extremities, which are mainly felt at night and can only be relieved by movement. Two faulty genes have been identified by scientists. 


These exercises shouldn’t cause pain, if you experience a problem, stop the exercise and consult your Osteopath or other medical practitioner. If you have an existing complaint, it would be wise to consult your practitioner to check these exercises are appropriate for you.

This is the basic start position for the following three exercises. Lay on a mat or towel on the floor, with a small pillow under your head for support.

Gently hug both knees to your chest, hold the stretch for a slow count of 10. Relax and repeat 3 times, or more if desired. This is a gentle muscle stretch and a lovely way to open the joints of the lower back. If you feel very inflexible, you may wish to try this using just one knee at a time.

From the start position and with knees and ankles together, bring both knees down to one side. To start just go as far as you can whilst keeping both shoulder blades in contact with the floor. Use this exercise as a mobilization, so once you have reached the lower part of the movement, return to the centre and perform the exercise to the other side. Repeat with control 5 to 10 times on each side. This exercise gives a gentle stretch to the hip and lower back, and helps to keep the waist area mobile.

From the start position, raise one knee so your thigh is at 90 degrees to the floor. Place one hand on the raised knee. Think about drawing a circle on the ceiling with that knee, and guide the movement with your hand. Make the circles as small or large as is comfortable for you. Repeat 10 times in each direction, and then repeat on the other side.

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