Plagiocephaly and Osteopathy

This article is written by Angel Wellbeing Clinic's osteopath in Islington Eglantine Hallo. Eglantine has a busy clinic that is focused on mum's, mum's to be and babies, infants and children.

What is plagiocepahly?

Cranial osteopaths often see babies with plagiocephaly when parents come for an appointment and mention they’re baby has an odd shaped head.
Plagiocephaly means asymmetry of the head/cranium.

What are the causes?

One of the causes of plagiocephaly can be moulding in the mother’s uterus depending on the baby’s position.

It can also be due to a difficult birth with the use of ventouse or forceps or a long active labour phase.

The most common for a mild plagiocephaly is related to the sudden infant death and babies having to lay on there backs causing a flattening of the back of the head.

Another common cause is torticollis. This is when babies tend to turn they’re head only or mostly to one side and cause a flattening on the preferred side.

A more concerning cause would be craniosynostosis when one of the baby’s cranial suture solidify early.

What to look for?

When you inspect your baby’s head you will see on side flattened and the other more bulging.

If you look at their head from above you might notice a parallelogram shape.
Also notice the alignment of the eyes and ears.

In craniosynostosis you might find a ridge of the affected suture or a difference in hair growth. If this is suspected x-rays, ultrasound and CCT scans are done to confirm the diagnosis.


Helmet therapy is increasingly offered to parents. It is an expensive option and the results are best when applied before the age of 6 months. The baby has to wear the helmet 23 hours a day leaving 1 hour or 2 half hours for a bath or other. The length of time depends on the severity and the helmet is adjusted regularly with the progress of the head.

Paediatric physiotherapy can be helpful when the plagiocephaly is related to a torticollis. In this case specific stretches are prescribed and done on the baby.

Osteopathy can help diagnose the cause of the plagiocephaly and treat accordingly with gentle techniques. It is a good therapy to have in conjunction of the helmet or the physiotherapy (when the torticollis is involved).


If you notice your child has an odd shaped head, look where the cranium is flat and this will give you a guide of where the pressure is being applied.

Feel the head, can you feel ridges?

Do you notice your child always turns his head to one side? Is one breast more difficult to feed than the other?

Taking cot death into consideration, when you can supervise your baby, try to vary his/her position. Try sidelying position or tummy time on you or on a surface. This helps reduce the flattening and making the neck muscles work to develop the head.

If you notice a preference in one direction, stimulate your baby to turn the other side by talking to him, with light/windows, turning the cot so that he/she looks towards you and give toys to the opposite hand (the side he/she doesn’t turn to).

In any case the osteopath is glad to help and will give you all the advice necessary,

If you wish to make an appointment with our osteopath in Islington,Eglantine, at the Angel Wellbeing Clinic please click the link below or call the clinic in Islington on 0207 288 2999.

Pregnancy Related Pelvic Girdle Pain

This article is by Eglantine Hallo, the osteopath in Islington at the Angel Osteopathic Clinic. Eglantine has a keen intertest in seeing mothers and babies and mum's to be, and the feedback from the mums is that Eglantine really gets to grips with the problem and works tierlessly to find a solution.

What is Pregnancy Related Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP)?

- Pregnancy-related pain, instability and dysfunction of the lumbo-sacral region, sacro-iliac joints (SIJs) and symphisis pubis joint (SPJ).
- It may have a mechanical origin and be related to a level of instability of the pelvic joints
It was previously described as symphisis pubis dysfunction SPD


Pain distribution can present differently in each individual:

Lower back
Symphisis pubis joint
Sacroiliac joints
Anterior and posterior thigh
Hip region
Pelvic floor

Common Signs and Symptoms

- Difficulty walking (waddling gait) with a diminished endurance for standing, walking or sitting.
- Pain on weight bearing on one leg (climbing stairs, dressing)
- Pain and/or difficulty in straddle movements (getting in and out of bath and/or car, turning in bed)
- Clicking or grinding in pelvic area (may be audible or palpable)
- uncomfortable in lying positions
- Pain and difficulty during sexual intercourse


- About 1 in 5 pregnant women have PGP
- 50% to 70% of women suffer from lumbar- pelvic pain during pregnancy
- True PGP occurs in 14-22% of all pregnant women and 5-8% of these have severe pain and disability
- PGP remains in 7% of women after birth

What Causes Pregnancy Related Pelvic Girldle Pain?

It can be due to various factors and often there is no obvious explanation.
Combination of factors:

- the pelvic girdle joints move asymmetrically
- dysfunction in the pelvic girdle biomechanics (from altered activity in the spinal, abdominal, pelvic girdle, hip and/or pelvic floor muscles)
- the hormone Relaxin tends to loosen the pelvic girdle creating instability
- Occasionally the position of the baby may produce symptoms allied to PGP.

Main Risk Factors:

- History of previous LB/pelvic girdle pain and/or previous trauma to the pelvis girdle
- Poor muscle function in the back and pelvis
- PGP in a previous pregnancy
- Multiparity
- Heavy workload and poor workplace ergonomics
- overweight pre and during pregnancy.
- General joint hypermobility


- Having some symptoms doesn’t mean it will automatically get worse
- Early diagnosis, advice and treatment can lead to full resolution or reduction of the symptoms (However, in a small % of women, PGP may persist after the birth, mainly if not managed appropriately)
- Osteopathy can help prevent and manage PGP with the use of soft tissue, gentle mobilization and balancing. We can follow your pregnancy make sure your body stays balanced and ready for birth.

Your osteopath will show you appropriate stretches and exercises to do such as:
Pelvic tilts
Abdominal strength and awareness.

If you are pregnant or have just had a baby and if you have any of these symptoms please call Eglantine at the osteopathic clinic in Islington to arrange an appointment on 020 7288 2999 or click the link below to make an appointment.

Anyone for Tennis?

This article is by Caroline Jones the osteopath in Islington at the Angel Osteopathic Clinic.

It's that time of year again when Tennis fever takes hold across the nation. Watching Roger, Andy, Serena and co making it look so easy, we are compelled to pick up a racket to practice those serve and volleys.

However injuries caused from Tennis are not confined solely to the elite players, us mere mortals are at risk too.

5 of the most common tennis injuries with some useful tips on how to try and reduce your risk of injury are;

Rotator cuff injuries in the shoulder, from lots of over arm serving. Make sure your elbow is well above the level of your shoulder when you serve.

Tennis elbow, which is often associated with a wrist flicking, one handed backhand. Try two hands, and make sure the grip is not too small on the racquet and the strings are not too tight. A larger racket head will also help absorb more of the force.

Knee pain, especially at the front of the knee. This is often aggravated by springing up on to your toes as you serve.

Back pain, which can be worsened by poor posture, especially the 'swayback' (arching) posture. This is often worse in older patients where there is less mobility and more wear and tear in the vertebrae.

Calf and Achilles strains, usually caused from tightness in the calf muscles. A sudden movement, reaching for a ball, pushing off on a straight leg can exacerbate these problems. Done with enough force, you could rupture the Achilles! Good footwear is essential.

Osteopathy can help alleviate the symptoms of all five of these complaints, and work on ways to limit the possibility of further injury. Left unattended these injuries can become more severe and chronic and require much longer periods of rest with the possibility of further invasive treatment? So don't ignore the pain, the quicker it's dealt with, the easier, and the sooner you can be back on the court.

New balls please.

If you have read this article by our osteopath in Islington, Caroline, and you are suffering from any of the conditions listed above please call the clinic in Islington to arrange an appointment with our osteopath. Call reception on 0207 288 2999 or click the link below.


How to get  a Difficult Child to Sleep

I spend most of my week with mums and babies and I always ask mum's how their child is sleeping. A good night sleep is essential for a growing child but also essential for a mum. Mum's need a good night's sleep too!

Here are some tips that may help you get your child to sleep.

if bedtime is a struggle or your child has difficulty to fall asleep, try the following:

1- Avoid high sugar levels and E number foods for dinner.
2- Switch off all devices 1 hour before bed (no screens).
3- incorporate a bedtime routine that the child will recognise every night. ie: dinner, bath, pyjamas, brushing their teeth and toilet, focus/calming exercise (colouring, reading to the parent when of age) and bed.
4- warn the child of their approaching bedtime and announce routine and get them to agree.
5- you can even set up a reward star chart i.e.: they get a star the next morning for a smooth bedtime.

here are some useful calming exercises to do before sleep.

This article is by Eglantine Hallo, the osteopath in Islington who specialises in treating mum's and babies. If you are a mum-to-be or a recent mum and want to see Eglantine at our Islington clinic please click below to make an appointment, or call the Islington clinic on 020 7288 2999

5 Healthcare Tips from our Osteopath Caroline

1. Don’t forget to keep changing and advancing your workout routine to keep it effective and interesting.

2. If you are considering starting exercising be sure to consult your therapist for advice on what might suit your body and be best long term.

3. If you want to lose a few pounds set yourself achievable goals. Your therapist can help you stay motivated and help with dietary advice.

4. Are you slouching at your desk for hours each day? Seek ergonomic advice on how to best to alter your work station to best suit you.

5. Get out of your office on your lunch break and go for a 20 minute walk. This will improve your physical and mental wellbeing.

Tension headaches

This article is by Caroline Jones the osteopath in Islington at the Angel Osteopathic Clinic

Do you suffer from regular headaches?

More often than not these are caused by muscular tension and restrictions in the upper back, neck and jaw.

Causes of tension headaches:

  • poor working posture.
  • spending hours at your desk.
  • muscular strain caused by manual work.
  • ongoing stress.

Several of the muscles in your upper back and neck, such as the trapezius muscle, attach into the base of the skull (at the nuchal lines). Stresses on these attachment from strained muscles can cause pain to spread up the back of your head, and around your head into your forehead. Sometimes referred to feeling like a tight band around the head.

Treatment of cervicogenic headaches

Pain killers and non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as paracetamol and ibuprofen can help relieve the headaches, but will not help alleviate the cause of the problem. It is also well known that taking these drugs too frequently, more than 3 times a week, can actually cause rebound headaches as they wear off.

Your Osteopath will ask you some questions and perform an examination to rule out other possibilities and confirm that the headaches are being caused by musculoskeletal stresses and not by some other more systemic cause. Osteopathic treatment can be very successful at relieving ongoing tension headaches, often remarkably quickly using a variety of techniques to help return the tissues and joints involved back to their normal function.

If stress is playing a factor in the cause of your headaches, it can be common to subconsciously grind your teeth. This will affect the muscles in your Jaw (Temperomandibular Joint) which in itself can cause headaches. Your Osteopath is able to assess your Jaw function and its surrounding muscular tissues, and help relieve the tension in the Jaw.

An important part of successfully relieving tension headaches is to as far as possible eliminate the causative factors. Your Osteopath will assist you with how best to manage these factors and likely suggest some exercises going forward so the symptoms are less likely to return.

If you are suffering from headaches or want a more accurate diagnosis and treament plan please contact the clinic and arrange for an appointment with the osteopath in Islington, Caroline Jones.

Do We Really Know How To Breathe?

Breathing is an unconscious act that keeps us alive but it can be so much more. Here is a quick guide to deep breathing and its benefits.

How to deep breathe?

Deep breathing should happen naturally. However, for various reasons ranging from your birth to life’s emotional and physical traumas, we forget to take the time to breathe properly.

In order to breathe properly you need to breathe deeply into your abdomen and not just into your chest. Breathing should be deep, slow and rhythmic. This should be practiced twice a day everyday, once in the mornings and once in the evenings. You can start with 5 minutes (i.e. 10 deep breaths) each and increase to your liking. Fit this exercise into your day however you can. You will notice the benefits more if your do it regularly. Once you will get accustomed to the exercise you will be able to apply it anywhere (in the car at a red light, in front of the computer, in the public transports...).

Find a quiet place where you wont be disturbed. It can be in a chair that supports your head or lying on the floor or bed. Place your arms on the chair arms, or flat on the floor or bed, a little bit away from the side of your body with the palms up. If you’re lying down, stretch out your legs, keeping them hip-width apart or slightly wider. If you’re sitting in a chair, don’t cross your legs. Loosen or remove any tight clothes you have on, such as shoes or jackets. Make yourself feel completely comfortable.

1. Inhale through the nose, imagine your lungs filling up with air from the bottom up (like filling a glass of water) expand your belly, let your belly button pull away from your spine and progressively expand up through the chest. Take your time counting up to 5.

2. When you feel your lungs are full, exhale slowly (counting to 5) through the mouth, pushing the air out from the chest and gently contract your abdominal muscles, pulling your belly button back in towards your spine until you evacuate the remaining air from your lungs.

It is important to remember that we deepen respirations not by inhaling more air but through completely exhaling it.

What are the Benefits of Deep Breathing?

1. Breathing detoxifies and releases toxins

Breathing enables your body to release 70% of its toxins. As you activate your diaphragm, venous return and lymph flow is increased. The lymph fluid is responsible for ridding the body of the cells’ debris and also dead cells and other waste. Breathing shallowly can lead to a sluggish lymphatic system and thus poor cleansing of the body’s tissues and cells. To compensate, the other organs will overwork which will more easily lead to illness. When you exhale, you release carbon dioxide that has been passed through from your bloodstream into your lungs. Carbon dioxide is a natural waste of your body's metabolism.

2. Breathing relaxes the mind/body and brings clarity

When you are stressed, angry, scared or having any other negative emotion, your body will tense up. Muscles will tighten; there will be an increase in heart rate and shallow breathing. This is a sate dominated by the sympathetic nervous system (which is your adrenaline fight or flight system). As this occurs, you reduce the oxygen transport to your cells. Cells need oxygen to stay alive and function. Better oxygenation of the brain will reduce anxiety levels. Deep breathing also stimulates your parasympathetic nervous system (the system that slows you down and tends to focus on your digestion opposite to sympathetic system) this allows relaxation and sleep (like after a big meal!). We know stress is a big actor in disease so breathe and release the tension!

3. Breathing relieves pain

Have you ever noticed how your breathing changes as you experience or anticipate pain? We tend to hold our breath. However, studies show that breathing into your pain helps increase your pain threshold. Deep breathing will also release endorphins, which are natural painkillers.

4. Breathing massages your organs

During deep breathing your diaphragm moves up into the thorax (exhalation) and down into the abdomen (inhalation). This will massage the stomach, small intestine, liver and pancreas. The upper movement of the diaphragm also massages the heart and lungs. This allows better circulation of blood and lymph around the body; therefore the heart does not have to work as hard to deliver the oxygen to the body’s tissues.

5. Breathing improves posture

Good breathing techniques over a sustained period of time will encourage good posture. It will open your chest, straighten your spine and strengthen your core. When you sit all day in front of a computer or during your commute, you tend to slouch. This switches off your abdominalmuscles, stiffens up your spine and therefore restricts the mobility of your diaphragm. Let us not forget that we are spending a lot of time looking down at our phones and tablets, closing off our airways!

6. Breathing increases digestion

As we mentioned before the diaphragm massages the stomach and intestine, it promotes circulation of more oxygenated blood to those organs and therefore better function. The absorption of the nutrients through the stomach and intestine lining will improve leading to healthier tissues. Deep breathing also switches on your parasympathetic nervous system, which activates the digestive system. It also allows changes in pressure in the abdomen, which helps with bowel movement.

7. Proper breathing assists in weight control

When we are stressed, cortisol is secreted and this releases sugar/glucose into our bloodstream. In this stressed state our digestive system is slowed down and therefore cannot efficiently burn the calories we eat. Deep breathing will activate the digestive system and reduce cortisol levels. If you are overweight, the increase in oxygen through correct breathing will burn up the excess fat more efficiently. If you are underweight, the extra oxygen will feed the starving tissues and glands and organs.

8. Breathing boosts energy levels and improves stamina

As you draw air deeper into your lungs the oxygen sent to your tissues through the bloodstream increases. This allows your cells to function better and therefore metabolic reactions improve. This increases energy and also improves stamina. Considering all the points above when you breath properly; your blood and tissues are cleaner, the circulation increases, the stress decreases, the sleep improves, your organs work more efficiently, all that increases your energy levels but also allows you to it more efficiently.


This article is by Eglantine Hello, one of the osteopaths in Islington at the Angel Osteopathic Clinic. Eglantine has a keen interest in mum's and babies. If you wish to make an apointment with Eglantine or wish to make an apointment with our other osteopath in Islington please click below.

Rotator Cuff injury in the Shoulder

The rotator cuff is made up of four muscles in the shoulder that maintain the stability and integrity of the shoulder joint. They can tear, become inflamed or be impinged.

Injury is possible at any age either through sporting injury, (particularly racket sports, weight lifting, contact sports) work related injury (particularly in manual jobs) accidents or gradual onset from wear and tear.

Indications of a Rotator Cuff Injury

Restricted movement of the shoulder
Pain when brushing/washing hair
Pain when putting a jacket on
Pain when lying on the affected side
Aching pain in the top of the arm
Weakness in the arm especially when lifting the arm away from the body at around 90 degrees

Treatment for a Roator Cuff Injury

Your Osteopath will perform some clinical tests to help diagnose the injury and rule out other possibilities. In most cases conservative treatment, work and lifestyle advice and rehabilitative exercises are sufficient to alleviate the problem.

In some cases a corticosteroid injection may be suitable, but only after other treatment options have been exhausted as steroid is damaging to the soft tissue and no more than 3 are allowed. So it is important to seek advice from your Osteopath before heading down that route.

In cases of severe damage surgery intervention may be necessary.

This article was written by Caroline Jones one of the osteopaths in Islington at the Angel Osteopathic Clinic. If you wish to speak to her or make an appointment please click the link below.

Osteopathic Treatment for a Slipped Disc

This article is by Caroline Jones DO, the osteopath in Islington at the Angel Osteopathic Clinic.

What is a "slipped disc"?

A "slipped disc" or more appropriately, a prolapsed or herniated disc is a common injury that most commonly occurs in the neck or the lower back. It can be caused from wear or tear in the vertebrae, or after heavy lifting, often with twisting or during other activities. The pain is often initially severe locally, and then radiates into the leg or arm.

The discs act like the shock absorbers between the vertebrae, excessive pressure on the disc can cause the central softer part (nucleus pulposus) to be squeezed out causing a tear in the disc capsule (annulus). This prolapsed part of the disc can compress against the adjacent nerve root, and occasionally the spinal cord causing neurological symptoms.

Symptoms of a Slipped Disc

Initially the pain can be very severe, often described as a deep dull ache, but can involve stabbing pain, numbness, pins and needles and or muscle weakness in the corresponding limbs, often exacerbated on certain movements and positions or by coughing and sneezing. In most cases the symptoms tend to settle over a few weeks with the help of pain medication, reduced activities and Osteopathic treatment.

Symptoms from a slipped disc usually completely disappear, however it is very important that the patient be aware of the need to maintain good spinal health with a combination of prescribed exercises, stretches and further maintenance treatment, in order to reduce the risk of symptom reoccurrence and further disc prolapse.

In a minority of patients, symptoms do not improve and occasionally worsen, even after pain medication and conservative treatments. In these cases the patient would be referred to a spinal consultant for further assessment, often involving and MRI scan, and advice on what treatment route is best for them.

