When I’m broken they fix me – My history of Osteopathy and how it helps my running.

Let me start by saying this, I have no qualifications in osteopathy but I have been to osteopaths on and off for the past twelve years and it is certainly a subject that I am interested in.

When I first went to an osteopath I was around twenty years old. I had suffered from a persistent neck injury for around three years to the point where it was so bad that I was struggling to get to sleep. I had been to a doctor about two years previously who had put it down to sitting down all day in my job. I was a phone operator for BT on directory enquiries and we worked shifts of 8 hours which was broken down to incorporate breaks and lunch etc. A typical shift would comprise of the following:

2 hours 15 minutes on duty

15 minute Break

1 hour 15 minutes on duty

1 hour Lunch

1 hour 15 minutes on duty

15 minute break

1 hour 45 minutes on duty.

The problem being was that when we were sitting in front of the computer taking calls we were expected to sit there for the majority of the shift. We had something that they called make busy where we could switch the calls off for a short amount of time but it was literally just to run to the toilet and back. Bosses were quite tough on not using make busy to the point where people were given warnings if this was too high at the end of the month. BT employed most of their staff through an agency and during that time I worked for both Adecco and Manpower added to this during the period I worked there they had signed out of the European Working Time Directive. So basically, I could finish a shift at 0200am and be back out the next day at 0900am. Sleep was difficult after working a shift as your head was buzzing with taking 1000’s of calls during the shift so usually after finishing work I was getting to sleep around 0330am and then back up for about 0800am.

Anyway, I digress. The reason I mentioned all that is because I put all of my neck problems down to working for BT Directory Enquiries. It was when I started working for the Rural Payments Agency that one of my colleagues mentioned that I should maybe try visiting an osteopath, I was a bit reluctant at first but after a bit of gentle nagging from my colleague I decided to give it a try. The first session was basically to gauge where I thought the problem was and when and why the injury had occurred followed by a bit of deep tissue massage so the Osteopath could get an idea of where they thought the problem or problems were.

After six months of sessions with the Osteopath my neck problems had dissipated. I was getting to the point of normal sleep (as in the neck problems weren’t keeping me up anymore). In about 2003 I started getting sciatica in  my back so I thought a trip back to the Osteopath was in order and since then I’ve been going ever since.

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Osteopathy has certainly helped in other respects in my life.  In 2004 I had an ankle injury that kept me off my feet for a bit but it just wasn’t healing right and after a couple of osteopath sessions I was back on my feet, literally. When I suffered a personal trauma at the end of 2007 I basically withdrew from society for a couple of months to the point where I was distant with everybody. This included my wife who was suffering also but I felt I couldn’t speak to her as I had to be strong for both of us. I had locked the problem up in a box in my head and didn’t talk to anybody about it to the point where I was churning it around in my head day and night and I wasn’t sleeping. I basically, as the doctor told me later, had a breakdown. Cue an appointment with my osteopath, she immediately knew there was a problem when she saw me having told me that I didn’t look very well. She questioned me a little bit about it and tried to get me to open up a little but I wasn’t going to. After a massage she then started to manipulate the bones and after clicking some of the bones back into place on my back and relieving some pressure I started crying and I didn’t stop for a long time. I’d held it all inside for so long and one osteopathy session had relieved it, when I left that day I felt lighter and less troubled essentially I became me again. Fast forward to 2010 and I suffered a concussion playing football, while going in for a header an opponent kicked me in the face and left me a little punch drunk. I was dizzy that night but upon waking the next morning and having a conversation with my wife I realised that although my body was there and I could see her talking to me I wasn’t taking any of it in. Again a trip to the doctors confirmed I had concussion and yet again it was a trip to the Osteopaths that fixed me.

So, the topic at hand, Osteopathy with regards to running. Since I started running back in 2009 I have used Osteopathy as a tool to maintain my body. I have gotten used to the fact that my body tenses up naturally and certain parts of my body will lock up to the point where it is difficult to get up off a chair or roll out of bed. Running has really helped my body in this respect, as has training, yoga and various other forms of stretching, warming up and cooling down. Osteopathy has really helped me with regards to build ups to runs and recovery from runs. The whole process works for me with the deep tissue massages and fixing the mechanics of my bone structure. The question I asked myself once was “Would I be able to run if I didn’t have osteopath sessions?” The answer for me was obvious when I couldn’t attend a session for three months due to scheduling conflicts and I tried to drag my body through a six mile run. Normally six mile runs are food and drink to me and I finish them without much problem but towards the end of these three months my body had seized up and it was getting to the point where, even with stretching and warm ups/cool downs, it was pretty painful for me. After having an osteopath session I felt fighting fit again and ran my next six miles in record time.

Now I’m not preaching here, all I’m saying is it works for me. If you’re suffering from nagging injuries and you’ve tried things that haven’t resolved the issue then give Osteopathy a try it may just work for you.

Related links:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osteopathy

http://www.wsqo.co.uk/ (Warwick Square Osteopaths – Carlisle)

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