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01371 875217

Great Dunmow Osteopathy Clinic 

Angus Hellier BSc (Hons) Ost

Coronavirus update:

The clinic will be open from Monday 18 May, afternoons - please call 01371 875217 to book an appointment, online booking is NOT currently available

Baby blues 

A 4 month old baby arrived with a sleep-deprived, anxious mum. The pregnancy had been difficult, morning sickness, life at home was hectic and mum felt unsupported and alone, daunted by the prospect of the delivery of her new baby. The big day arrived slightly early; into the delivery suite and the unfamiliar surroundings were not helping anyone relax. The staff appeared apprehensive and a bit panicky after the initial exam: there were no fetal movements and no heartbeat could be found, so the decision was taken for an emergency Caesar section. The reason for the lack of movement and heart beat was discovered: the placenta was at the front of the uterus, interfering with examinations and creating problems for delivery - there was a lot of strong pulling by the staff.  Baby was delivered but was taken away for suction and stimulation. Examining the baby, I found asymmetric muted ventilation, tension around the hips, pelvis, shoulder girdle and cranium. Baby would grunt and hold its breath, which would worry mum. There was tenderness around baby's neck and thorax which made baby cry.  I explained to Mum the importance of a good ventilation mechanism and why there was tenderness in certain parts of baby's anatomy. After three sessions, baby was sleeping for 3-4 hours - previously there was a continuous, disgruntled wriggle and grunt, then a cry and constant desire to feed. Gentle techniques to help baby suck, swallow and breathe at all the appropriate moments; advice on positioning and the difference between a restriction cry and a hearty, satisfactory cry were explained. After the fourth treatment, baby was behaving like all the other well behaved babies at the baby group.


"It hurts so bad I can't eat" 

A patient presented complaining of excruciating pain in their face and jaw. They had sought advice from their GP and dentist and had extensive root canal treatment done in an attempt to rid the poor patient of their pain...no change to the pain symptoms were observed. It was getting so bad, the prospect of eating would fill the patient with dread. After careful case history and examination of the patient, I found that their genioglossus muscle had gone into spasm and the pain was brought on specifically when moving the tongue, not necessarily when the tongue touched the teeth. This was the assumption made by the GP and the Dentist leading to a diagnosis of at first root canal irritation and aveolar nerve damage causing a trigeminal neuralgia. It was indeed trigeminal neuralgia but as a result of irritation of the lingual nerve that gives sensation to the tongue. On further examination, not only the genioglossus muscle was found to be in spasm but also all muscles of mastication and the suboccipital muscle. Some simple treatment procedures were performed and exercises prescribed; within two weeks the patient was pain-free.


Varsity Challenge

A patient presented with tightness and pain in his back, an on-going problem since a rugby accident some years previously when playing Samoa - one of the Samoan players dropped his knee into the patient's back, fracturing the L3 vertebrae. The patient was attempting to get fit for a famous inter-varsity rugby match; he was the Captain of one side. He was suffering and finding no relief via usual avenues. After thorough history and examination, I found a strong viserosomatic reflex underlying a chronic myofascial tension involving the thoraco-lumbar fascia, mesenteric attachments of the fore and mid gut, tightness of the left arcuate ligament with some fibrosis of the mesenteric membrane impinging the adrenal gland and kidney on the left;  as a consequence, restriction of the lumbar lower limb relationship. Treatment commenced: we discussed the patient's approach to his conditioning, bearing in mind this season he had not played at all. Within 3 weeks he had played 40 minutes of rugby and reported having plenty of energy, without the gnawing, exhausting pain. The big day of the match arrived and the patient was able to complete the full 80 minutes - alas they were not victors that day but their Captain lead from the front!


Mont Blanc Ultra

An ultra endurance runner arrived at the practice depressed at not completing the circumnavigation Mont Blanc race, some 100+ miles.  Examination demonstrated myofascial restriction and mechanical compromise to the lumbar spine, with sub-optimal function of the quadriceps. Careful history-taking of the patient's preparation revealed flaws and a lack of certain conditioning elements. Treatment and discussions about a psychological approach and adding conditioning elements saw him go on to complete the challenge with ease.  


Fear of falling

An 83-year-old patient attended the clinic; her history was of an active, interested person who loved to engage with her friends and family, her grandchildren and "great grandbabies".  However, now there was concern, anxiety and pain in the back from a recent fall, simply missing a step in the street and landing heavily. Geriatrics is a delicate area within which to work as the tissues are delicate and friable. We have to be meticulous with case history: usually there is an underlying pathology which sometimes has been picked up by the medics; often it is not, however, so a cautious approach must be taken.  Gentle treatments helped ease the back pain, along with simple, accurate self-help advice and a fall prevention strategy. This helped re-establish confidence with balance.  Straightforward, easy to follow and execute exercises allowed the patient to pick up her life again and enjoy the moments surrounded by the ones she loved and the ones that loved her.

Case Studies

Copyright 2019 Great Dunmow Osteopathy Clinic Angus Hellier

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