Surgery is usually a last resort, unless in a situation where a patient is displaying 'red flag' symptoms of worrying muscle weakness, numbness and/or bladder or bowel disturbances. In these instances, your Osteopath would refer you immediately to a spinal consultant for further investigations.

This article is by Caroline Jones DO, the Osteopath in Islington at the Angel Osteopathic Clinic. If you have back pain or if you think you may have a slipped disc click the link below to make an appointment or alternatively you can contact the osteopath in Islington on 020 7288 2999 to arrange an appointment.

All you need to know about Glue Ear

By the osteopath in Islington, Eglantine Hallo

What is Glue Ear?

Otitis Media, also known as glue ear is an inflammation of the middle ear with a discharge.
Glue ear is often a consequence of a naso-pharyngeal infection that has travelled up the auditory tube. The most common bacteria responsible aer: pneumococci, Hemophilus influenzae (flu). streptococci as well as viruses.

Glue ear can also be linked to immature immune system, allergy, reflux, torticollis or auditory tube dysfunction and passive smoking.

The term glue ear is given because the lining of the auditory tube swells up, narrowing its opening and disturbing the ventilation and drainage in the middle ear. Therefore, the fluid can build up giving that sticky sensation inside the ear.

As a result, some of the fluid gets sucked inwards which increases the pressure on the tempanic memebrane (ear drum) and changes the conduction of sound so hearing can be reduced. In some cases the ear drum can rupture.

Why do children get it?

Glue ear is common in children because the auditory tube is 2.5 times narrower than in an adult and its angle is more horizontal (30˚ at birth to 50˚ in an adult as the jaw grows) reducing drainage from gravity. By 7 years old most children have had at least one episode.
Otitis media can become chronic when the middle ear effusion persists for more than 3 months. This occurs usually between 6months and 6 years but may be undiagnosed as it can be asymptomatic.

How can I tell?

In older children throbbing or stabbing pain can be reported. And fever and headache may be present.

In infants and preschool children symptoms such as poor feeding, restlessness, crying, fidgeting with the ear, vomiting and diarrhoea can be present. If the glue ear is chronic, your child might not react to your calling or you may notice a delay in speech and learning.
When glue ear is suspected, bring your child to your GP and it will be diagnosed by otoscopy. In a chronic case, a hearing test and auditory tube function rest will be recommended.

How is it treated?

The bacterial infections of the middle ear are treated with antibiotics. Paracetamol can be given for pain relief. Decongestant nasal drops are used to restore ventilation.
In a first episode of glue ear the otovent system is recommended. This briefly delivers air to open the auditory tube enabling the pressure to equalise. However it is inadvisable in recurrent otitis due to possible over inflation of the ear drum.

If there is no relief after 48-72 hours, tympanocentesis can be preformed to relieve the pressure on the ear drum and the fluid can drain. The colour and thickness of the fluid can indicate the nature of the infection. When chronic, treatment may involve grommets and/or adenoidectomy.

There has been more research done on the benefits of probiotics to help boost the immune system and prevent infection. Avoiding cow’s dairy as the protein casein can increase mucus production. Omega 3 fatty acids may help to support the natural production of anti-inflammatory substances in the body. Fish oil and nuts and seeds are a good source of these omega 3 fatty acids. Fish oil that has been emulsified is particularly recommended.

Increase intake of fruits and vegetables. Quercetin is a plant-based chemical known as a flavonoid that provides the body with antioxidant protection and may help support anti-inflammatory processes. It is worth investigating the possibility of a food intolerance or allergy.

How can my osteopath help with recurrent otitis?

Acute otitis media has a tendency to recur if treatment is limited to symptomatic measures only. The aim of the osteopath is to improve the mechanics of drainage from the middle ear. It can relieve neck and throat tension (torticollis), help reduce reflux (if functional), improve breathing mechanism and release sinus pressure. However, the appropriate osteopathic treatment will depend on individual findings and medical history. The techniques used are a mixture of stretching, massage and cranio-sacral therapy.

Advice for parents

Your child should sleep on their side, bad side up.

Feeding you child in a more upright position.

Encourage your child to make clicking noises with tongue on roof of mouth or sugar free chewing gum.

Massage around the mastoid and SCM muscle.

The “ear tug” technique.

If you would like more information about otitis media or glue ear do not hesitate to contact our osteopath in Islington at Islington's Angel Osteopathic Clinic, or to arrange an appointment with our osteopath Eglantine Hallo by clicking the link below.

5 Signs you have a Pinched Nerve in your Neck

Neck pain is common and approximately 60% of the population will get neck pain during their life.

If you have any of these these symptoms in conjuction with neck pain then you probably do have a pinched nerve and need to see an expert for a diagnosis.

1. pain in neck worse when looking down

2. stiffness in neck in the morning

3. tingling or pins and needles into arm hands or fingers

4. weakness in arm muscles

5. you find yourself sitting with your arm over your head.

If you have any of these symptoms arrange to see the osteopath in Islington for treatment of your neck pain. If you wish to make an appointment to find out about your back-pain in Islington click below. If you wish to see a chiropractor in Islington for your back pain also click below.

The Yeast Menace


A yeast infection has many faces: candidosis, thrush and monilia. It occurs when the division of yeast organisms is no longer regulated by your body therefore leading to an over proliferation.

Our colon is populated by numerous bacteria that assist digestion and in the manufacturing of some B vitamins. Yeast represents 20% of our colons bacteria and is known as Candida albicans. The other 80% of “friendly” bacteria in the colon are a majority of the lactobacillus acidophilus variety. These “friendly” bacteria alongside a healthy immune system regulate the growth of yeast. When either of these regulators is disturbed then the multiplication of yeast occurs.

So what can cause the disturbance of the regulators?

Firstly we know that stress has immune suppressing effects as it promotes cortisol formation. Adding to this would be an unbalanced, unhealthy diet. Poor nutrient intake can lead to poor immune function. Also yeast feeds on sugar and its growth is promoted by dietary yeast.

Women suffer with candidosis more than men 10:1. This is due to the female sex hormone progesterone, which favours yeast growth. That is also why the contraceptive pill can worsen the infection. The contraceptive pill is a steroid type substance and along with corticosteroids drugs used for inflammatory conditions like acne or asthma) they suppress the body’s immune system.

Certain inflammatory disease such as IBS, RA, AS, Eczema can also increase yeast production as they weaken the gut flora. Diabetics suffer from yeast infections due to their High blood sugar levels.

Broad-spectrum antibiotics (tetracycline, vybramycin), as one used for ENT infection can wipe out an entire colony or “friendly” bacteria, as they cannot differentiate them with the “bad” germs or viruses.

So if all these regulators are disturbed there is a yeast overload. This causes the organisms to form a rhizoid like structure and burrow through the walls of the intestinal mucosa as they search for nutrients. This leads to a damage of the barrier between our external and internal environment causing the faeces, toxins and macromolecules (proteins) to slip through directly into the bloodstream. The multiplying yeast can produce 80 different toxins, 10 of them being neuro toxins which can induce food and chemical intolerance.

At this point the sufferer may experience a wide range of seemingly unrelated symptoms. The most common are recurrent thrush and cystitis. In addition, patients may experience an inability to lose weight, depression, chronic fatigue, anxiety, allergies, fluid retention, PMS, diarrhoea and constipation. The skin can be affected with acne and dermatitis. There is a supposed link with yeast infection and ME. Sufferers are hypoglycaemic and therefore have sugar cravings.

This article is by Eglantine Hallo the osteopath at the Angel Osteopathic Clinic. If you wish to make an appointment please call the clinic or click the link below.

Mum's Thumb

What is it?

Almost 50% of new mothers suffer from mum’s thumb. It is also known as De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis.

It is a condition in which the tendons of the thumb become inflamed and rub against their casing at the level of the wrist. This is mostly due to repetitive strain.

Signs and Symptoms

Pain is felt at the base of the thumb mostly when picking up your baby or bottle feeding.
It is triggered when you create an “L” shape with your thumb up and away from your fingers.
There can be swelling of the tendons that you would see at the base of your thumb on the outside of your wrist.

A possible snapping or catching feeling may occur when moving the thumb.


The diagnosis can be made by your doctor or physical therapist with examination of the wrist and a positive Finkelstein test.

Imaging or blood tests are not necessary unless the cause is uncertain.


De Quervain’s tenosynovitis tends to resolve itself with reduction of the triggering acitivity.
Rest is therefore the most important to let the condition settle. A splint or firm bandage can be used to support the wrist.

Ice packs over the affected area may ease swelling and pain. A simple ice pack can be made by wrapping a pack of frozen peas in a tea towel. Apply it to the affected area for 10 minutes twice a day.

Anti-inflammatory painkillers are often prescribed (such as Ibuprofen) to reduce the inflammation. Anti-inflammatory creams or gels that you apply over the base of the thumb tend to produce fewer side effects than the oral ones.

Osteopathy, chiropractic or physiotherapy may be advised.

If the condition is severe and the above measures do not help alleviate the pain then a steroid injection might be suggested by your doctor.


Unfortunately the most effective way to reduce the pain is to reduce the activity. It is hard to ask a new mother to stop picking up her baby! So here are some tips that can help:
Modify the way you lift your baby by avoiding lifting from your baby’s underarms and try scooping him/her up keeping your thumb close to your fingers.

When breast feeding make sure you use a pillow to for support so that you can fully rest your elbow and your baby’s head onto your arm (avoid holding the head with your hand).

When bottlefeeding avoid holing the bottle between your thumb and fingers and make sure you do not extend your wrist. You can try holding the bottle from the bottom.

If you are a new mum and are experienceing this or maybe your baby isnt settling or feeding well make an appointment with Eglantine Hello the osteopath in Islington at Angel Osteopathic Clinic. Click below to email the clinic.

Workplace Ergonomics


Most people who sit at a desk for hours each day suffer some sort of related physical complaint at some point, whether it be neck pain, headaches, back pain, or wrist problems. You may have already had to seek treatment to help alleviate these symptoms, but unless you make some changes to your work place ergonomics, they are likely to recur.

It needn't be complicated or expensive to improve your working position at your desk. Here are some simple tips to follow.

Sit right at the back of the chair, using the back support to support you back, bring your chair forward underneath your desk, so that you can reach out and touch your monitor without leaning forward, (move your monitor towards you if necessary). You may find that the arms of your chair impede how far under the desk your chair can go, as they hit the edge of the desk. Some chairs have arms that lower, but if not, turn you chair upside down and remove the arms, they are not necessary. Or change your chair if that is a possibility.

Your hips and knees should be roughly at 90 degrees, with the chair at a height that allows your forearms to rest gently on the desk with your shoulders relaxed and elbows at 90 degrees. If your feet are not flat on the ground when your forearms are in the correct position then use a foot-rest. A phone book or stack of printer paper will probably do. If you are very tall, consider raising your desk up on blocks.

The top of your monitor should be level with your eyes. If your monitor height is fixed, another stack of printer paper or thick book should help solve the problem. If you work off a laptop, try to change to a desk top. If this is not possible, then use a separate keyboard and mouse at desk height, so that you can raise the height of your laptop so that the top of the monitor is level with your eyes. Your keyboard should be directly in front of you, and the mouse just to the side of it. Sit square on at your desk, not at an angle.

For more advice about workplace posture and workplace ergonomics or to arrange an onsite ergonomic assessment call our osteopath in Islington, Caroline, at Angel Wellbeing Clinic.

What is colic?

This article is by eglantine Hallo one of the osteopaths at Islington’s Angel Wellbeing Clinic. Eglantine has a busy clinic treating mums and babies. Click here to read a testimonial from one of the mum’s.

Colic is an umbrella term for a collection of symptoms and finding the right diagnosis can be difficult.

Your baby may have colic if he or she presents with:

  • Flatulence with explosive stools

  • Paroxysmal inconsolable crying or screaming particularly in the evening for a minimum of 2 hours

  • Arching of the back or drawing of the knees

  • Distended stomach

Colic usually begins in the first few weeks of life but often resolves by the time the baby is 4 to 6 months old and It can occur in breastfed or bottle fed babies.

There is not enough conclusive research to confirm the possible causes of colic but there are a number of suggested theories:

  • Hormonal changes affecting peristalsis (gut movement)

  • Immature gut enzymes

  • Trapped wind

  • Bacteria imbalance in the gut

However, a colicky baby is a healthy thriving baby so it is important to visit your local GP if there are any other signs like fever and vomiting and It is essential to exclude other conditions such as reflux, hernia, lactose intolerance or thrush is essential for finding the appropriate treatment.

The osteopath can help you find the right diagnosis with a thorough case history and examination.

Treatment consists of cranio-sacral osteopathy where light pressure is applied to the baby’s body to release strains and tensions that have been acquired in utero or through the birth process.

Here are some tips to try and settle your baby:

  • If breastfeeding make sure your baby has a good latch (silent) and in a more upright position

  • If bottle feeding check the teat flow is not too strong.

  • You can massage your baby’s abdomen in a clockwise motion

  • A warm bath

  • Changing your holding positions i.e their abdomen across your knees, along your forearm face down, sitting position holding your baby’s thighs with his or her back against your chest.

  • Gentle rocking either side-lying or on their back

For more information on how osteopathy can help your baby or if you are a mum or mum to be, contact Eglantine at Islington's Angel Wellbeing Clinic on 0207 288 2999 to speak to her or to make an appointment.

Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT)

By Caroline Jones

Laser Therapy improves tissue repair, reduces pain and inflammation by the application of red and near infra-red light over injuries or lesions. Low Level Laser Therapy was developed in 1967, it is now commonly referred to as LLLT.

Laser therapy has been used for many years on sports injuries, arthritic joints, neuropathic pain syndromes, back and neck pain. Over 200 randomised clinical trials have been published on LLLT, half of which are on pain.

Other therapists using laser therapy include the British and US military, Premier Division soccer teams, Olympic teams, Formula 1, rugby and cricket team therapists as well as specialist pain clinics, physiotherapists, osteopaths and chiropractors in the UK and USA.


The effects of LLLT are photochemical (like photosynthesis in plants). When the correct intensity and treatment times are used, red and near infrared light reduces oxidative stress and increases ATP. This improves cell metabolism and reduces inflammation. When pain relief and analgesia is required, there is a different type of treatment with a different mechanism of action used.

What is it?

LLLT or cold laser therapy uses lasers or LED's to promote tissue repair, reduce inflammation and minimise pain in muscles, joints and nerves. It is pain free and can be incorporated within and compliment your usual treatment as each session usually takes no longer than ten minutes.

LLLT has been around for many years now, and hundreds of clinical trials have proven its effectiveness in the treatment of sports injuries, arthritic joints, back and neck pain, as well as neuropathic pain syndromes.

How does it work?

When administered at the correct dose and position, Laser and LED beams of light can stimulate the cells in the body that promote tissue repair, resolve inflammation and reduce pain.

The science behind this is the effect that light has on cytochrome c oxidase and consequently the unbinding of nitric oxide and release of ATP leading to improved cellular function.

For anti-inflammatory effects it has been found to produce a measurable reduction in PGE2, TNF Alpha and IL-6 in the synovia surrounding damaged tendons.

For analgesia, higher intensity lasers over a nerve supply can inhibit fast axonal flow.
LLLT is pain free and only contraindicated in only a small number of cases. It is also safer than taking anti-inflammatory medications. For further information and to find out if LLLT is suitable for you, please contact the clinic and Caroline will be happy to call you back and discuss your case with you.

How we use LLLT at the Angel Osteopathic Clinic

Treatments with Laser Therapy take up to 10 minutes typically and may be applied two or more times a week in acute situations or weekly in less acute conditions alongside conventional osteopathic treatment, At the Angel Osteopathic Clinic, we use laser therapy to help speed up healing and repair process and reduce the need for anti-inflammatory medication which slow down the tissue repair process.

Here are some examples of recent reviews that have found the use of LLLT effective.

BMJ sports medicine journal, systematic review of surgical and conservative interventions for frozen shoulder found "strong evidence" for LLLT. (2010)

The International Association for the Study of Pain (Global Task force on musculoskeletal pain) found "strong evidence" for Low Level Laser Therapy on myofascial pain syndrome. (2010)

The BMJ clinical evidence recommendations for tennis elbow 2011 now include LLLT

American Physical Therapy Association guidelines recommend LLLT for Achilles tendonitis. (2010)

Lancet systematic review: "LLLT reduces pain immediately after treatment in acute neck pain and up to 22 weeks after completion of treatment in patients with chronic neck pain". (2009)

World Health Organisation (Bone and Joint Task Force) for neck pain Low Level Laser Therapy "more effective than no treatment, sham, or alternative interventions" (2008)

In August 2010 The Lancet reported that the systematic review of LLLT for neck pain was in their top 20 most downloaded papers for 2010.

LLLT is pain free and only contraindicated in a small number of cases. It is also safer than taking anti-inflammatory medications. For further information and to find out if LLLT is suitable for you, please contact the clinic and Caroline will be happy to call you back and discuss your case with you.

Torticollis and Brachycephaly in a Seven Month Baby

My 7 months old son Brody was diagnosed with mild Torticollis and severe Brachycephaly and he had to wear a TMI band helmet. I was recommended by my sister to look into cranial osteopathic on the internet and I found Angel Wellbeing.

Brody tends to arch his back, had bad reflux and sleeps on his back all the time so with the first session with Eglantine, she discovered he had a tense upper body. After Brody's first treatment, there was a noticeable improvement! After the second and third sessions, Brody now sleeps on his sides, enjoys tummy time, has much less reflux and is a much more relaxed happy boy. This helps Brody to wear his helmet with more ease and sleep better in it.

It was a great positive experience for both of us and we enjoyed Eglantine's company and we cannot thank Angel Wellbeing enough, in fact I wish I had known about this earlier when Brody was younger so it would have probably prevented his flat head.

Thank you for your support and assistance!

Isabel and Brody

Osteopathy for Mum's to be


This article was written by Eglantine Hallo, one of the osteopaths at the Angel Wellbeing Clinic in London.

Osteopathy can be very beneficial for pregnant women, it is a safe treatment which, during all stages of pregnancy, can help prepare the body for labour and ease some of the symptoms typically associated with pregnancy. A postnatal check for both mother and baby is recommended especially after a difficult birth to correct the stress and strains and to help recover.

During their pregnancy, up to 50% of women will suffer with back pain and 1 in 5 with pelvic girdle pain (PGP). Most of the time the pain is pregnancy related and symptoms will subside once the baby has been born. Women with a history of back pain are more likely to have persistent back pain after pregnancy.

Back pain and PGP can be a result of the many physical and physiological changes that occur during pregnancy.

As your baby grows, the uterus expands and the weight increase and center of gravity move forward. These biomechanical and postural changes can cause strain on your back and joints.

The pregnancy hormone relaxin relaxes the soft tissues of the pelvis to allow the delivery, allowing for separation of the sacroiliac joints and pubic symphysis. This increased laxity in the pelvis may cause instability and result in pain while walking, rolling over in bed and getting out of a chair.

After your baby is born, new daily and repetitive activities such as carrying, lifting and feeding can aggravate back pain as well as daily household chores. You may present with a rectus abdominis diastasis (a gap in between the abdominals), weak or tight pelvic floor muscles. As exciting as it is being a new mum, it is tiring on both physical and emotional levels.

