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Latest News


During the summer holidays my son and I went off with our bikes to Berwick with the aim of cycling to Alnwick over a few days. We weren't in any hurry, I don't consider myself to be a cyclist and my son had recently had his appendix removed. After the weeks of sunshine imagine my horror at the forecast and resultant torrential rain which swept across Durham the night before we went (not much sleep THAT night). The rain was of course heading north and we remade our acquaintence with it in Berwick but headed off regardless off being soaked within the first half hour. At one stage during the day as we pushed our bikes along/through a muddy estuary my son looked back to me, his face shining through the rain as bright as the sun, had it been out. "Oh, this is such an adventure". And he was right, we were there doing it, despite surgery, arthritic knees and a fear of cycling on roads. THIS is why we try to maintain our physical and mental health, this is why we do what we can to keep fit and eat well. And this is why we must sometimes accept our limits but work with them so they do not control us....so that we can all still have adventures.

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Back pain musings

Back pain is a complex affair. I often say to would be osteopaths that if you want to understand what is happening most of the time don't even think about my job. There are so many variables from the shape and quality of the bones and joints, the health of the surrounding tissues and the past experience of injury and pain. Now we all like to have a diagnosis. Apart from anything else it's easier to say to your boss, yes my sciatica is bad today. But of course 'sciatica' is a description of the sciatic nerve being painful. It doesn't explain why this particular nerve is causing a line of unrelenting pain down your leg. The reasons for its dysfunction could be simple but difficult to treat (a severly herniating disc for example) or complex but readily amenable to osteopathic treatment and a change in lifestyle (ie different shoes, postural change or exercise advice). Often my diagnosis/evaluation will evolve over a period of time, and I feel like a detective piecing ideas and facts and experience together. Sometimes I'll think I know exactly what's going on only to find thatI have just grasped one piece of the puzzle. However it's the acceptence and willingness to keep thinking and learning which makes my job so interesting. (Just on Friday afternoons it would be nice if things were straight forward)

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Bah Humbackache

Deck the arms with loads of pressies, fah lah lah lah laa, lah lah lah laa,

Just make sure they're not too heavy, fah lah lah lah laa, lah lah lah laa.

Apologies, for the rhyme crime but the fact is every year I see people who've had a miserable Christmas with neck pain, back ache and tennis elbow agony due to carrying heavy bags and spending far too long wrapping presents. The rules are

1) Try not to stagger round with shopping...can you return regularly to a central drop off (car, work, partner in cafe, (be the partner in the cafe!))? Regular drinks stops will help to keep you hydrated, but stick to non-alcohlic or the staggering may result in poor co-ordination due to alcoholic injuries.

2) Wrap in stages and try to think about your posture, usual rules apply with shoulders relaxed but at your sides not under your chin, back and neck upright as often as possible. Materials and tools to hand. That thing where you can't see the sissors but you've got your hand on the present on the wrapping paper so you have to reach, twist and grope blindly for the ***** ******(transation = who's stolen my sissors)? Well it's funny to watch but not so great for your skeleton. Good luck with trying to get this one sorted, again the alcohol possibly to be avoided, the red wine stain due to knocking the glass over whilst finding the end of the sellotape is going to cause stress ...gift tokens?????

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Happy New Year

Happy New Year. I hope that you've managed to get though the festive period unscathed by virus or accident.

One of the first gentlemen I saw after Christmas had been unfortunate to catch the dreaded norovirus. he had fainted after a prolongued session of vomiting and hurt his lower back. Obviously the first concern was why he had lost consciousness but we felt it was probably due to low blood pressure due to dehydration. Indeed his tissues felt dehydrated under my hands...yes I know only an osteopath...and we got talking about how much liquid do we need for optimum health. The easiest way to see if you taking in enough liquid is to check the colour of your urine. It should be pale and clear. Obviously sweating due to exercise, heat or illness affects our overall water balance. We get water from our food as well as drink, (another reason to eat plenty of fruit and veg which tend to be juicy) so we can finally ditch the 7 glasses water myth, coffee, tea, juice, squash, it all counts. And at risk of sounding like a grumpy old women, unless you are exercising hard, I can see no reason for walking round swigging water out of a bottle in our temperate climate.

Talking of grumpy, if you haven't discovered Grumpy Cat may I suggest you look him up on line. I defy you to kep a straight face.