Back pain and PGP are common but not normal. The days of just ‘getting on with it’ are long gone. You can be proactive to prevent post birth problems by helping yourself with simple advice on postural exercises, and seek early intervention and support when problems start.

Osteopathy can help treat these complaints using techniques such as soft tissue massage to release tension, joint articulation and manipulation to improve mobility, cranial osteopathy to rebalance the body and visceral technique to release deeper restrictions.

Even if you do not have symptoms, a prenatal check and a postnatal check for both mother and baby is recommended.

By Eglantine Hallo


If you are pregnant and want an appointment with one of our osteopaths at the London clinic for treatment with back pain or for preventitive treatment click below and make an appointment.

Tips for teething babies


Timing of the emergence of teeth varies widely between babies. Commonly teeth start to emerge through the gums at around 6 months, however some babies are born with their first teeth and others don’t start teething until after 12 months of age. These teeth are known as deciduous teeth or ‘milk’ teeth and the process is known as teething. Most children will have all of their milk teeth by the time they are two and a half years old.




Commonly teeth tend to emerge as follows:

5-7 months: Lower central incisors (bottom front teeth)
6-8 months: Upper central incisors (top front teeth)
9-10 months: Bottom lateral incisors (each side of the bottom front teeth)
10-12 months: Top lateral incisors (either side of the top front teeth)
12-16 months: Molars (back teeth)
16-20 months: Canines
20-30 months: Second molars

Signs and symptoms that your baby is teething:

Although commonly teething begins at 6 months, some babies may exhibit symptoms up to 2 months before the emergence of the first tooth. Some babies may show no sign of pain or discomfort at all.

Classic signs and symptoms of a teething baby include:

• Drooling more than usual
• Chewing/biting on solid objects including toys and fingers
• Irritability or crankiness/fussiness
• Sore, tender, red or swollen gums – white or opaque bumps may be visible
• Pulling on ears
• Flushed cheeks
• Refusing food
• Rash on the face and/or neck from the excessive drooling
• Slightly raised temperature (but not over 38 degrees)
• Change in bowel motions and/or feeding patterns
• Waking in the night

It is important to note that teething does not cause:

• High fever
• Diarrhoea
• Vomiting

NB: contact your GP or NHS Direct for advice if your baby experiences any of these symptoms.

Tips for teething babies:

Here are some tips to help make teething easier for your baby. You may need to try several different things until you find something that works for your baby.

• Chewing – Teething babies will generally try to chew anything to help relieve the discomfort, including fingers or knuckles (washed), pacifier and toys specifically designed for chewing. Chilling objects (in the fridge, not freezer as frozen can burn gums) adds extra relief to the gums by having a numbing effect.

Some healthy options may include raw fruit and vegetables, for example bananas, large pieces of apple, cucumber, celery and carrot or a crust of bread. Baby safe feeders/mesh feeding bags containing chilled food may also help. Another popular choice is rusks, however it is best to avoid these as they usually contain sugar which can cause tooth decay.

Make sure you always supervise your child when they are eating/chewing in case they choke. This is particularly important once the first four teeth have come through as babies can then bite off small pieces of food which increases the risk of choking. Never give food or other choking hazards while babies are lying down.

• Teething rings – these give babies something safe to chew on which is reported to ease pain and discomfort. Generally ones made of firm rubber are better than liquid filled varieties which have been known to break when chewed.

Cooling rings in the fridge first can further help to sooth the gums, however be sure not to freeze the ring in the freezer as this can damage and burn the gums. Cold wet flannels have also been reported to benefit babies if a ring is not available, with some parents suggesting soaking the cloth in chamomile tea first.

At night, teething rings might be best avoided as they could be a distraction which keep babies awake. Some parents also report that amber teething rings can be effective in reducing signs of discomfort.

• Teething gels – your local pharmacist can provide you with a sugar free gel to rub on the gums. The gels often contain mild local anaesthetic to help numb any pain and antiseptic to help prevent infection as the skin is broken and teeth start to emerge. These numb the pain for around 20 minutes. This treatment is only indicated for babies over 4 months old. Homeopathic teething gel alternatives are also available.

NB: avoid using paracetamol elixirs and teething gel at the same time, as the gels generally also contain paracetamol. It is recommended that you check with your GP or pharmacist before buying a teething gel.

• Rubbing babies gums – the pressure of a gentle gum massage with a clean finger, damp cloth or moistened gauze can help to ease discomfort. Do not rub alcohol on babies gums.

• Medicines – some medicines, such as calpol, are specifically designed for teething babies and are available through your pharmacist. These usually contain a small dose of paracetamol or ibuprofen to ease discomfort and reduce raised temperatures. Ask for one that is sugar free.

Always follow the dosage instructions and ask your pharmacist or GP for advice if you are unsure. Alternatively, multi dose and single dose homeopathic remedies, for example single dose chamomilla homeopathic remedy, have also been reported by some mothers to be helpful.

• Cool drink – cool water, chilled breast/formula milk or other sugar free drinks help to sooth babies gums and can help with excessive drooling. Try to avoid this at night if you have already managed to stop a nighttime feeding cycle, as feeding at night might result in re-establishing a night feeding cycle.

• Comfort and distraction – play, cuddles and comforting sympathy distract babies from their pain. A new toy, an extra cuddle or a walk may help to distract babies from their pain. If possible, this should be avoided if you have already managed to establish a good sleeping pattern as in may set up unhelpful sleep associations.

• Clean the dribble – in some teething babies, increased drooling can result in skin irritation and rashes on the face, chin and neck. Frequently wiping their chin, face and neck can help prevent a rash developing and changing wet clothes helps to avoid possible chaffing and irritation. The use of bibs also helps to catch saliva.

Most importantly, do not ignore things if your baby seems to be in a lot of pain or discomfort, has a high fever or is obviously unwell – call NHS Direct or speak with your GP or health visitor.

Disclaimer: The above content is for informational purposes only and is not intended to give medical advice or to be used as a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional advice or delay in seeking it because of content found on this site.


How to help a baby with colic

This article is by Annabelle Loras the osteopath at the Angel Wellbeing Clinic in London. Annabelle focuses on the treatment of mum’s to be and mums and babies. This article looks at one of the most common of problems and one that can be incredibly upsetting for a parent as they can run out of options to treat their distressed baby.

What is colic?

Colic is a condition in which an otherwise healthy baby cries or displays symptoms of distress frequently and for extended periods. The medical definition of colic is a condition of a healthy baby in which it shows periods of intense, unexplained fussing/crying lasting more than 3 hours a day, more than 3 days a week for more than 3 weeks. The condition typically appears from 2-3 weeks of age and often stops before the baby is three to four months old, but can last up to one year.

Causes of colic:

There are a variety of recognised causes of colic symptoms, the most common of which include:

♦ Build up of gas in the stomach (possibly due to poor burping or ingesting air when feeding)

♦ Gas build up in the intestinal track or bowel (associated with slow bowel movement or uncoordinated intestinal contraction)

♦ Lactose intolerance

♦ Neurological overload in over stimulated babies, for example continually picking them up and putting them down

Be sure to speak to your GP and Health Visitor if you suspect that your baby has colic to ensure that the crying and distress is not due to an underlying medical condition.

Tips for dealing with colicky babies:

Colic will improve on its own, however, if you have problems coping the following tips may help in dealing with colicky babies. Different babies respond to different methods, so it may be worth trying them one at a time for about a week or so.

1. Try holding your baby in different positions – Some parents find holding their baby during crying episodes help, others find laying their baby face down over their arm, the babies head resting in the crook of their elbow and their hand between the babies legs, helps to calm their baby. Otherwise try lying them on your lap face down, turning their head to the side and gently moving your legs side to side. Swaddling babies before soothing them can also be helpful, although be careful to avoid covering their head or overheating.

2. Prevent your baby from swallowing air when feeding – Try sitting your baby upright during feeding. If you are bottle feeding, ensure you have the correct teat for your bottle. Holes that are too small may cause babies to swallow air while feeding. Try using teats with larger holes, or "fast flow" teats, or buy bottles with anti-colic valves. Ensure the teat is full of milk to prevent your baby from sucking in air while feeding.

3. Sucking – Some babies get relief from suckling. Try letting your baby suckle on the breast, a pacifier or a clean finger. Try to avoid letting them swallow air when doing this.

4. Burp your baby after every feed – Be sure that your baby is an upright position, either on your shoulder or on your lap. If you are having trouble with your technique, ask your health visitor or GP for advice.

5. Watch your diet if you are breastfeeding – Some parents find that certain foods can aggravate colic. These can include: alcohol, tea, coffee, chocolate, spicy food, tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, onion and citrus fruits. Try removing certain foods from your diet for a couple of days to establish if any of them are aggravating the colic symptoms.

6. Remove lactose from their diet – Some babies have a short-term intolerance to cows milk and dairy products. If you are breastfeeding, try removing all dairy product from your diet to see if the symptoms improve. Try this for one week.

If you are bottle feeding, try a lactose free or hypoallergenic formula for a week. If removing lactose from your or your baby’s diet for a week makes no difference to the symptoms, revert back to normal feeding. Be sure to discuss the removal of food groups, such as dairy food, from your or your baby’s diet with your GP or a healthcare professional. Dairy products are an important source of calcium, which is essential for healthy bone development.

7. Movement – moving your baby around can be helpful. Try pushing them in their pushchair or pram, rocking and jiggling them over your shoulder or in your arms, carrying them around the house, taking them for a walk or a drive, or placing them in a vibrating/swing chair.

8. “White Noise” - Some babies find the background sound of a washing machine or vacuum cleaner soothing. Alternatively, try comforting your baby in a quiet, darkened room.

9. Gentle massage – Baby massage including gentle stomach and back rubs can help, can be helpful after a warm bath or try gently moving their hips in clockwise motion. Ask your Health Visitor or local osteopath if you are not sure on the techniques.

Other relevant articles:

Breast feedng and back pain

If you have a baby with colic and you are struggling or if you are pregnant, having a check up with our osteopath can be helpful. Click below to make an appointment with our osteopath Annabelle at the London clinic.

The Difference Between Chiropractic and Osteopathy

Chiropractors and osteopaths are both primary care practitioners that specialise in the treatment of musculoskeletal disorders. The Angel Wellbeing Clinic in London has chiropractors, osteopaths and physiotherapists providing treatment for a number of different musculoskeletal disorders and injuries.

All of the practitioners at the London’s Angel Wellbeing Clinic look to the future health of the patient and the prevention of injury recurrence as well as getting you out of pain. To do that the chiropractor, physiotherapist or osteopath may recommend other practitioners at the clinic to improve the health of the patient.

Since I started the Angel Wellbeing Clinic in London in 2000, originally it was the Angel Chiropractic Clinic. The question I have been asked the most by patients is “what is the difference between a chiropractor and an osteopath?”

History of Osteopathy

• Osteopathy was discovered by the American Andrew Taylor Still (1828-1917), who wasAndrew Still founder of osteopathy a country doctor. Still was the son of a Methodist preacher and had an understanding of simple traditional medicine.
• Through his observation’s he came up with the osteopathic philosophy.
• In 1892 Still set up the first osteopathic college and gave the job of lecturing physiology to a Scotsman, John Littlejohn.
• John Littlejohn went off on his own and set up his own osteopathic college in Chicago in 1900.
• In 1900 Littlejohn moved back to the UK and set up and osteopathic college in London.
• Still’s theory was centered on the blood supply to the tissues being of paramount importance in the support of a healthy body.

History of Chiropractic

• Chiropractic was discovered by a Canadian DD Palmer in approximately 1895.DD Palmer founder of chiropractic
• Rumour has it that DD Palmer studied under Still’s for a couple of years but there is no firm evidence of this.
• Focus on the nerve supply was of paramount importance and this was intimately related to the vertebrae and the spinal nerves.
• Palmer came up with the term ‘Subluxation” to describe this theoretical relationship.
• Utilisation of x-rays in the early 1900’s for diagnosis.

Historically chiropractors and osteopaths shared the view that there is a relationship between structure, function and wellbeing and that the body has it’s own ability to heal itself and that the musculoskeletal system was integral to this wellbeing.

In the 1960’s in the USA Osteopaths became incorporated into the mainstream medicine and a nowadays a DO is similar to a MD with no specialty in musculoskeletal disorders and manual medicine.

Chiropractors at the same time stayed independent of mainstream and in the USA a DC is still a specialist in musculoskeletal disorders with an emphasis on manual adjustments.

In the UK both chiropractors and Osteopaths are independent of mainstream medicine and both professions put an emphasis on musculoskeletal medicine.

Education of chiropractors and osteopaths

• Both professions require a full-time four year course to qualify
• CPD is mandatory to remain on the register of practitioners
• Both professions are regulated by Act of Parliament with the General Osteopathic Council and the General Chiropractic Council respectively.

Difference in treatment between osteopathy and chiropractic at the London clinic

In my opinion there is a big overlap in treatment between the two professions and it is often difficult for a patient to tell the difference. A lot of perceived differences are due to the difference in practitioner rather than profession specific differences.

Chiropractors and osteopaths often attend similar or the same post-graduate courses and this often results in a blurring of the two professions and in techniques. The fact this happens indicates to me that theses are two very similar professions.

It is often said that chiropractors are more into clicking the spine and osteopaths are more into stretching and massage. Again this is very much a perceived difference and not a reality of the professions.

In my experience of being a chiropractor in London, employing chiropractors and osteopaths at London’s Angel Wellbeing Clinic and having treatment from both professions it is finding the practitioner that works for you that is important not necessarily the profession.

The Angel Wellbeing Clinic in London has both chiropractors and osteopaths as well as having a physiotherapist specialising in sports injuries. If you are not sure who is best for your back pain please phone us and our reception staff will happily help you. If you are still not sure after speaking to receptionist our practitioners will see you for a free assessment at our London clinic and you can discuss your back pain, headache or sports injury with a chiropractor, physiotherapist or osteopath.

Plagiocephaly or flat head syndrome


This article is written by the cranial osteopath in Islington at the Angel Osteopathic Clinic.

What is Plagiocephaly or flat head syndrome in babies?

This may be one of those trendy new conditions that people believe they need to get some treatment for or in this case feel they need to get some treatment for their baby. As a cranial osteopath at Islington’s Angel Osteopathic Clinic I have frequently seen anxious parents concerned about the shape of their babies head. Some parents are desperate for cranial osteopathy after reading something in the press, whilst others just require reassurance that their baby has a normally shaped head.

It maybe the same as the craze for colonic irrigation, what medical diagnosis would lead to colonic irrigation as a treatment? How about Prozac and its panaceic properties. So we need medication so we don’t have uncomfortable feelings? Aren’t uncomfortable feelings just part of life’s rich tapestry? Or how about the fad for ADHD and Ritalin in children. Haven’t children always been badly behaved? Isn’t behaving badly one of the great joys of being a child so don’t spoil it by sticking a label on to it and then prescribing a drug, having said that it means that parents can duck some responsibility for their parenting abilities.

It does seem that sticking a label onto something that is normal gives it an air of seriousness that can lead to a course of treatment, which costs money. Plagiocephaly may turn out to be in the same arena as ADHD, Prozac and Colonic Irrigation, something natural and normal given a name and a treatment and of course a price.

Plagiocephaly is also know as flat head syndrome, it occurs when the head develops a flat spot due to sustained pressure on that area due to the babies head being soft and pliable. Purported causes for this are babies lying on their back, to much time spent in car seats and play mats on floors.

Other causes of plagiocephaly maybe due to movement in the uterus being reduced such as with twins. Or if there is a breach birth and the baby’s head is pushed up towards the mothers ribs allowing little moment.


The drama with of plagiocephaly comes from the US, where else where a study suggests that having a flat head can lead to developmental delays. In the study of 472 babies of average age six months were assessed for cognitive and motor skill and language development. Half the babies had been diagnosed or exhibited some degree of Plagiocephaly or flat head syndrome and these babies performed less well in the tests. The most significant finding was in the motor tests where they were found to score lower. In particular the results for large muscle motor groups such as those used in rolling from their backs to their sides were reduced.

What isn’t clear is, do babies develop flat head syndrome from this inability to roll over from their backs or does the flat head syndrome develop first leading to the motor control problems?

Irrespective of whether we are dealing with causation or an association it is still important to place a baby on their backs. As a cranial osteopath at Islington’s Angel Osteopathic Clinic I always remind parents that getting babies to sleep on their backs has been found to reduce the incidence of SIDS or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. SIDS is obviously a lot more serious than your baby having a flat head, which we can’t confirm as being related to sleeping on the back.

How to spot Plagiocephaly

As a cranial osteopath in Islington I have examined dozens of babies and there is a wide range of normal shaped head so there is no real need to panic! No two babies are identical so a good history has to be taken from the mother about the pregnancy and the birth process. It is reported that most cases of positional plagiocephaly will disappear by the time the baby is about six-weeks old.

Having said that as a baby grows their skull becomes less pliable so you don’t want to let this go untreated for too long. So see an expert.

A sensible approach to the treatment of Plagiocephaly

Alternate the position of the baby in the cot, place the head of the baby in a different direction in the cot or vary the position of mobiles and toys so the baby has to look in different directions.

Alternate the position of the baby when you feed them so to prevent flat spots from this regular activity.

Avoid too much time for baby in a car seat.

Strengthen the back and neck muscles and improve motor coordination by allowing the baby to spend time on their tummy.

Cranial orthotic therapy

This is straight over from the USA and to date I haven’t seen any of this as a cranial osteopath in Islington.

Babies with severe Plagiocephaly can be fitted with a custom-made helmet, which they need to wear for about 23 hours per day to help correct the shape of the head. Depending on how severe the condition is they may need to wear it for two to six months and have physical therapy to improve the strength and flexibility of the neck muscles. After 12 months the head is thought to be too rigid to benefit form treatment such as this.

If you are concerned about your baby having plagiocephaly contact the cranial osteopath in Islington at the Angel Osteopathic Clinic or click below to make an appointment at our Islington clinic by clicking below.

Achilles Tendonitis

This article is by the osteopath in Islington at the Angel Osteopathic Clinic and looks at Achilles tendonitis.

This is a common sporting injury that causes pain in the back of the heel. The Achilles tendon attaches your calf muscles to your heel bone, and is utilized with all movements of the foot i.e. running, walking and jumping.

Achilles tendonitis refers to inflammation of the tendon often due to overuse/repetitive stress to the tendon. This often happens when we push our bodies to do too much, too soon, without preparation. So take this into account before deciding to commit to a long distance run, as you need an adequate amount of time to prepare your muscles and joints for this strenuous activity.

Having tight calf muscles and suddenly starting an aggressive exercise program can also put extra stress on the Achilles tendon.

Running should be avoided until your therapist says otherwise and a specific treatment plan should be prepared for you.

If you are having pain at the back of your ankle and you are not sure whether or not is is just your trainers rubbing our osteopath in Islington at the Angel Osteopathic Clinic will be able to help you. If you want an appointment with our Osteopath click below.

Shin Splints

This article is written by one of the osteopaths in Islington at the Angel Osteopathic Clinic and looks at shin splints. This is a common running injury and presents itself as lower leg pain that can worsen with activity.

I have seen an increase in this injury over the last month as the training plan for the London Marathon requires a build up of the miles and shin splints can occur in the novice runner as they increase their distances.

This term also known as ‘tibial stress syndrome’ refers to a nonspecific pain that occurs in the lower leg during running. Repetitive impact forces during jogging or running often causes shin pain. Shin splint pain can occur in the anterior or posterior aspect of the leg and typically begins at the start of a run but then lessens as running continues.

‘Shin splints’ isn’t really a single medical condition but a term used to describe a symptom rather than a cause. Shin splints are a good indication of an underlying problem. They might be caused by:

• Tibial stress fracture
• Overuse which causes irritated and swollen muscles
• Excessive foot pronation due to flat feet (reduced plantar arch) causing stretching of the muscles and tendons

If suffering from shin splints the first thing to do is cease running until it causes no pain.
RICE should be applied as soon as possible for 20-30 minutes every 3 or 4 hours until the pain has gone.

Again physical therapy is the best option to provide advice on gait, running, mobilisation treatment, orthotics and the best exercises to strengthen your muscles.

If you are increasing your running distances for the Virgin London Marathon or you are just a ‘fun’ runner but have noticed pain in the lower leg that presents after or during activity you may have shin splints. If you wish to see our osteopath Dianne King click below to make an appointment.


Sprained Ankles

Since the Olympics and the London marathon are rapidly approaching I thought it would be a good idea to discuss the most common injuries that can occur.

As an Osteopath in Islington who has had experience with various sports I understand the demand of these activities on the body, especially the joints, muscles, ligaments and tendons.

Generally muscle cramps, sprains and aches are experienced regularly either during an extensive run or after. These general injuries can be prevented by taking the time to properly warm up the major muscles of the body.

Ankle Sprains

This injury is very common amongst runners and usually occurs due to foot imbalance, which could take the form of eversion or inversion (see diagram). This causes the foot to roll in excessively during the running stride causing mild to severe pain and discomfort depending on the mechanism in which the injury occurred.


Grades of sprained ankles

Ankle sprains are defined by the severity of the sprain; Grade 1 (mild), Grade 2 (moderate) and Grade 3 (severe). With a grade 1 sprain, you may get away with just applying the standard treatment for all acute injuries: RICE, an acronym for rest, ice, compression and elevation. Obviously, a higher grade would require more treatment.

• Rest
• Ice
• Compression
• Elevation

As an Osteopath I believe it is vital to commence with conservative treatment, along with lifestyle advice and rest, if in spite of this the ankle is still weak or painful, you may need surgery.

If you have had a previous ankle injury and you are participating in the London marathon or Olympics, it is best to see an Osteopath, Physiotherapist or Chiropractor as your ankle is weak and more vulnerable to future sprains. In order to prevent this, your health care professional will give you advice on strengthening your ankle to enable you to run confidently.

If you are having problems with your sprained ankle and you want to make an appponment with Dianne King, one of our osteoapaths in Islington at the Angel Osteopathic Clinic click below.

How to Prevent Injuries in Sport and Dancing

Good practices for exercise, sports and for dancing can help prevent injury and can also aid recovery from injury. This article is by the osteopath in Islington at the Angel Osteopathic Clinic.

 Warming up and Cooling down

This is a must when preparing to participate in any sport or intense exercise of any kind.
A good warm-up dilates your blood vessels, ensuring that your muscles are well supplied with oxygen. It also raises your muscles' temperature for optimal flexibility and efficiency. By slowly raising your heart rate, the warm-up also helps minimize stress on your heart when you start your run.

As an osteopath in Islington at the Angel Osteopathic Clinic we see a lot of patients with hectic lives and we have to remind them that it is just as critical to cool-down correctly as it keeps the blood flowing throughout the body. Stopping suddenly can cause light-headedness because your heart rate and blood pressure drop rapidly. Winding down slowly allows them to fall gradually.

Warming up

• The most common mistake people make is to warm up by stretching. It is not a good idea to stretch cold muscles. The best warm up you could do is a light aerobic exercise for 5 to 10 minutes, to loosen up your muscles and increase your body temperature. This could take the form of jogging, light dance steps/routines, cycling or power walking.

• After you complete the exercise/activity, cool down by walking or jogging slowly for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, to bring your heart rate back to normal.

• After your cool down it is then safe to stretch your muscles. A few stretches are demonstrated below. Hold each stretch for 15 to 30 seconds.

Cooling down

• This is equally as important as warming up and prevents DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness)

• Cooling down does not only assist the body in returning to a normal state but also reduces chances of injury and helps to alleviate any soreness.

• The most important rules to remember when stretching are:

o Do not bounce
o Pull gently to the point of feeling the stretch. If you feel pain, back off slightly.
o Breathe normally


Quad Stretch

• Stand with one hand holding onto something for balance
• Stand on one leg.
• Grasp the other leg behind you above the ankle or at the foot.
• Hold.

 Pull the leg down for more of a stretch.


Gastrocnemius and Soleus (calf muscles)

• Stand against a wall.
• Bring one leg forward bending at the knee.
• Other leg back, straight.
• Lean into the forward leg, watching to make sure the knee does NOT go over the toe
• Hold.
• Now lift the back heel slightly, bending at the knee. This will stretch the soleus.


Gluteal Stretch

• Sit with one leg forward.
• Bend other knee and bring foot to lateral of straight leg
• Twist gently feeling the pull through the IT and piriformis


Hip Flexor Stretch

• Stand straight and bring front leg forward to 90 degree angle.
• Squat down feeling the stretch through the front of the hip


Hamstring Stretch

• Stand straight and bend slightly at hip.
• Put one foot out in front so leg is straight.
• Place your hands on your thighs to support your body weight
• You should feel this in the back of your legs



You can also use a step or a chair to help increase the stretch.


Other Stretches

• Shoulder rotations (shrug shoulders rotating forward, rotating back)
• Ankle rotations (rotate ankles clockwise, then counter-clockwise)
• (get on knees, sit back onto feet, lean forward with arms in front and head touching ground)
• Neck rotation


This article was by the osteopath in Islington at the Angel Osteopathic Clinic. If you are a dancer with an injury or sportsmsn with an injury and you want to make an appointment with the osteopath at the Islington Clinic please click below.

Dancing related injuries

This article is by Dianne King one of the osteoapths at Islington's Angel Osteopathic Clinic. Dianne was a keen dancer and understands the demands dancing places on the body and the injuries dancers sustain.

This article looks at:

• Ankle Sprains and Foot Injuries
• Knee Injuries
• Hamstring Injuries
• Back Injuries

Dancing and other sport activities can be extremely strenuous on the mind and especially the body. As an Osteopath who has had experience with dance and various sports I understand the demand of these activities on the body, especially the joints, muscles, ligaments and tendons.

Generally muscle cramps, sprains and aches are experienced regularly either during dancing or after. These general injuries can be prevented by taking the time to properly warm up the major muscles of the body. New dancers especially must build their strength and flexibility slowly and safely.

The most common dance injuries are:
• Ankle Sprains and Foot Injuries
• Knee Injuries
• Hamstring Injuries
• Back Injuries

Ankle Sprains

This injury is the most common when dancing. Only a few dancers are able to perform without spraining their ankle. Ankle sprains are defined by the severity of the sprain; Grade 1 (mild), Grade 2 (moderate) and Grade 3 (severe). With a grade 1 sprain, you may get away with just applying the standard treatment for all acute injuries: RICE, an acronym for rest, ice, compression and elevation. Obviously, a higher grade would require more treatment.

• Rest
• Ice
• Compression
• Elevation

As an Osteopath working in Islington I believe it is vital to commence with conservative treatment, along with lifestyle advice and rest, if in spite of this the ankle is still weak, painful, you may need surgery.

Foot Injuries

A good example of foot injury is plantar fasciitis, which is particularly common in ballet dancers. This condition is an inflammatory process to the plantar fascia, which is the broad tissue on the sole of the heel. Pain is mostly felt in the heel or the arch of the foot. Dancers have to be very careful of how they jump and land. Treatment usually involves rest and assuring the dancer has good footwear.

Knee Injuries

The knee is one of the largest joints in the body and therefore the most vulnerable. Depending on the dance genre knee injuries can be quite common. If the choreography involves a lot of squats and bending such as street dance this can be most damaging to the knee tissues especially the cartilage. Knee injuries that are commonly experienced in relation to dance are meniscal, cartilage and ligamentous injuries. Treatment should again involve RICE and definite conservative treatment for a minimum of 6 weeks depending on the severity.

I recommend that anybody who is interested in dancing should make sure their hip range of movement is sufficient enough before committing to a dance group. This is to ensure that you are not over-using your knee in certain dance movements hence increasing the vulnerability for an injury.

Hamstring Injuries

The hamstrings (and also quadriceps) are used in a majority of dances which utilize the lower body. Most of us suffer from tight hamstrings and funnily enough this is the main cause for hamstring injuries in dancers. Again I can’t stress how important it is to conduct a good warm up to these muscles and more importantly a cool down. Stretching is a gruelling task that not many people enjoy but it is very necessary.

Back Injuries

There are a wide range of back problems that can occur while dancing. Facet irritation or muscle sprain or spasm, are the most common problems that can occur in the back whilst dancing.

As a dancer you have to be cautious of your posture when doing a dance routine that involves your back, as you are placing a lot of emotional stress on the joints and this can be the reason why most of you say “Owww! My back has gone!”

Physical therapy such as Osteopathy is your best bet, again depending on the severity. In regards to advice it is important to maintain a correct posture. This means taking into account your core stability also.

Dancing injuries may be inevitable however there is a wide range of things you can do to reduce the severity and discomfort, as mentioned above.

I enjoy integrating the knowledge I have obtained as an osteopath with the skills I have learnt whilst dancing to produce an effective program to prevent, treat and manage injuries effectively.

For more information about how osteoapthy can help dancers or to book an appointment with our osteopath in Islington at the Angel Osteopathic Clinic click below.

Spondylolisthesis as a cause of low back pain

This article is written by the osteopath in Islington at the Angel Osteopathic Clinic. This article looks at how a spondylolisthesis causes back pain.

• What is a spondylolisthesis
• What causes a spondylolisthesis
• Symptoms of spondylolisthesis
• Grading of spondylolisthesis

What is a spondylolisthesis

The most common spondylolisthesis is an anterolisthesis. This is when one vertebra slips forward on the vertebra below. This is most common at the fifth lumbar vertebra when it slips forward on the first sacral segment.

Anterolisthesis is graded as 1-4, a grade 1 anterolisthesis is when there has been a slippage of 25% forward, a grade 2 is a slippage of 50% etc.

A retrolisthesis is less common, this is when the vertebra slips backwards on the vertebra below.



Types of spondylolisthesis

Type 1: dysplastic spondylolisthesis occurs secondary to a defect with the facet joints at L5S1 resulting in gradual forward slipping of the vertebra.

Type 2: this occurs when there is a defect in the pars interarticularis. Slippage of the vertebra may occur. If there is slippage it is called an isthmic spondylolisthesis. If there is no slippage and if there is just the pars defect it is known as spondylolysis.
This type of spondylolisthesis is most associated with hyperextension injuries and micro stress fractures of the pars.

Type 3: this spondylolisthesis is not associated with a pars defect but with degeneration of the lumbar facet joints and is common in the elderly but doesn’t result in more than a 30% slippage.

Type 4: this is a traumatic spondylolisthesis and occurs when there is fracture to the posterior elements of the vertebral body.

Type 5: this is a pathological spondylolisthesis and is associated with a tumour or other disease process causing weakness to the posterior elements.

What causes a spondylolisthesis

• Hyperextension injuries such as in gymnasts
• Tumours or pathology
• Degenerative changes
• Traumatic
• Congenital

Signs and symptoms of spondylolisthesis

There are often very few symptoms of a grade 1 spondylolisthesis other than a bit of back pain and nothing more than in the rest of the population. As the percentage of slippage of the spondylolisthesis increases so the symptoms may increase. Low back pain may increase and there may be pain into the buttocks and legs. There may also be increased muscle spasm in the lumbar spine and in the buttocks and tight hamstrings.


The symptoms may be activity related and on cessation of activity symptoms of low back pain and muscle spasm may go away.

Other back pain related articles

The different types of slipped disc and low back pain

Piriformis syndrome causing back pain and sciatica

Spinal stenosis and back pain

Video about osteopathy and back pain

What is spondylitis and why does it cause back pain

If you have low back pain and want to rule out a spondylolisthesis as the cause of your low back pain arrange to see our Islington osteopath.  For an appointment click below.

Osteoporosis as the cause of back pain


This article is by our Islington osteopath  from the Angel Osteopathic Clinic and looks at the causes of the sudden onset of back pain.

• Osteoporosis
• Symptoms of osteoporosis fracture
• What happens when osteoporosis causes back pain

Frequency of osteoporosis causing back pain

The sudden onset of back pain in anyone over 50 a compression fracture has to be ruled out. Experts recommend that women over 45 with sudden onset of low back pain and a history or a susceptibility to osteoporosis should be investigated for a vertebral compression fracture. Women are four times more likely to have back pain form osteoporosis than men. In the UK, one in two women and one in five men over the age of 50 will fracture a bone due to osteoporosis.

National osteoposis society




Symptoms of osteoporotic fracture causing back pain

Back pain may or may not be a symptom so there may be other symptoms, such as loss of height, difficulty in movement such as twisting and bending forwards and backwards. There may or may not be associated spinal deformity.

• Loss of vertebral height
• Backpain
• Spinal deformity
• Pain on twisting and bending forwards and backwards

Commonly the back pain associated with a vertebral compression fracture occurs during a routine activity such as bending or lifting but in extreme cases the back pain can occur following sneezing or a minor stumble or trip.

What happens when osteoporosis causes back pain

In an osteoporosis compression fracture there is a decrease in the density of the bone in the vertebra and this leads to a collapse to the front part of the vertebral body producing a wedged shape vertebra. Due to the collapse of the front of the vertebra there is rarely any neurological involvement and this differentiates it from a vertebral collapse due resulting from a pathological fracture.



These fractures can lead to a decrease of up to 20% in this anterior vertebral body height osteoporotic fracture of the thoracic spineand this is most common in the thoracic area of the back and may lead to an increase in the thoracic kyphosis and the development of a 'dowagers hump'. These fractures are easy to pick up on x-ray and do not require any more specialist imaging technique.


Other relevent articles

Rib problems causing back pain and chest pain

Video from our Islington osteopath

Spinal stenosis as a cause of back pain

What is spondylitis and why does it cause back pain


If you are in your 40's, 50's or older and you have noticed back pain on bending and twisitng or bending forward or backwards. Or maybe there is a change in your posture or you have noticed the onset of mid back pain, it may be a good idea to get a diagnosis. The Angel Wellbeing Clinic in Islington has it's own onsite x-ray facilities and this can aid the diagnosis for this and a number of other conditions.

If you want to make an appointment with our Islington chiropractic practitioner, osteopath or physiotherapist to diagnose your back pain click below to make an appointment.

Cervicogenic headaches

This article is by the osteopath in Islington at the Angel Osteopathic Clinic. This article looks at:

• What is cervicogenic headache
• Where is the pain from cervicogenic headache
• Neck pain as the cause of cervicogenic headache
• Nerves of the neck and where they refer pain


Types of headache

There are a number of different headaches, tension headaches, common migraines, classical migraines, trigeminal neuralgia, and occipital neuralgia, cluster headaches and cervicogenic headaches.




Where does the pain come from

Cervicogenic headaches are caused by referred pain from both the bony and soft tissue structures of the neck and can obviously result from trauma to the neck such as from a whiplash injury or other trauma but also and more commonly from poor postural habits and even front sleepers who spend a good percentage of the night with the head in rotation.

The pain in a cervicogenic headache can mimic that of a migraine or a tension headache and as such diagnosis can be difficult and so the Cervicogenic Headache International Study Group came up with criteria to make diagnosis easier.

Diagnosis of cervicogenic headaches

Diagnostic Criteria for Cervicogenic Headache by The Cervicogenic Headache International Study Group Diagnostic Criteria. (Modified from Biondi DM: Cervicogenic headache: mechanisms, evaluation, and treatment strategies. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2000;100(9 Suppl):S7-14. Source: Sjaastad 0, Fredriksen TA, Pfaffenrath V. Cervicogenic headache: diagnostic criteria. Headache. 1998;38:442-445.)

Neck related headache must have at least one of the following:

1. The head pain must be preceded by:
Neck movement or
Prolonged awkward head position
Pressure over the upper half of the neck or base of the skull on the headache side
2. Restricted motion of the neck
3. Neck, shoulder or arm pain
If all three are present, the likelihood of neck related headache as the cause is most likely

Characteristics of Neck Related Headache

Often, a history of neck trauma (whiplash, sprain, strain)
One sided headache that does not change sides
Occasionally, the pain may be on both sides
Pain located at base of skull, front of head, sides of head or around the eyes
Pain may last hours or days
The headache usually begins in the neck
The headache is moderate to severe in intensity
The headache is not throbbing
The pain is not sharp

Other features which may be noted:

Sensitivity to sound
Sensitivity to light
Difficulty swallowing
Blurred vision on the side of the headache
Tearing on the side of the headache
Swelling around the eye on the side of headache

A good postural evaluation should be carried out with anyone with a headache as it is common for there to be altered neck posture and a decrease in rotation of the cervical spine with pain on passive extension and rotation. There may also be point tenderness over the facet joints on the side towards rotation. Trigger points may also be found at the base of the head in the region of the sub occipital muscles and in the shoulder musculature and these may refer pain over the head when stimulated.

Nerves of the neck and where they cause pain

The nerve roots of the first three cervical nerves can refer pain over the head:

C1 nerve: the sub-occipital nerve innervates the joint between the neck and the skull. Injuring this joint can cause pain over the sub-occipital region or back of the head.

C2 nerve: this supplies the joint between the first and second neck vertebrae. Damage to this joint or surrounding structures can cause head pain over the temples and into the region around and behind the eyes

C3 nerve: supplies the joint between the second and third cervical vertebrae and damage to this joint can cause pain in a similar location to the C2 nerve. The joint between C2 and C3 is the most common area of the neck damaged in a whiplash.

Other relevant articles

Slipped disc in the neck

What type of migraine do you get?

Different types of headaches

If you get headaches you may have a problem with your neck. To make an appointment with our osteopath in Islington at the Angel Osteopathic Clinic click below.

Piriformis syndrome and why can it cause back pain and sciatica

This article about back pain is by the Islington osteoapath from the Angel Osteopathic Clinic. This article covers:

• What is the piriformis muscle
• Where is piriformis
• What does it do
• What is piriformis syndrome


Where is piriformis


Piriformis is a muscle that runs from the hip to the anterior surface of the sacrum at the base of the spine. The main function of this muscle is to externally rotate and extend the hip. When the hip is flexed the piriformis abducts the hip. Piriformis also crosses the sacroiliac joint and this can be significant when there is a problem with the muscle.

In approximately 85% of the population the sciatic nerve passes between the layers of muscle but in a minority the sciatic nerve pierces the muscle.