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The Serenity Prayer

The Serenity Prayer: To have the courage to change what I can, the serenity to accept what I cannot change and the wisdom to know the difference.I'm presently doing a course about mindful acceptance of chronic pain, which encourages us to lead a full and valued life despite physical and mental difficulties which are we may suffer. The serenitty prayer suggests that even if we are not perfect we can strive to improve but manage with what limitations we have. However, the first time I saw these words I thought that this summed up the quandary facing me every day in practice. The best part of my work is when someone becomes painfree, closely followed by the patient who comes in having achieved a goal despite pain or discomfort. The hardest time for me is when I can't help with a problem. Sometimes it becomes obvious during the case history or examination that Osteopathic intervention is not appropriate. In this case I do not charge for the consultation, all I ask is to be kept informed as to the outcome of any referral I might make. And I try to stay serene.

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Cobblers children

Twice now my son has had episodes of nausea, headache and vomiting, especially on lying down. The first episode seemed initially to be associated with generally feeling unwell so we put it down to one of these 'viral illnesses'. However the 2nd bout didn't seem to fit into the pattern of 'a bug'. As you can imagine I was getting very concerned so thought to pnone a colleague. As I presented his case to her, nausea, headache, neck pain the week before (actually a really sore neck having been involved in a fabulous singing and dancing project at school) I realised that actually I'd seen all this before. It's not that uncommon for neck problems to cause a feeling of nausea, there are several neurological pathways which can be implicated. I have in the past treated many people with neck symptoms who mentioned feeling ill and others who were quite handicapped with the vomiting that accompanied their neck pain. My son has a record of childhood/teenage accidents a recent collision had resulted in a fine clattering of heads, luckily no concussion to my surprise. However he had been most unwilling for me to check his neck after (well what would I, his Mother know about anything)

Of course with your own family it is difficult to be objective and a decent case history is rarely done, but oh reader, the guilt when after one treatment he stopped being sick and after 2 more the neck is not better but well on its way to soundness. Of course only time will tell if the neck truly is the cause of his symptoms, resulting in time off school and the misery of not seeing his friends, but at least his neck will feel better.

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Moving to New Premises

Subject to Planning Permission we are hoping to move to new premises at the end of June. Our new address will be

5, Riverside Centre

Frankland Lane



Frankland Lane passes in front of the Passport office and the Raddisson Blu Hotel. The Riverside Centre is just beyond Crook Hall, number 5 is the last unit, it stands alone and it's set back a little from the other offices. There's plenty of parking, we have two allocated spaces and there is plenty of on road space (30p for half an hour) and car parks nearby. It's the same distance from the bus station as the Elvet address. The Pennyferry Bridge gives access from the Claypath side of town.

We will have two treatment rooms and hope to extend the range of services available. We look forward to welcoming you.

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7th July 2014

I'm pleased to be able to move that as from Monday 7th July we will be situated at





We look forward to seeing you there

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Well I've moved in to Number 5 Riverside Centre and enjoying the peace, the space and the parking. Most people have found the new premises easily and have remarked on the lovely setting.

I'm looking forward to having Osteopath, Elizabeth Baker, joining the practice on Wednesday afternoons. Liz will be running an M.E. clinic using the Perrin Technique. Apart from being pleased to offer something new I'm looking forward to working with Liz and enjoying her lively humour and great interest in all things osteopathic.

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I am happy to report that I have a new receptionist startingat Dunelm Osteopaths. Karen will be keeping order on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings. I am aware that I can be difficult to get hold of at times, I can't keep breaking off during a treatment to answer the phone. Hopefully Karen's arrival will ease this problem. I will try to answer the phone but if you could possibly ring when Karen's in you'll be pretty sure to get a lovely human rather than an answering machine.

For old clients, yes, regrettably this does mean that Heather has definately retired but I'm happy to pass on messages to her when she and I meet for lunch. She's sorely missed.

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More Choice

We are soon to be joined by another Osteopath. Diana Thurston has studied Osteopathy as a second career after initially training and working as a pharmacist. She is also a pilates teacher and where appropriate will combine her Osteopathic and pilates training. I'm hoping to get her to introduce herself on this blog soon.

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Half term

Next week is half term and Sian is away so please be patient with using the answering machine. Mark and Diana will be in Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friady morning and able to see new and registered patients so no there is need to suffer! If nobody answers the phone when you ring please leave a message. Just your name and telephone number will be fine. The messages will be answered although it may be later in the day so bear that in mind when leaving your contact details.

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