What is piriformis syndrome

Piriformis syndrome is when the sciatic nerve becomes pinched by the piriformis muscle. This can cause pain in the distribution of the sciatic nerve and produce sciatica as well as causing deep gluteal or buttock pain. This can occur during episodes of back pain when suffering from a slipped disc as well as other symptoms.

• Deep buttock pain
• Pain down the sciatic nerve
• Pain on sitting
• Pain walking down an incline

Women post childbirth or in the lead up to childbirth can also be prone to piriformis syndrome as the muscle helps to maintain the alignment of the sacroiliac joints by contracting. This sustained contraction can lead to fatigue and contraction of the muscle


If you have back pain and/or sciatica or maybe you have buttock pain and you are near Islington osteopathy at the Angel Osteopathic Clinic may help. Click below to make an appointment.

Neck pain and slipped discs

This article is by our Islington osteopathy practitioner at the Angel Osteopathic Clinic. This article looks at neck pain caused by a slipped disc and trapped nerve in the neck:

• Anatomy of the spine in the neck
• Why we get neck problems
• Signs and symptoms of a slipped disc

Anatomy of the neck

Each vertebra in the spine is separated at the front by an intervertebral disc and at the back by the facet joints. Both the facet joints and the disc are designed to allow the spine to move with different parts of the spine designed to move in different ways. This is facilitated by the variation of these structures as you go down the spine.

The neck or cervical spine can flex and extend, rotate and laterally flex allowing the head, eyes and the ears to be moved independently of the torso, which is clearly of great evolutionary advantage.

The neck is also curved into a lordosis, which is a ‘c’ shaped curve with the opening at the back. This shape plus the discs ability to absorb impact helps keep the head in a nice stable position when moving about. Imagine our ancestors trying to run across rough ground, spear in hand trying to catch dinner whilst having to deal with blurred or shaky vision.

Why we get neck problems

The neck has evolved to enable us to live hunter gatherer lifestyles but hunting and gathering today for a lot of us involves sitting at a desk for eight to ten hours a day and then when we get home form work we often sit in front of a computer again.

If the ergonomics of our desk aren’t correct the seated position can lead to the neck becoming flexed and the head extended where it articulates with the first neck vertebra, C1.

This loss of the cervical lordosis and the loss of the extension of the neck take the discs out of compression, which is the position they are anatomically designed to work in, and creates shearing forces through the vertebrae. Over a period of time these forces plus the rotation of the neck can lead to disc failure and the ‘slipped disc’. Over time the discs and the facet joints slowly wear out and arthritis sets in with pain, discomfort and stiffness the result.

A lot of neck, shoulder, arm, hand and headaches can then be considered repetitive strain injuries (RSI) as they result from faulty ergonomics and posture and tissue failure. It is clearly essential that a full postural assessment at work should be carried by someone with a thorough understanding of clinical biomechanics and with an ability to make a diagnosis for the effective management of the problem and possible solution.

If you want to benefit from our Islington chiropractic practitioner assessing your workplace click the logo at the bottom of the page to arrange a workplace assessment.

Signs and symptoms of a slipped disc in the neck

The pain from a slipped disc occurs when the disc bulges between two vertebrae and puts pressure on a nerve. This pressure to the nerve can cause the neck pain, and arm pain including the symptoms of numbness and tingling. The most common levels where cervical discs herniate are C5-C6 and C6-C7. If there is a herniation of the disc at C5-C6 the disc affects the C6 nerve root.

• C4/C5 Disc herniation: This affects the distribution of the C5 nerve root. It can cause the deltoid muscle to be weak and also can cause shoulder pain. This affects the lateral upper arm. It usually does not cause numbness and tingling.

• C5/C6 Disc herniation: This affects the distribution of the C6 nerve root. It can cause numbness and tingling in the lower lateral arm, affecting the thumb and index finger. The muscles affected are the biceps and the wrist extensor muscles with a decrease in the biceps reflex possible.

• C6/C7 Disc Herniation: This affects the distribution of the C7 nerve root. It can cause numbness and tingling along the 3rd digit (the long finger) and the triceps muscle can become weaker. It can also affect the triceps muscle causing numbness and tingling. A decrease in the triceps reflex can also result.

• C7/T1 Disc Herniation: This affects the distribution of the T1 nerve root. It can cause weakness including the ability to squeeze and hold on to objects. Numbness and tingling and pain can radiate down the arm to the little finger side of hand.

Other relevent articles

What is spondylitis and why does it cause back pain

Different types of slipped disc

Back pain caused by facet joint injury

Back pain and sciatica

What is a slipped disc?

What is the 'pop' from your back when you have oteopathic treatment

Back pain in pregnancy

Will your acute episode of low back pain become chronic low back pain


If you have neck pain, headaches or arm and hand pain and you can get to the Angel Wellbeing Clinic our Islington osteopath may help. If our Islington osteopath is not able to help you they will refer you to a specialist for treatment. If you want to make an appointment with our Islington osteopath please click below.

Do you know there are different types of slipped disc?


This article is by the osteopath in Islington at the Angel Osteopathic Clinic and looks at the five or six different possible disc injuries that can occur. These disc injuries can lead to the signs and symptoms of a trapped nerve or pinched nerve.

• Disc bulge
• Disc herniation
• Disc protrusion
• Disc sequestration

Disc pain is a common problem and most back pain has some component of disc pain. The anatomy of the intervertebral disc enables it to support weight and to act as a shock absorber as well as to allow movement but this movement of the disc also leads it susceptible to damage. Discs in the lumbar region are bigger and fatter than in the rest of the spine and with the lumbar region having a lordosis the discs are kept in compression.

The facet joints in the lumbar spine are aligned front to back and allow flexion and extension of the lumbar spine. If the lumbar spine and the pelvis both function correctly this compression of the disc will be maintained throughout the range of motion and the discs will be safe from damage.

If the movement patterns of the pelvis and lumber spine are incorrect the forces acting on the disc will also be incorrect and the disc will be prone to damage. Most of this happens over a period of months and possibly years and the annular fibres suffer what is effectively a repetitive strain injury as a result of everyday activities that incorporate this incorrect movement pattern.

Slipped discs can be described more specifically

Disc bulge: This is due to radial tears in the annulus allowing disc material to increase the disc volume either centrally or laterally, depending on the area that has accumulated the most radial tears.

Disc herniation: This is also called a subligamentous disc herniation. This occurs when the nuclear material has protruded into the radial tears in one area and has displaced surrounding anatomic structures, i.e., proximal spinal nerve, but has not passed the annulus.

Disc protrusion: A herniated disc is still considered a contained disc as long as the protruding nuclear material is contained by the posterior longitudinal ligament-disc capsule complex.

Clinical imaging reports often use the terms disc protrusion and disc herniation indiscriminately to describe an abnormal bulging of the disc. These terms are often interchangeably used by consultants in their reports and this can lead to confusion. Disc protrusion generally signifies anatomically a focal or diffuse protrusion of the disc with an intact annulus fibrosus. The diffusely bulging disc is broad-based or slightly asymmetric and reflects disc degeneration.

The term protrusion is used to define this radiological appearance of a diffuse disc bulge.

Focal disc protrusion is often defined as a disc herniation. The term disc protrusion is inappropriate in this case and the term disc herniation is better as it defines to a focal bulging of the disc due to the extrusion of the nucleus pulposus through a tear on the annulus fibrosis.

Extruded disc or transligamentous disc. This is when the nuclear material is non-contained, since the herniated disc material is extruded beyond the posterior longitudinal ligament-disc capsule complex. Sequestered disc is the end stage of an extruded disc. The once-herniated disc material has lost continuity with its point of attachment to the disc. The disc material can then migrate within the spinal canal, becoming a free fragment.



The important points to be considered when classifying a disc lesion are

• Is the annulus fibrosis is intact.
• Is the posterior longitudinal ligament complex is intact.
• Which anatomic structures are displaced by the disc lesion.
• Do the clinical imaging findings correlate with the clinical symptoms?

Other relevent articles

What is spondylitis and why does it cause back pain

Back pain caused by facet joint injury

Back pain and sciatica

What is a slipped disc?

What is the 'pop' from your back when you have oteopathic treatment

Back pain in pregnancy

Will your acute episode of low back pain become chronic low back pain

If you have back pain or disc pain and you are in Islington osteopathic care at the Angel Osteopathic Clinic may be helpful. If you want further information or you wish to make an appointment click below.

Spinal canal stenosis and back pain

This article is by our osteopath in Islington and looks at how spinal canal stenosis causes back pain. This article covers:

• What is spinal canal stenosis
• How does it cause back pain
• Causes of spinal stenosis
• Trapped nerves and spinal canal stenosis
• Signs and symptoms of spinal canal stenosis
• Cauda equina syndrome

What is spinal canal stenosis

Spinal canal stenosis occurs when the diameter of the spinal foramina is reduced and this can then ‘choke’ the spinal nerves. This is most common in the lumbar spine but it can occur in the cervical spine where it is a lot more serious.

Spinal stenosis can result in ischaemic stenosis where it impacts upon the blood supply to the legs on activity and/or neurogenic claudication which can cause pain in the nerves in the lower limb. This pain is different from the pain down the back of the leg due to sciatica or a pinched or trapped nerve.

How does it cause back pain

As the spinal canal slowly narrows the nerves slowly get pinched. The most common reason for this is the narrowing of the spinal canal. This is commonly due to a decrease in intervertebral disc height and hypertrophy of the ligamentum flavum.

Causes of spinal stenosis

Spinal stenosis is most common in the over 50’s but it and can occur due to a number of conditions other than age:

• Congenital
• Degenerative changes and arthritis
• Hyperparathyroidism
• Paget’s disease
• Ankylosing spondylitis
• Cushings syndrome
• Acromegaly

Signs and symptoms of spinal stenosis

Spinal stenosis often presents with back pain and leg pain. There is also often numbness into the legs. Spinal stenosis is often worse on walking and it is often described as cramping and tiredness into the legs. This cramping often disappears on rest or when the knees are brought up to the chest in the foetal position as the tension of the nerve roots is reduced.

Cauda equina syndrome

This is the most serious manifestation of spinal stenosis and it occurs in the lumbar spine.

The spinal cord ends near the first lumbar vertebra in the low back. At this point it forms the conus medullaris. The bundle of nerve roots below the conus medullaris is named the cauda equina . Compression of of these nerve roots can cause symptoms of pain, change to reflexes, decreased muscle strength, and decreased sensation.

Cauda equina syndrome is considered a surgical emergency because if left untreated it can lead to permanent loss of bowel and bladder control and paralysis of the legs.

Other relevant articles for back pain

What is spondylitis and why does it cause back pain

Back pain caused by facet joint injury

Back pain and sciatica

What is a slipped disc?

what is the 'pop' from your back when you have oteopathic treatment

Back pain in pregnancy

Wil your acute episode of low back pain become chronic low back pain

If you have back pain and you are in Islington osteopathy at the Angel Osteopathic Clinic may help. Click below to make and appointment.



Sciatica and low back pain

This article is written by the osteopath in Islington at the Angel Osteopathic Clinic. This article looks at:

• What is sciatica?
• What is the sciatic nerve?
• Where is the sciatic nerve?
• Signs and symptoms of sciatica

What is sciatica?

Sciatica is a specific type of back pain that occurs when the sciatic nerve is pinched, trapped or irritated. This irritation of the nerve causes back pain and pain into the buttock, back of the thigh and sometimes the pain can extend into the back of the calf and into the foot.

Just as back pain can vary in intensity so can sciatica and it can occur with or without back pain. Sciatica usually presents over a period of time and can take a couple of months to resolve itself. It can also present as hamstring or calf tightness that can confuse the diagnosis as it can appear as though it is a muscle strain.

What is the sciatic nerve?

The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the body and is made up of individual spinal nerves. The fourth and fifth lumbar nerves as well as the first to third sacral nerves combine to form the sciatic nerve. At its thickest point when all these nerve roots combine the sciatic nerve can be 1.5cm thick.

Where is the sciatic nerve?

The nerve roots that form the sciatic nerve exit from behind the intervertebral disc and in front of the facet joints. It is at this point that the nerve is most susceptible to damage. If the nerve is pinched by a ‘slipped disc’ or a disc bulge then the position of this bulge will determine which nerve is pinched and how this damage manifests itself. If the disc bulge is more towards the middle then this can be more serious and lead to cauda equina syndrome.

Signs and symptoms of sciatica

The individual nerve roots supply different parts of the leg with neurological innervation and the location of the injury to the nerve will determine where in the leg symptoms appear. Symptoms may be tingling and pins and needles, electric shooting pains down the back of the leg, numbness into the outside of the calf and foot, weakness in muscles and decrease or absent reflexes.

These symptoms may occur with or without back pain but most commonly back pain is present at the onset of symptoms.

Other relavent articles about discs and back pain

What is spondylitis and why does it cause back pain?

Back pain and facet joint injury

Do discs slip

What is the crack you hear when you get your back treated by an osteopath

Will your acute episode of low back pain become a chronic back problem?

If you are suffering from back pain in Islington or you have leg pain and you think it could be sciatica, make an appointment with our osteopath in Islington at the Angel Osteopathic Clinic and get the correct diagnosis and treatment. Click below to make and appointment.

What is Spondylitis and why does it cause back pain?


This article is written by the osteopath in Islington at the Angel osteopathic Clinic. The article covers:

• What is spondylitis
• How spondylitis affects the intervertebral discs.
• Symptoms of spondylitis.
• Spondylitis and facet joints.

• Spondylitis of the ligaments and muscles.


What is spondylitis?

Spondylosis is another name for osteoarthritis of the spine and is a degenerative process that involves the spine and the surrounding soft tissues and this can then lead to back pain and back ache. Degenerative changes can occur due to age but can also follow trauma, injury and infection. This degenerative process can involve the cervical (neck), the thoracic and lumbar spine and apart from pain and affects all parts of the spine, the intervertebral discs and the facet joint and can affect all parts of the spine, the intervertebral discs and the facet joints. Symptoms of stiffness and decreased flexibility can be present.

How spondylitis affects the intervertebral discs

There are two parts to the intervertebral disc. The gelatinous nucleus pulposus and the elastic annulus fibrosus that contains the nucleus.

Degenerative changes can lead to the annular fibres becoming weaker which can lead to micro tears and a decrease of the elastic properties. Eventually the micro tears can join together to create bigger tears which can obviously lead to back pain. The nucleus is also prone to degenerative changes and these changes result in the gelatinous nucleus becoming less able to retain fluid. This leads to an inability to absorb shock and impact. As the process of spondylosis progresses the disc height becomes reduced and the propensity to herniation increases and a slipped disc can result.

Symptoms of spondylitis

• Back pain that is intermittent.
• Stiffness in the back in the morning that improves with activity.
• Pain around the joints of the spine.
• Headaches and neck and shoulder pain.
• Low back pain, buttock pain and sciatica down the back of the leg.
• Tingling or weakness in the arms or legs.
• Decreased flexibility.
• Difficulty in walking.
• Increased or decreased curves to the spine.

Spondylitis of the facet joints

Each vertebra has two pairs of joints to join them to the vertebrae above and below them. The facet joints are not major weight bearing joints their function is to guide the movement of the spine. Just like any other joint in the body they have cartilage covering the articulating surfaces reducing friction and allowing the joints to glide over one another. Spondylosis of the facet joints can lead to a reduction in the cartilage and the ease of movement of the joints. There can also be the formation of bony spurs or osteophytes around the joints and these can push forward and compromise the spinal nerves as well as reduce the mobility of the joints.

Ligaments and muscles and how spondylitis effects them

These structures also are compromised in spondylitis of the spine. Ligaments that help support the spine can weaken and eventually collapse. The small intervertebrtal muscles of the spine can also thicken and be less effective at feeding back proprioceptive information.

Other articles about back pain

Back pain and sciatica

Back pain and facet joint injury

What is a slipped disc?

What is the crack you hear when you get your back treated by an osteopath

Will your acute episode of back pain become a chronic problem?


If you have back pain and you think it may be due to spondylitis you need to get a diagnosis so make an appointment with the osteopath in Islington. To make an appointment with the Islington osteopath at the Angel Osteopathic Clinic click below.

Back Pain caused by Facet Joint Injury


This article is about how the facet joints in the spine function and how they get injured and cause back pain. The article looks at:

  • Anatomy

  • Function

  • How facet joints get injured and cause back pain.


Vertebrae are joined to each other by the intervertebral disc and by paired facet joints. Facet joints are like most of the other joints in the body and contain cartilage and a capsule containing synovial fluid. The facet joints also have a nerve supply and it is the stimulation of these nerves that can cause back pain to be felt.


Function of the joints

Facet joints are not major weight bearing joints but their alignment guides the movement of the spine. In the lumbar spine the joints face form front to back and this allows the lumbar spine to move in flexion and extension. In the thoracic spine where the ribs are the joints sit like slates on a roof and this allows rotation of the spine in this area. In the neck the joints sit more on top of each other and this allow the movement in all directions.

How facet joints cause back pain

The majority of the body’s weight is transferred through the intervertebral discs with only a small amount being transferred through the facet joints. During certain movements such as bending and twisting, more weight can be transferred through the joints than they are able to cope with and the joint gets injured, damaging the cartilage in the joint and tearing the capsule and soft tissues surrounding the joint. Sustained poor posture and poor seating can also cause the joints to fail and cause back pain.

Symptoms of facet joint back pain

There is often a lot of spasm at the level of the involved joint and pain on specific movements, particularly twisting and leaning backwards. There may also be loss of the normal curve in the area of the spine involved. Back pain associated with facet joints can also refer into the buttocks and over the hips and develop following sitting for long periods.

If you have back pain from the facet joints or from a slipped disc it is worth getting an accurate diagnosis. If you want to see our osteopath in Islington and find out the cause of your back pain click below to make an appointment.


Adhesive capsulitis or Frozen shoulder

This article is written by the osteopath at Islington’s Angel Osteopathic Clinic and looks at this common shoulder problem. This article looks at:

• anatomy of the frozen shoulder
• signs and symptoms
• causes

Frozen shoulder or adhesive capsulitis to give it its medical name is a condition that leads to the shoulder joint becoming painful and stiff. This ‘freezing’ phase may take a few days to a few months during which the shoulder joint becomes painful and less mobile and then this gives way to the ‘frozen’ phase. This phase is often less painful but there is stiffness and a very reduced range of motion. There can be wasting of the shoulder muscles during this. This gives way to the ‘thawing’ phase when mobility gradually returns to the shoulder.

Signs and symptoms

Most commonly affected movements are internal and external rotation of the shoulder so patients often have trouble putting their affected side hand into their back pocket. Reaching for door handles and combing hair can be some of the tasks that can be affected and the whole process from freezing to thawing may take three years or more.

Women are more susceptible to frozen shoulder than men and in particular the 40-60 year age group. Other underline conditions can increase the likelihood of developing a frozen shoulder such as diabetes, Parkinson’s and thyroid conditions. Frozen shoulder can also develop subsequently to an injury to the shoulder such as a fall.

A small percentage will be unfortunate enough to go on to develop a frozen shoulder in the other previously unaffected shoulder.


The capsule around the glenohumeral joint in the shoulder becomes thickened in a frozen shoulder.

Causes of frozen shoulder

Frozen shoulder is caused by the inflammation, scarring, thickening, and shrinkage of the capsule that surrounds the shoulder joint. There may be an immune system malfunction that causes the shoulder capsule to be ‘rejected’ and this results in the thickening of the structure.

Other shoulder articles

Tennis and shoulder injuries


If you have shoulder pain or your shoulder joint is restricted and troubling you make an appointment with the osteoapth at Islington’s Angel Osteopathic Clinic for an assessment. If you wish to make an appointment please click below.



Rib and Chest pain: Costovertebral Arthralgia

This article looks at rib and chest pain or costovertebral joint arthralgia to give it its correct title. This article covers:

• Signs and symptoms
• Anatomy of costovertebral joint
• Causes

Signs and symptoms

Sudden onset of chest pain is common but thankfully the majority of times it isn’t anything serious. Obviously if anyone presents at the clinic with a sudden onset of chest pain a number of medical conditions have to be ruled out. Cardiac problems need to be explored with a thorough history and then examination and the lungs need to be listened to. Spontaneous pneumothorax also needs to be excluded.

Most patients with costovertebral joint pain may present with a sudden onset of upper back pain, often between the shoulder blades but anywhere in the thoracic spine is possible. This will often be described as a stabbing pain. This pain is often one sided and often was the result of a particular movement or activity which can aid the diagnosis.

There may be muscle spasm in the paraspinal muscles that run up and down the spine on the affected side and there may be a focal point of tenderness over the affected costovertebral joint. On occasions pain may radiate around to the front of the chest and the sterno-costal joint of the involved rib may also be very tender to touch and it may appear inflamed.

Anatomy of the costovertebral joint

In the posterior aspect of the spine the ribs articulate with the vertebrae at two joints. The costo-transverse joint and the costovertebral joint are the two articulations with the vertebrae and at the front of the spine the ribs articulate with the sterno costal joint. On breathing the ribs move up and down in a bucket handle motion and pivot at the sterno-costal joint. This articulation at the rear of the spine can be damaged or sprained on sudden movement such as from sneezing or through repetitive injury from activity or a sedentary lifestyle.


Activities that cause this condition may be twisting or lifting and bending activities. From my clinical experience sneezing can also cause this and on examination there may be a reluctance to take a deep breath in as the pain suddenly ‘catches’ at the deepest point of inspiration. A sedentary lifestyle may also contribute to the condition through making the postural muscles lazy and therefore predispose the joints in the spine to injury.

If you have chest pain or pain on breathing in then you may have a costovertebral joint sprain but a thorough examination is required to be certain. If you wish to make an appointment at Islington's Angel Osteopathic Clinic please click below.

The Benefits of Climbing on Back Pain

We are often asked by patients at our Islington clinic “what is the best exercise to do” or “what should I do to help prevent back pain”. The practitioners such as the osteopath, chiropractor and physiotherapist working at the Angel Wellbeing Clinic in Islington know there is not one specific exercise or sport to help prevent back pain and even if there was, getting someone take up a new sport and stick with it would be hard. It is always best to ask the patients what they enjoy doing and go from there.

It is far easier to get a patient to improve their technique with a sport they enjoy than to start afresh. A recent article in Spine 15 May 2011 - Volume 36 - Issue 11 - p 842–849 has pointed to the benefits of climbing as a therapeutic exercise for back pain. This study looked at 28 patients with chronic low back pain over a four-week period and considered the physical as well as psychological benefits.

Why is this study worth mentioning? North London is lucky if you are into climbing or are thinking about climbing. I bet that you are now trying to think hard about where the nearest mountain range is to the Angel Wellbing Clinic in central Islington. We are really talking about indoor climbing and Islington has The Castle Cimbing Centre and The Westway Climbing Centre. Both of these centres are about 20 minutes from the clinic so no excuses. Both of the centres run a good range of introductory courses at the weekend and in the evenings and in no time at all you will be climbing like a mountain goat!

The benefits for climbing are numerous for relieving stress which can cause headaches and shoulder and neck pain as well as headaches and migraines to helping get a bad back better.

Firstly there is the obvious improvement in strength, secondly, stamina improves as you slowly work your way up the wall, thirdly, there is a cardiovascular benefit. Fourthly there is a tremendous improvement in balance and coordination which is very good for the rehabilitation of a dysfunctional spine and similar to the benefits from Pilates but a lot more fun!

The final thing about the article that was interesting was they looked at the psychological benefits. Climbing is sociable as you climb with a partner, it is relaxing and there is a good sense of achievement. But what I personally think is the best psychological benefit from climbing is that is empowers you to get out of your comfort zone and gives you the power to help yourself and of course help your back-pain.

So check out The Castle Climbing Centre or The Westway Climbing Centre.

What Type of Migraine do you get?


Migraines affect one in seven adults in the UK, with women being three times more likely to get them than men. You can get migraines at any age but they are most common from adolescence up to the age of 50. About half of all people who get migraines have a family history of them.

The most common types of migraine are migraine with aura (classic migraine) and migraine without aura (common migraine). Aura is like a set of warning symptoms that comes on just before your migraine.

Common aura symptoms include:

• visual disturbances – such as flashing or flickering lights, zigzag lines, blurred vision, temporary blindness
• numbness or a tingling sensation – common in the hands, arm or face, similar to ‘pins and needles’
• slurred speech
• poor concentration
• problems with your co-ordination

Most people don’t get aura with their migraines. The general symptoms of migraines include:

• a headache that lasts anything from four up to 72 hours
• pulsating or throbbing pain, often just on one side of your head
• a headache that gets worse when you’re active or stops you from being active
• feeling sick or vomiting
• increased sensitivity to light and noise

Most people don’t need to see their GP when they get a migraine. However, it’s a good idea to see him or her if your migraine changes or if they start suddenly.

• your migraines become more frequent or get worse over time
• you’re over 50 and you have never had a migraine before
• you get aura symptoms lasting more than an hour

You may get a migraine at any time, when you wake up, during the day or at night. You may be able to sense when a migraine attack is about to start. This is different from aura, instead it’s a sensation that a migraine may be beginning. Irritability, lack of concentration, food cravings and tiredness can all warn you that you may be getting a migraine. A third of people have aura with their migraine. Aura symptoms don’t tend to last for more than an hour and you usually get them before the general headache symptoms of a migraine start.

If you are sufferring from migraine why not arrange an appointment with the osteopath at Islington's Angel Osteopathic Clinic. If you want an appointment please click below.

This article looks at the different types of headaches that can be treated at the Islington's Angel Wellbeing Clinic. This article covers the following:

  • Tension headaches

  • Hormone headaches

  • Cluster headaches

  • Chronic daily headaches

Tension Headaches

Tension-type headaches affect almost everyone at some point. Those that happen occasionally are just that: occasional headaches. Some people, however, have tension-type headaches just about every day, and these are considered to be chronic. Headache symptoms for tension-type headaches usually include pressure or muscle tension on both sides of the head or back of the neck; the pain is usually constant, not sharp or throbbing. Many people describe them as like having a band squeezed around their head. These headaches whether they are the acute or the chronic type respond well to treatment.

Hormone Headaches

Hormone headaches are menstrual headaches that may start before your period is due or while you’re menstruating. Migraines are often associated with menstruation, and symptoms include sharp, throbbing pain on one side of the head, nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light, sound, and even touch.

Cluster Headaches

Cluster headaches affect men more often than women. They are extremely intense, very severe headaches that last between 30 and 45 minutes; you can have several in one day. They usually come on with no warning, catching people by surprise. The pain is piercing and usually located on one side of the head, often around the eye. People also report teary eyes on the affected side and sinus congestion. The headaches will recur over a period of time, almost always on the same side, and are followed by a headache-free period of varying length.

Chronic Daily Type Headache

Chronic Daily Headache is defined as a headache type which is present on most days typically occurring over a six-month period or longer and it can be daily and unremitting. In some patients, an episode of chronic headache resolves in a much shorter time. It can occur in children and in the very old. Twice as many men have it compared to women and the symptoms can last for decades.

About 50% of patients attending a doctor with a headache will have Chronic Daily Headache. Chronic Daily Headache Type is characterised by a combination of background, low-grade muscle contraction-type symptoms, often with stiffness in the neck, and superimposed migrainous symptoms. Patients might have had migraine in the past and experienced a difficult patch of high frequency headache.

Ice Pick/Ice cream Headache Type Typically the patient is young to middle aged and patients describe a short piercing pain like a flash of lightening lasting from seconds to minutes and may occur several times a day. Ice Pick headache type usually involves one eye and bruised after the pain has gone. Some patients find cold foods trigger the pain. Sometimes the patient has multiple attacks per day on a daily basis.

If you are suffering from headaches please call our Islington clinic and arrange to speak to one of our practitioners, or make an appointment by clicking below.

What is the "Pop" you Hear when you have your Spine Manipulated by an Osteopath?

This article is written by the osteopath at Islington's Angel Osteopathic Clinic and looks at:

  • what is the "pop" you hear when you receive and osteopathic manipulation

  • what the benefits to the body from an osteopathic manipulation

Osteopaths are probably best known for their ability to relieve back pain, through various soft tissue techniques and manipulation of the spine is probably there most well know. As to the “pop” often associated with spine manipulation this is just one type of many differing techniques used by a registered osteopath.

An osteopath is trying to restore function and stability not only to your spine, but also to your underlying blood suply and nervous system. Trying to get your brain to “talk” to every part of your body, to help you reach your full potential.

What is the "popping" sound you hear when you visit an osteopath?

There is fluid between each of the joints in your spine. When you hear that sound (which is called a "cavitation"), it is simply gas being released from that fluid - it is not the bone cracking! It is just like the sound you hear when you pop the lid off a new jar of jam - In the back it is the sound of gas being released from within the fluid.

Not all adjustments create this sound, so the effectiveness of an adjustment should not be judged by the presence or loudness of the sound. The aim here is to get the vertebrae to move in the correct motion thereby having an affect on the underlying tissues and nervous system.

The sound seems louder when you get your neck adjusted simply because your neck is closer to your ears!

there is a lot more to osteopathic manipulation than just joint popping. In fact the audible pop doesn’t even need to occur for a successful manipulation, though it often does, and some patients and doctors like to hear it. Research has found that pop or not, the same benefits are experienced and that trying repeatedly to get a pop can actually cause damage.

Benefits of the “crack”

Proprioceptive stimulation triggers the release of endorphins from the spine. These endorphins cause a near instant and temporary relief similar to pain medication making you less aware of the problem.

Osteopathic manipulation is thought to provide improved nutrient supply. The cartilage and other structures inside of a joint have no blood supply. These structures get their nutrients through motion.

Manipulation can reduce pressure on the nerves. Your nervous system is the control centre of your body. Nerves and nerve bundles are soft tissue and they don’t function well under physical pressure. In fact it has been shown that inflammation, a bulging disc, or fragment of disc floating around can interfere with proper nerve conduction. The adjustment can cause a relief of this pressure through movement of the joint to the correct position, or motion.

Proprioceptive retraining allows for improved function. The brain also records these proprioceptive signals from the joints motion. Especially for chronic conditions the brain is in need of retraining regarding the motion of that joint. Manipulation takes a joint through its full range of motion. This new input is then stored and replayed in the brain, similar to muscle retraining that physical therapists will do, or physical training of athletes, when the body has done the motion enough times it remembers it. This retraining provides a functional correction that may provide pain relief.

If you require an appointment at Islington's Angel Osteopathic Clinic please click below.


Summary of Fertility Treatment Acronyms


This article is by Orly Barziv, Angel Wellbeing Clinic's acupuncturist. Orly looks at common fertility treatments:


  • ivf
  • icsi
  • iui


ICSI is a highly advanced type of in vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment where fertilisation is achieved after injecting a single sperm into each egg of the female partner. 

With the benefit of ICSI it is possible to obtain fertilisation when very few sperms are obtained from men who are sterile. Sperms are taken by the minimally invasive techniques, usually under local anaesthetic.

The female partner’s treatment and egg collection are the same as in the standard IVF protocols.

The sperm cells obtained are prepared in a laboratory and are then ready for injection into the eggs by ICSI. Each egg is injected with one sperm, which has been selected by the embryologist.

If an adequate number of sperm are obtained at the time of the procedure, the sperm and/or testicular tissue containing sperm not used for the ICSI procedure can be frozen for later use.


Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is a relatively low tech assisted fertility treatment. Intrauterine insemination involves preparing the male partners sperm in the laboratory and then placing only those sperm which move well and are normally formed in the women’s uterus. The sperm are transferred into the uterus at the time of ovulation. IUI can be performed with the sperm of the male partner or with donor sperm.

The success of intrauterine insemination depends on 2 factors: The reason it is being performed and whether performed in a drug stimulated or natural i.e. drug free cycle.
In general intrauterine insemination is a good assisted conception treatment.

Treatment starts at the beginning of the woman’s menstrual cycle. Typically, you would commence drug treatment by one injection of Gonal-F on the second day of your period (day two of the cycle). Further injections are given on the fourth, sixth and eighth days of your cycle, and on the ninth or tenth day of the cycle you would need an ultrasound scan.
Depending upon your ultrasound picture, further injections may be given on, or after, the tenth day of the cycle and the dose of drug may be increased or decreased. The aim of the stimulation is to achieve the development of two or three mature eggs to maximise your chances of pregnancy. Eggs are thought to be mature when they develop in follicles that are approximately 2cm in diameter. The number of follicles and the size of the follicles is therefore assessed at ultrasound. You may need two or more ultrasound scans in your treatment cycle to determine the optimum response.

When you have follicles of the appropriate number and size in your ovary, arrangements will be made for you to have a final injection (Ovitrelle). This causes the eggs to be ovulated approximately 24 to 40 hours later. The timing of your injection will be carefully determined to enable insemination to be performed around time of ovulation.

Multiple pregnancy

The most important risk of treatment with intrauterine insemination in a stimulated cycle is the risk of multiple pregnancy. Approximately 1 in 4 women who become pregnant following this treatment will have a multiple pregnancy.

Ovarian HyperStimulation Syndrome

The second risk of treatment is Ovarian HyperStimulation Syndrome. As the ovaries are stimulated more than they would be in a natural cycle, they become larger and contain fluid filled follicles that hold the eggs. Rarely the ovaries can become very swollen leading to a condition called ‘Ovarian HyperStimulation Syndrome’.

Intrauterine insemination is a successful treatment if used in appropriate couples, for most couples, up to three cycles of intrauterine insemination may be attempted assuming a good response is being maintained.

Common Illnesses in Babies


This article is by Islington's Angel Wellbeing Clinic's Osteopath and covers illnesses common in babies such as:

  • colic

  • ear infections

  • glue ear



Colic is considered the diagnosis if the baby cries for more than three hours per day, more than three days per week, for more than three weeks.

Colic is common and most parents will experience their baby having it at some time or the other. It can occur from about four weeks and recur up to a year. Most parents will become aware of the different cries that their baby has and learn to respond to that cry in the appropriate manner and get the desired reassurance from the baby following their action. The problem with colic is that no matter what you do it doesn’t seem to ease the baby’s distress and can drive the parent to despair.

To make matters worse no one seems to be able to say exactly what colic is and what causes it so there is not a specific know treatment and consequently all sorts of myths and ‘wives tails’ have evolved.

Ear infection

Typically ear infections come on three to four days after a cold or sore throat.
A baby with earache tends to cry and tug at the ear. The ear may appear red, and there may be yellowish fluid leaking out if the eardrum has burst.

Children are more vulnerable to ear infections because their 'eustachian tubes' (the tubes connecting the ear and the throat, which 'pop' when you go up in an aeroplane) are smaller and lay flatter than in adults. This means that the infection can spread more easily from the throat to the middle ear and makes it more difficult for fluid to drain away. The tube grows and develops so that, by five or six years, ear infections become less common.

The infected fluid may affect their hearing; so a check-up is advised if your child asks you to repeat things or stares at your mouth while you are talking. Often, however, children with ear infections cannot localise the pain and all you will see is a feverish, miserable child who cannot be comforted.

Glue ear

Glue ear means that the middle ear is filled with fluid that looks like glue. It can affect one or both ears. The fluid dampens the vibrations of the eardrum and ossicles made by the sound waves, which causes the 'volume' of the hearing to be 'turned down'. Glue ear usually occurs in young children, but it can develop at any age. Glue ear is sometimes called 'otitis media with effusion' (OME).

Dulled hearing is the main symptom. Hearing does not go completely and the hearing loss is often mild. However, the severity of hearing loss varies from person to person, is sometimes quite severe, and can vary from day to day in the same person.
The cause is thought to be a result of the Eustachian tube not working properly. The balance of fluid and air in the middle ear may become altered if the Eustachian tube is narrow, blocked, or does not open properly.

Some children develop glue ear after a cough, cold, or ear infection when extra mucus is made. The mucus may build up in the middle ear and not drain well down the Eustachian tube. However, in many cases glue ear does not begin with an ear infection.

Glue ear is a common childhood illness, more than 7 in 10 children have at least one episode of glue ear before they are four years old. In most cases it only lasts a short while. Boys are more commonly affected than girls.

Even after an episode of glue ear has cleared up, the problem may return for a while in the future. In particular, after a cold or ear infection.

How to be a Better Parent and Avoid having a Binge Drinking Child

With the most famous parenting book 65 years old last week, ‘Dr Spock’s Baby and Childcare’ it seems very appropriate that parenting style and children’s behaviour is in the press.

Bad parenting can cause binge drinking in children so seek help form angel wellbeing clinics parent coach in islingtonDemos is a ‘political think tank focused on power and politics’ and this week it has released a document looking at parenting style and its contribution to binge drinking at the ages of 16 and 34.

Demos had access to information pertaining to over 15,000 children over the last 40 years and the data showed that parenting style is one of the most important and statistically reliable influences on whether a child will drink responsibly in adolescence and adulthood.

There are three different styles of parenting according to Diana Baumrind (1967). Authoritarian, authoritative and permissive parenting style. Baumrind favours the authoritative parenting style as the best.

Authoritarian: characterised by high demandingness with low responsiveness. The authoritarian parent is rigid, harsh, and demanding. Abusive parents usually fall in this category.

Permissive: characterised by low demandingness with high responsiveness. The permissive parent is overly responsive to the child's demands, seldom enforcing consistent rules. The "spoiled" child often has permissive parents.

Authoritative: characterised by moderate demandingness with moderate responsiveness. The authoritative parent is firm but not rigid, willing to make an exception when the situation warrants. The authoritative parent is responsive to the child's needs but not indulgent.

According to the think tank Demos parenting and in particular bad parenting style can be a strong indicator as to the teenagers and young adults relationship with alcohol.

• Bad parenting of children at age 10 makes the child twice as likely to drink excessively at age 34.
• Bad parenting at age 16 makes the child over eight times more likely to drink excessively at that age

• Bad parenting at age 16 makes the child over twice as likely to drink excessively at age 34

They found the "tough love" style of parenting or authoritative parenting style to be the most effective. This style combined warmth and discipline was the most effective in ensuring against children developing an unhealthy relationship with alcohol.

To be an effective authoritative parent you need to have an understanding of your own background and how you react. Being a parent is about how you respond to your child’s needs and of course in picking up your child’s needs in the first place.

Disciplining a child with the ‘tough love’ style of parenting also involves you as a parent being able to deal with the ‘anger’ of the child when they don’t get their own way. It can be very stressful dealing with feelings stirred up by conflict with your offspring and you need to have a good handle on what you are feeling and why and then choose the best way to react trusting that you know through experience that you have made the right decision for the child.

Demos called on parents and the Government to work together to curb "an entrenched binge drinking culture" among Britain's young people. It recommended that parents develop a warm and loving relationship in the early years of their children's lives and assert discipline and supervision at the ages of 15 and 16. Parents should also set firm boundaries, avoid getting drunk in front of their children and not take a relaxed attitude to under-age drinking, the think tank said.

If you are a parent and are having trouble with your relationship with your child, or maybe your way of disciplining your child is different from your partner’s and this causes tension and confusion at home, then arrange to see Emua Ali the Angel Wellbeing Clinic’s parent coach and learn how to do things differently.

Emua will tell you that you have a choice of how you respond to your child but you may need to learn how! Together with Emua you will learn how to choose your response to your child’s behaviour; and how to develop a firm and warm parenting style; how to set and maintain boundaries; and how to challenge unacceptable behaviour. You will then develop a closer and more trusting relationship with your child and help them get their needs met.

Baumrind, D. (1967). Childcare practices anteceding three patterns of preschool behaviour. Genetic Psychology Monographs, 75(1), 43-88.

Do you have a slipped disc?

This article is by Angel Osteopathic Clinic's osteopath  and covers:

  • Sciatica
  • Slipped Disc
  • Disc bulge
  • Trapped nerve


A day barely goes by without a patient phoning up our receptionist and telling them they have a trapped nerve or a slipped disc. When they come into the clinic we have a chance toI sit them down, show them a model of the spine and discs and then explain to them exactly what is going on.

Educating patients is very important and it is clinic policy to send the patient away from the session with a specific diagnosis and understanding as to what their problem is. We also send them away from their consultation with an understanding of the treatment plan I have given them. The number if times I have talked to patients who have seen other practitioners an they have not been told what is wrong with them before consenting to treatment is staggering and hopefully none of the patients would say that after seeing me.

Do discs slip?

Intervertebral disc pain is common. Most patients have some component of disc pain when they present at the clinic even if they do not have nerve root pain. Most commonly the patient will have an inflamed disc on one side and maybe a bulge, this may or may not compress a nerve root. With the unlucky few that have a herniated disc there is no doubt that they have a trapped nerve as they often have shooting pain or sciatic pain down the back of the leg into the foot.


The sciatic nerve isn’t a specific nerve. It is the name given to the fourth lumbar nerve, fifth lumber nerve and the first to third sacral nerves. Sciatica isn’t a diagnosis but is more of a descriptive term but most patients understand it!

Trapped Nerve

This is where it all gets a bit more specific and should be part of the diagnosis. Each of the lumber nerves supplies a specific area of skin, a dermatome. Each nerve goes on to supply a specific reflex and a specific muscle. Testing reflexes, testing muscle strength and determining the area of sensation change provides specific location of the ‘trapped nerve’ and this locates the specific disc. Then you can have a diagnosis and a treatment plan.

If you ever go to see a GP or other practitioner always get a specific diagnosis. An expert will be able to give a specific diagnosis so don’t settle for anything less!

If you have a back problem and want a specific diagnosis as and explanation as to what is causing your back pain make an appointment with out osteopath at Islington's Angel Osteopathic Clinic.

Single Babies Born to Mothers of Twins Tend to be Heavier

This article was provided by Islington's Angel Wellbeing Clinic's Osteopath who has a keen interedt in treating mum's and babies.

Single babies born to mothers of twins tend to be heavier says a report published in the Journal of Biology letters. This conclusion comes from a collection of data that goes back 40 years from The Gambia.

It was already known that mums with twins give birth to heavier babies but the results from this study show that this trend precedes the birth of the twins, therefore a single baby born before the twins will be heavier.

Twin pregnancies are known to be more risky for both mother and babies, and the study suggests heavier, healthier single children may offset those risks. Having twins is rare and only 13 in 1,000 babies are born as a twin, although this rate is higher in developing countries.

The data from The Gambia included the birth weights of 1,900 babies born to around 700 mothers and the number of twins.

Dr Rickard from the University of Sheffield analysed the data and found that women who produced twins gave birth to heavier non-twin babies. The exact differences, however, depended on what time of year those single babies were born.

The Gambia experiences regular variations in food supply, from a "harvest season" between January and June, and a "hungry season" for the rest of the year and single babies born during the harvest season before twins were on average 226g heavier than those from non-twinned families; those born after the twins were 134g heavier.
However, single children born into twinned families in the hungry season showed no discernible difference in average weight from those of non-twinned families.

"We've known for quite a while that if the foetus is exposed to a period of the year between about July and October during their third trimester, they tend to have lower birth weight," said Dr Rickard.

The assumption is that the stress of food scarcity swamps the heavier-baby effect found in the harvest season therefore producing twins, Dr Rickard suggested, could be just a by-product of natural selection acting on birth weight.
However, he stressed the "importance of replicating this [finding] in another population to see if this pattern holds up."

Dr Rickard suggests that a hormone called IGF (Insulin like growth factors) could be significant in these results as it has long been linked to birth weight in humans.
IGF is known to influence the growth rate of foetuses, and is implicated in the "polyovulation" that leads to multiple births. In cattle, IGF levels tend to be 1.5 times higher in the cows that give birth to twins, and in mice high levels of the hormone are linked to larger litters.


If you are a mum and have back ache or if you want our osteopath to assess your baby and you want to make an appointment to see Islington's Angel Wellbeing Clinic's Osteopath click below.

Will Your Acute Episode of Low Back Pain Become a Chronic Problem?

In this article by Islington’s Angel Wellbeing Clinic’s Osteopath will cover the following:

• Acute back pain
• Chronic back pain

There are so many statistics regarding back pain, percentage of the population that will experience back pain, days lost from work and how much this costs the economy and employers right down to risk associated with taking non prescription non steroidal anti-inflammatories such as diclofenac and neurofen and heart attacks.

No matter how you look at these statistics and what spin you put on the figures it is impossible to get away from the fact that back pain is endemic in our society. It goes without saying that eliminating back pain is going to be impossible so managing back pain is the next best thing for our health, our economy and preventing acute episodes of back pain developing into chronic episodes is the logical approach.

A recent study looking at back pain and published in The Journal of Pain compared pain intensity ratings, pain location, medication use and sensory and affective (such as depression) variables and how they differ amongst acute and chronic low back pain individuals. The study looked into what possible factors might assist in predicting the types of acute pain that lead patients onto developing chronic pain from an acute episode.

The research suggests that there is limited information regarding differences in clinical-based features in acute and chronic back pain. The common method of differentiating acute and chronic pain is the duration, whereby acute pain lasts less than six weeks, sub-acute pain has duration of seven to 12 weeks and chronic pain lasting three months or longer.

Results indicate that pain intensity was significantly higher in the chronic low back patients. For pain location the study reported sub-acute pain patients had a higher incidence of unilateral radiating pain, whilst chronic pain subjects experienced mostly bilateral pain. The depression score showed just a slight increase in those with longer pain duration and was considered to be attributable to pain intensity.

The study concluded that pain intensity and pain location are characteristics that can predict chronic low back pain, with chronic low back pain subjects reporting more significant pain than sub-acute pain subjects. The location of pain in acute back pain patients may also serve as a predictor for development of a chronic condition.

This study doesn’t look at the treatment of back pain, but it would be sensible to take acute back-pain seriously and do as much as possible to prevent back pain from developing in the first place. This can only be done by addressing lifestyle and in particular, work place ergonomics.

The Angel Wellbeing Clinic in Islington provides chiropractic, physiotherapy, psychotherapy, massage therapy and nutritional therapy. We can also provide workplace advice and corporate wellbeing services such as ergonomic assessments and stress reduction classes.

Breast-Feeding and Back Pain


In this article by Islington’s Angel Osteopathic Clinic’s Osteopath she will discuss:

  • Breast-feeding positions
  • Using pillows for supporting baby

One of the best things you can do as a mum is to breast-feed your child. Nutritionally breast milk provides everything and it also helps with baby’s immunity. The benefits of breast-feeding also are seen a lot later in the child’s’ development and babies that are breast-fed have better emotional development. Our parent coach Emua Ali includes breast-feeding in her article Tips for Bonding with Baby.

Breast-feeding your first child is always exciting and this bonding process provides plenty of reward but initially it can be hard work. Being pregnant is tiring and giving birth can be an adventure in itself! So settling down in the hours post birth and breast-feeding for the first time doesn’t always prove to be as straight forward as you would like. After all, as natural as it is there has to be a first time for you and for your baby so take advice from the midwife or the specialist breast-feeding adviser. The good news is that if the baby doesn’t latch on immediately they will do eventually but it can be a frustrating time.


There is the traditional breast-feeding position, sitting up with the baby across your body but it can put a lot of strain on your neck as you look down to your baby. This position can also strain the back between the shoulders as you support the baby. Pillows can be of help and there are breast-feeding pillows that are designed to make the feeding easier.

Use everything you can to make feeding as comfortable as possible for you and if it is comfortable for you the baby will feed better and don’t forget it may take some time. There is nothing worse than having a baby that is feeding slowly and you can feel your back starting to hurt so find out what works for you.

The National Childbirth Trust (NCT) is a good source of information regarding breast-feeding. They have a very well researched website and with 318 braches nationwide providing support and information.

It is impossible to diagnose what is causing the back pain during breast-feeding without looking at how you breast-feed so if you are having problems arrange an appointment with Chantel Prince at Islington’s Angel Osteopathic Clinic and you should bring your baby with you too!

If breast-feeding is going well but you are having difficulties with your emotions or with the relationship with your partner arrange to see Islington’s Angel Wellbeing Clinic’s parent coach Emua Ali.


Backpain in Pregnancy

In this article by Islington’s Angel Osteopathic Clinic’s Osteopath she will discuss:

• Back pain in pregnancy
• Causes of back pain in pregnancy
• Osteopathic treatment of back pain in pregnancy
• Is pregnancy induced back pain preventable
• Post childbirth back pain
• Long term management of pregnancy induced back pain

Back pain in pregnancy

Back pain is common in pregnancy and most women experience some form of pelvic ache or low back pain during their pregnancy. A few unlucky individuals will go on to develop a more longstanding problem and this article will give advice that will help with that.

It is important to distinguish between pre-pregnancy and post-pregnancy backache. Some women may get a flare up of historical back pain they may have had whilst others may get back pain for the first time.

Causes back pain in pregnancy?

Historical back pain

The flare up of historical back pain may be an exacerbation of back pain that you have always been prone to. As the bump increases in size it changes how you move and perform even the most mundane of things, such as getting in and out of bed, getting in and out of the car and even how you sit in front of a computer. All of these activities may be compromised by the bump and this will stress the back and may re-injure an area predisposed to back pain.

Back pain in pregnancy can recur if you have had a history of disc pain with or without sciatica, or facet joint pain, or a history of straining muscles in your lumbar spine due to poor posture or poor lifting or sitting habits.

These conditions recur often at the end of the day or if you have been on your feet for a long time. This is because your muscles get tired and your ligaments stretch slightly from the weight of your body and baby. In other words the reasons that you get back pain before and after pregnancy are the same.

Pregnancy induced back pain

Pain around the front or back of the pelvis can occur as a result of pregnancy and often needs to be treated differently to the historical back pain due to the specific cause, pregnancy!

Pain around the front of the pelvis maybe caused by Pubic Symphysis Dysfunction and pain around the buttocks may be caused by sacroiliac joint dysfunction. The pain from both of these conditions is due to spraining of the ligaments and joints and the subsequent inflammation.

Osteopathic treatment of low back pain

Osteopathy is a profession and not a treatment and there are various techniques that can be used to help the flare up of historical low back pain as well as for the treatment of pregnancy induced low back pain. Often with pregnancy induced low back pain techniques other than manipulation are used as the joints are already very mobile and manipulation can aggravate the condition.

Osteopathic treatment may involve gentle stretching and low force techniques to help realign both the pelvis and the sprained and inflamed joints. In addition advice may be given regarding carrying out everyday activities and about appropriate ways to exercise.

Is pregnancy induced back pain preventable?

Nothing can be guaranteed but you can get your body prepared for pregnancy in the same way that you would not attempt to run a marathon without a training plan to ready your body for 26 miles of running!

Back pain can be helped by making sure you are as fit as possible before getting pregnant, both physically but mentally. Our clinic has a parent coach and a nutritional therapist to help with getting your diet right and dealing with any emotional problems.

If you are already pregnant, it is not too late to work on your health and an appropriate exercise regime during pregnancy can go a long way to helping prevent or minimise pregnancy induced back pain. In addition to preventing back pain during pregnancy working on your physical health may help childbirth and prevent any post childbirth back pain.

Post childbirth back-pain

After nine months of pregnancy childbirth can be a relief. There is a downside, your body has been accommodating the growing foetus and this has put an increasing amount of effort through the ligaments and joints of the pelvis. At the end of nine months there is the effort of giving birth and then caring for a demanding baby. Lifting in and out of a cot, in and out of a car seat and breast-feeding. All of these are demanding and can increase the chance of pelvic pain.

Long-term management of pregnancy induced back pain

Once you have given birth you don’t have the big bump getting in the way of life and making everyday tasks awkward. But you do have to be careful as giving birth is demanding and it may take a few months to get over the physicality of childbirth. This of course can be aided by appropriate exercises and the Angel Osteopathic Clinic’s osteopath is more than qualified to recommend the best form of exercise.

As your baby grows there are other demands as they still like to be carried but are getting heavier and heavier. Correct lifting techniques need to be maintained and posture needs to be monitored with the appropriate rehabilitation exercises prescribed to help maintain good spinal function.


If you are pregnant or are trying to conceive and you want to find out more about how the Angel Osteopathic Clinic can help with any of the following:

• Back pain in pregnancy
• Causes of back pain in pregnancy
• Osteopathic treatment of back pain in pregnancy
• Is pregnancy induced back pain preventable
• Post childbirth back pain
• Long term management of pregnancy induced back pain


Please contact Islington's Angel Osteopathic Clinic's osteoapth, Chantal Prince for further information on how osteoathy can help with pregnancy induced back pain.

Tips for Bonding with Baby from Angel Wellbeing Clinic’s Parent Coach

Here are ‘Ten tips for bonding with baby’ from our parent coach Emua Ali. Emua is the parent of four children and a qualified parent coach having worked with parents for over 15 years.

Dads are parents too and can feel a bit marginalized initially, so if you are a dad with concerns or worries Emua can help you too and then you can help mum and baby.

Here are some simple tips to help you bond with your baby and develop a secure attachment. This will help your baby to settle and reduce emotional and behavioural problems later on:

1. Make eye contact and speak with your baby from day one.

2. Give your baby your time and you will grow together.

3. You are your child's first teacher, so sing, laugh and play together.

4. When your baby cries, avoid sticking a bottle or breast in their mouth
straight away. Find out what your baby is trying to communicate to you.
Your baby may not be hungry. Are they bored? Is your baby wet and needs changing? Does your baby need some attention?

5. Do what comes natural to you and your baby and listen to your instincts.

6. Baby's love games like peek-a-boo, funny faces and they love watching your face and listen to the sound of your voice and as you play with them. Let your baby see you cooking, cleaning and doing household chores as they enjoy your company and describe what you are doing to keep them entertained and interested.

7. A settled baby is a happy baby and they enjoy routines like bath time, story time, nap time, meal times and once a routine is established you can also have family time and couple time.

8. The more time you invest in your baby when they are small the closer you will become and this leads to a secure attachment. Baby feels safe and comfortable.

9. Do ask for help from friends and family. You need to build a team around the family and get support from others. Being a parent is the hardest job in the world but the most rewarding.

10. You cannot spoil a baby so give plenty of cuddles, kisses and hugs and the more you invest in your baby's emotional bank account when they are small, the higher the dividends you will get back when they are older because you will have a strong bond and cooperation will be easier.

If you want to find out a bit more about Angel Wellbeing Clinic’s parent Emua Ali and how she can help you and your baby click here.

Breast Feeding Results in Better Behaved Children

Islington’s Angel Wellbeing Clinic’s Parent Coach and Osteopath Can Help

According to results from a recent study from the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood children that are breast fed for at least four months are better behaved with fewer emotional problems. This may be due to the constituents of the breast milk or it maybe due to the interaction of the mum and baby during the feeding process. The latter is the ‘Attachment Theory’ perspective.

This study adds more importance to breast feeding as it follows on from the Millennium Cohort Study where 10,037 mums and babies were followed. Results from this study showed that breast feeding benefitted babies by producing lower rates of infection and less obesity later in life. Other studies have shown that breast fed babies have greater cognitive ability and better educational achievements in later life too.

Behaviour Problems

In the study the mothers were asked to assess their children at the age of five for anxiousness, clinginess, lying and stealing. Only 6% of the breast-fed children showed signs of behavioural problems compared to 16% of bottle fed babies.

This benefit maybe because breast milk contains large quantities of a of fatty acid associated with brain development, as well as growth factors and hormones which also help the development of the brain and nervous system.

But mothers who breastfeed also tended to interact with their children more, showing greater sensitivity to the needs of the baby which could mean the babies learn more about acceptable ways of behaving. This view is backed up by a study published in Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Pediatric Association, Pediatrics Vol. 118 No. 5 November 1, 2006 pp. e1436 -e1443 (doi: 10.1542/peds.2005-2916) titled Breastfeeding, Sensitivity, and Attachment by John R. Britton, MD, PhD, Helen L. Britton, MD, Virginia Gronwaldt, PhD.

The object of this study was to test the hypothesis that breastfeeding is associated with enhanced infant-mother attachment and its antecedent maternal sensitivity.

It concluded that “the quality of the dyadic interaction in infancy, rather than feeding type, is predictive of attachment security, mothers who choose to breastfeed display enhanced sensitivity during early infancy that, in turn, may foster secure attachment. Among breastfeeding mothers, higher sensitivity is associated with longer duration of breastfeeding during the first postpartum year. These findings suggest a link between attachment security and breastfeeding.”

The Royal College of Midwives welcomed the findings and said they added to the evidence that breastfeeding was better for babies. Janet Fyle from the RCM said it was vital women had enough help and support from midwives to help them keep breastfeeding.

This is something we can help with at Islington’s Angel Wellbeing Clinic. Emua Ali, our parent coach and Chantal Prince our osteopath can help deal with the physical and emotional sides of being a new mum and provide support and practical help during this exciting but challenging time of life.

Janet Fyle form the RCM went on to say that it was important not to over-emphasise the study's results.

"We must not send a negative message to mothers that they have failed, or make then feel guilty because they bottle-fed their babies," she said.

Tips on comfortable breast feeding by Islington's Angel Osteopathy Clinic's Chantal Prince:


Islington’s Angel Wellbeing Clinic can help with both the physical and emotional sides of being a new mum. Whether you have back ache following child birth or you are struggling to adapt to the change to life caused by having a baby we can provide support.


Jimmy Choo’s Could Cause 'arthritis crisis'

Women wearing high heels could cause crisis levels of arthritis in the UK, experts have warned.


According to a poll carried out for the annual Feet for Life Month in June by The Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists 25% of women wear high heeled shoes and this can lead to arthritis. The Society points out that Arthritis isn’t just a disease of the elderly and it can occur at any age, usually develops between the ages of 20 and 50.




What is Arthritis?

There are numerous forms of arthritis but Osteoarthritis (OA) and Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) are common. OA is the most common and is caused by trauma and stress to the cartilage around the joints which can be as a result of general wear and tear, or an injury. OA is very common in foot joints.

RA is one of the more severe types of arthritis although it is much less common. RA affects around 2 per cent of the UK population and is twice are prevalent in women than men. RA occurs when the body’s immune system turns on itself, causing inflammation in the joint lining.

Why are Women Prone to Arthritis?

High heels change your posture placing more pressure on foot, ankle and knee joints. This can cause stress to the cartilage and lead to the onset of osteoarthritis. This change in posture can also throw out the natural curves of the spine and lead to wear and tear damage to the discs in the back as well as neck problems and headaches as the body tries to correct the posture induced by the high heels.

Poor footwear, together with increased levels of obesity and people living longer, could cause an “arthritis crisis”, the society warned with at least eight million people in the UK already suffer from the condition, which causes pain and stiffness in joints, and levels are rising.

60% of cases are in feet and arthritis is both more common and more severe in women.

Professor Anthony Redmond, a podiatrist and arthritis researcher from the society, said: “Although you are more likely to develop arthritis as you get older, it can occur at any. “Choosing the right footwear will help minimise the stress placed on the feet and joints during everyday activity and helps reduce the risk of injury and joint damage.


“For daily wear, the recommendation is to opt for a round-toed shoe with a heel height of no more than 2-3cm (one inch) and with a shock-absorbent sole to help minimise shock to the joints.”

More than three quarters of both men and women surveyed in the poll did not wear shoes specifically designed for the sport they played when exercising, also increasing the likelihood of developing osteoarthritis.

Prof Redmond said: “Those who wear trainers that are not designed for sporting activity are placing themselves at real risk”.
"With forces through the joints exceeding eight times the body weight during some sports, the importance of matching the right footwear to the activity cannot be overstated.”

While 65% have suffered stiffness or pain in their lower body and feet, only half have sought help for their symptoms.

Prof Redmond said: “If you do experience frequent pain in your feet or ankles, don't ignore it, as something can always be done.
“Some forms of arthritis start first in the feet and early treatment is vital to achieving the best long-term outcome.”

At Islington’s Angel Wellbeing Clinic our team of practitioners including the chiropractor, the physiotherapist and osteopath are able to help with problems relating to low back, hips, knees and feet. They are able to provide advice and treatment for just such problems as well as making referrals to podiatrists.

How Mum's Health in the First Few Years Influences Cognitive Development of the Child

The nutritional therapist, the acupuncturist and the osteopath at The Angel Wellbeing Clinic have a keen interest in the treatment of mum’s and babies and we don’t desert you once you have had your baby. The Angel Wellbeing Clinic has a secret weapon for mum’s, Emua Ali, our parent coach.

Having a baby is an incredible life-changing event and this event can occasionally not go as smoothly as you would like. We often see in the adverts on TV for baby food or nappies, the angelic child and the ecstatically happy mum and dad and we are given the impression that having a baby is wonderful.

This is a media representation of being a new mum and having a baby and the image they are creating is for you to want to buy their product for you to have the level of happiness they portray. The reality for you may be a lot different and you may feel tired and depressed, you may still have trouble from the trauma of birth. There may be difficulties between you and your partner. You may also feel that you don’t understand what your baby needs from you. You may in other words feel as though you are slowly sinking.

This is not uncommon and this is where Emua comes into her own. The other therapists look at what is going wrong physically for you and your baby but Emua looks at what is going on for you and your partner emotionally. Get this sorted out and the baby will do well.

Emua will listen to you and help your through your difficult times and getting you through your difficult times as best as possible will have the best effect possible on your baby which has been highlighted by this research.

maternal health influences cognitive develoment of baby

Maternal general health and children's cognitive development and behaviour in the early years: findings from the Millennium Cohort Study




Background Mothers often experience physical and psychological difficulties during the post-natal period and these may continue through the early years of raising children and have negative effects on engagement and caregiving. Pathways between maternal depression, parental engagement and caregiving and children's subsequent development have been described in longitudinal studies; yet, less is known about how other aspects of maternal health may influence children's development.


A longitudinal analysis within the Millennium Cohort Study was conducted including 7906 families from England. Maternal general health and psychological well-being were assessed when their children were 9 months and 3 years old, socio-demographic characteristics were assessed at 9 months, and engagement and caregiving were assessed at 3 years. These were examined as predictors of children's learning and development and behaviour at age 5.


There are clear associations between maternal general health and children's development with regard to both learning and development and behaviour. These effects are reduced if psychological distress is taken into account; yet, maternal general health maintains importance as a predictor for children's subsequent development. There is evidence of an association via engagement and caregiving which links maternal health to children's development and evidence of the influence of underlying socio-demographic disadvantage.


General maternal health as well as psychological well-being during the early years of raising children may be influential for children's development. This study suggests the need for a broader recognition of maternal health as well as psychological well-being as a foundation for family well-being, and speaks to support for mothers in maintaining engagement and caregiving for their children during periods of ill health.

Gift Memebership of The NCT


The NCT is the largest charity for parents and it has just updated it's website. There is plenty of information on pregnancy, giving birth and parenting with details of local groups for support and advice.

gift membership of the NCTClick on the Gift Membership to go to the NCT website









Where is the nearest baby changing room?


You’re out for the day. Your baby is crying up a storm. You don’t know where the nearest baby changing room is? That’s where the beauty of NCT’s Babychange app comes into life.

Click picture to download NCT's baby changing app.





Why fathers have post-natal depression
By Philippa Roxby Health reporter, BBC News

A Gloucester man has been acquitted of murdering his six-month-old daughter, after saying he had had post-natal depression. The case of Mark Bruton-Young has put the issue of men who struggle to cope with becoming fathers in the headlines.

For the full article click here.

According to the article ‘Counselling, psychotherapy, cranial osteopathy, massage and reflexology are all seen as potentially therapeutic, as well as resting, eating properly and writing down feelings in a journal.’

All of these therapies can be found at Islington's Angel Wellbeing Clinic.

Tennis Elbow


This is probably my favourite time of the year the Roland Garros or French Open tennis competition is on television and the former Stella Artois tournament but now renamed AEGON tournament is only a few weeks a way. And then Wimbledon is here!


As a clinician I don’t see vast numbers of tennis elbow caused by tennis. This is probably due to lightweight rackets and a more relaxed technique taught now. But tennis elbow does still appear at the clinic and the most common cause of it is the computer mouse.



Symptoms of Tennis Elbow

• Pain about 1-2 cm down from the bony area at the outside of the elbow or lateral epicondyle.
• Weakness in the wrist with difficulty doing simple tasks such as opening a door handle or shaking hands with someone, using a corkscrew or screwdriver.
• Pain on the outside of the elbow when the hand is bent back at the wrist against resistance.
• Pain on the outside of the elbow when trying to straighten the fingers against resistance.
• Pain when pressing just below the lateral epicondyle on the outside of the elbow.
• Painful trigger points in the forearm.

The typical mechanism of injury for tennis elbow or lateral epicondylitis, to give it its correct name, is sustained extension of the wrist and gripping at the same. The exact thing you do sitting at a computer all day with a mouse in your hand.

Therapy should start with the simple and conservative before progressing to the more invasive therapies. The object of therapy for tennis elbow is to relieve pain, microbleeding and inflammation, promote healing, rehabilitate the injured arm and try to prevent recurrence.



Treatment for Tennis Elbow

• rest from the activities that cause elbow pain
• correction of incorrect postures and motions, workplace ergonomics, ergonomic mouse
• assess neck function
• ice or medication such as oral or topical non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) to reduce the inflammation
• exercise regimen such as eccentric and concentric strengthening,
• soft tissue work on tendons and muscles of forearm
• if sports related assess technique and racket grip size
• tennis elbow brace and measured return back to full activity

Recent research has shown that corticosteroid injections are not recommended and can result in tissue failure of the tendons in the elbow so stay with the conservative approach. Pick a good practitioner, be patient and enjoy the tennis on the television. Lets face it, this is the time of year where tennis fans watch tennis and don’t enter into the seasonal rush for tennis courts!

We can provide the correct treatment and advice at the Angel Wellbeing Clinic with our Osteopath, Chiropractor and Sports Physiotherapist.

Short Term Use of Painkiller Could be Dangerous to Heart Patients


Even short-term use of some painkillers could be dangerous for people who've had a heart attack, according to research published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Researchers analysed the duration of prescription non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) treatment and cardiovascular risk in a nationwide Danish cohort of patients with prior heart attack.

The study found the use of NSAIDs was associated with a 45 percent increased risk of death or recurrent heart attack within as little as one week of treatment, and a 55 percent increased risk if treatment extended to three months.

The study was limited by its observational nature and the lack of clinical parameters, researchers said. NSAIDs are commonly used by the general population and are associated with increased cardiovascular risk in people with heart disease or those at high risk.

For the full article ScienceDaily (May 9, 2011)

Pesticide exposure during pregnancy linked to lower IQ in children

By Elspeth Stewart Angel Wellbeing Clinic's nutritional therapist.

A new study has suggested that pesticide exposure during pregnancy may influence the health and development of children. Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley's School of Public Health have found that prenatal exposure to organophosphates, a pesticide widely used on food crops, is related to lower intelligence scores at age 7.


The researchers measured an IQ score average variation of 7 points between those with mothers recording the highest exposure and those with the lowest exposure. 'Organophosphate' is a broad clasification of insecticides which are neurotoxic and kill insects through their action on the nerve enzyme acetylcholinesterase, an enzyme also present in human brain tissue.

Significant findings

These associations are substantial, especially when viewing this at a population-wide level," said study principal investigator Brenda Eskenazi, UC Berkeley professor of epidemiology and of maternal and child health. "That difference could mean, on average, more kids being shifted into the lower end of the spectrum of learning, and more kids needing special services in school."


"There are limitations to every study; we used metabolites to assess exposure, so we cannot isolate the exposure to a specific pesticide chemical, for instance," added Eskenazi. "But the way this and the New York studies were designed -- starting with pregnant women and then following their children -- is one of the strongest methods available to study how environmental factors affect children's health."

Limit exposure during critical stages of foetal brain development

It is important to note that markers of pesticide exposure during the pregnancy significantly correlated with childhood IQ. However, exposure to pesticides after birth did not show the same association. This may suggest that the most important time to limit exposure to pesticides is during the critical stages of foetal brain development rather than in the child after birth.

This research is part of a trio of papers all to be published today – the other two studies were carried out at Mt Sinai Medical Centre and Columbia University. All three papers show consistent results which serves to illustrate the significance of these findings.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, people are exposed to OP pesticides through eating foods from crops treated with these chemicals. Farm workers, gardeners, florists, pesticide applicators and manufacturers of these insecticides may have greater exposure than the general population.

Avoiding vegetables is not the answer

I'm concerned about people not eating right based on the results of this study," said Eskenazi. "Most people already are not getting enough fruits and vegetables in their diet, which is linked to serious health problems in the United States. People, especially those who are pregnant, need to eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables."

My comments on this study

There have been a few pieces of research lately claiming that 'organic is no better than non-organic' but many of these only look at the vitamin and mineral content and neglect to take into account the impact that pesticides have on human health.
As the head researcher pointed out, it is essential that pregnant mothers continue to eat fruit and vegetables during pregnancy. The benefits of eating 5 a day will be far greater than the impact of pesticide exposure but if you can afford organic, that is great. For those who can't stretch the budget, there are many things which can be done to reduce exposure:

• place vegetables in a sink filled with cold water and soak for a few minutes
• purchase a vegetable brush and give veggies a scrub before rinsing and putting away
• Although many nutrients are found in the skins, consider peeling non-organic vegetables and fruits
• consider vegetable washes which can be found in health food stores
• look at the Environmental Working Group's Shopper's Guide to Pesticides and consider going organic for those items which are shown to carry the most pesticides. This includes celery, various berries, apples, peaches, peppers and spinach. Also familiarise yourself with those vegetables shown to be low in pesticide and eat plenty of them!

Pesticides are not only neurotoxic. They have been demonstrated through research to be 'oestrogenic', meaning they can stimulate hormone receptors in both men and women, disrupting hormone balance. For this reason, where possible it makes sense for us all to aim to keep pesticide exposure to a minimum.

Other co-authors of the study are Jonathan Chevrier, Kim Harley, Katherine Kogut, Michelle Vedar, Celina Trujillo and Caroline Johnson at UC Berkeley's CERCH; Dana Boyd Barr at Emory University's Rollins School of Public Health; and Norma Morga at the Clinica de Salud del Valle de Salinas.
The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety helped fund this research.


Do optimal vitamin B12 levels during pregnancy lead to calmer babies?

By Elspeth Stewart

An interesting piece of new research has highlighted a link between low vitamin B12 status during pregnancy and a baby’s likelihood to cry often in the first few months after birth.

Public Health Service researchers in the Netherlands looked at vitamin B12 status of nearly 3000 women at their first pre-natal appointment. They then measured how often babies cried after birth and for how long.


It was found that babies born to mothers with the lowest blood levels of vitamin B12 were up to eight times more likely to cry for long periods than those with the highest levels. The researchers wrote:

This study provides first evidence for an early nutritional origin in infant crying behaviour. The results suggest infants born to women with a low B12 status during pregnancy are at a higher risk for excessive crying behaviour in their first months of life."

Three proposed mechanisms behind this finding are:

1. Vitamin B12 plays an important role in nervous system development and function. It is proposed that ‘infant crying behaviour’ may be a result of babies being born without a fully developed nervous system.
2. Vitamin B12 is known to influence melatonin levels – babies born to mothers with adequate B12 may release more of this sleep-inducing hormone and therefore calm more quickly.
3. Lack of B12 may reduce the production of myelin, a protective layer around nerve cells.

My comments on this study:

Vitamin B12 is found in significant levels in animal products such as beef, pork, chicken, liver, kidneys, mussels, oyster, sardines, salmon, other fish, eggs, milk, cheese and brewers yeast. NOTE: Pregnancy women are advised to avoid soft cheese, raw egg, raw seafood, liver products and oysters.

Most pregnancy multivitamin formula contain Vitamin B12. A healthy diet during pregnancy should include regular intake of protein, including the appropriate foods outlined above.

Vegans are at risk of B12 deficiency and may wish to look at supplementation or fortified foods whether pregnant or not. Some vegetarians, depending on their intake of eggs or dairy produce, may also benefit from additional B12.
Antacid use during pregnancy

Vitamin B12 requires good levels of stomach acid and intrinsic factor to be absorbed in the digestive tract. Many things may affect stomach acid production, including stress, zinc deficiency and the bacteria Helicobacter pylori.

Heartburn is a common issue experienced by pregnant women and antacids are often used to address this. Unfortunately, antacids neurtralise stomach acid and therefore, will also affect levels of intrinsic factor. Regular antacid use is likely to impact not only B12 absorption but also iron absorption - another mineral deficiency which is common during pregnancy.

This means that even a great diet packed with iron and vitamin B12 may not be absorbed well if coupled with regular antacid use.


Goedhart, Van der Wal et al. Maternal vitamin B12 and folate status during pregnancy and excessive infant crying. Early Human Development Journal Volume 87, Issue 4, Pages 309-314 (April 2011)

Meet our new receptionist: Marty's 30 second quiz!


What is your job role? Part Time Receptionist

How long have you worked here? 1 day!

What do you do in your free time? Go to clubs/ bars / restaurants, theatre and socialise with friends.

What is the craziest thing you have ever done? Sea - Para gliding in Cyprus (I'm scared of heights!)

Summer or winter? Summer most defiantly.

What is the last book you read? How Could She by Dana Fowley

If you could switch places with any other person for a week (living or dead) who would it be? Beyonce Knowles or Michelle Obama.

If you could go a trip where would that be? The Bahamas

Favourite album of all time? Can't choose just one, but anything by Jay Z.

Most memorable night out? Hawa's wild limo Birthday.

Favourite drink? Jack Daniels





Drivers who fail to wear seatbelts correctly are at risk of injury according to the British Osteopathic Association (BOA). While most people1 are fully aware that wearing a seatbelt saves lives, the majority are not aware that the way they sit in a car plays a huge part in their personal safety.

The results of a survey by the BOA has found over one in ten drivers (13%) sit too far back for their seatbelt to offer effective protection in a frontal crash. To be effective, the belt should be sitting over the bones of the pelvis and not the stomach preventing internal injuries and in contact with the shoulder to prevent serious neck injury. Sitting too far from the belt can often lead to submarining - where the occupant slips under the belt which can cause catastrophic injuries.

Half (45%), 15 million3, of all UK drivers do not drive in a position where their head is close enough to the head restraint or they sit too far back for their seatbelt to be effective, so that in an accident, they would be at risk of sustaining a serious whiplash injury. Furthermore, only 6% of people adjust the head restraint regularly, despite the fact that most people travel in a variety of vehicles (as drivers, passengers and in taxis for example) and half of all drivers surveyed (51%) said they never adjusted their head rest at all.

Head restraints work by catching and supporting the head in the event of a rear end crash and so reduce the chance of permanent soft tissue damage. A correctly adjusted head restraint should be as close to the back of the head as possible and as high as the top of the occupant’s head, meaning head movement in relation to their body is reduced as the car and seat is punted forward when hit from behind. In addition the drivers’ seat should be at the correct distance so that a properly positioned seat belt is low across the hips and pelvis, with the shoulder belt firmly across the chest and collarbone.

Receiving a serious chest injury as a result of being hit by an airbag during an accident is also a very real possibility for one in seven drivers (14%) who admitted sitting too close to the steering wheel. Drivers with a gap of less than 12 inches between themselves and the steering wheel when driving are at risk of receiving the full force of an airbag deploying in a crash involving the front of the vehicle.

Airbags have to inflate very quickly (some at over 200 mph) in order to protect the head and chest of drivers and passengers in the event of a frontal crash. Therefore an airbag needs enough space in front of the steering wheel in order to inflate properly. People who are shorter than around 5’' 2” (1.57m) often sit too close to the steering wheel and may be injured by the inflating airbag. A safe distance is around 12 inches – the size of an A4 piece of paper placed lengthways.

Danny Williams, BOA Council Member, said: “While most of us are aware that seatbelts save lives, it’s fair to say that the majority of us don’t know that the way we sit in a vehicle also plays a huge part in our safety and wellbeing. “The position of the head restraint, how far or close we sit to the steering wheel and how long we spend sitting at the wheel without having a break are can cause long-lasting neck and back injuries.”

Matthew Avery, Crash Research Manager at Thatcham, said: “Vehicle safety has moved on at a pace with numerous new technologies now available designed to help avoid or mitigate injury during a collision. Whilst many seats and head restraints perform well in protecting the occupant, this research goes to show that too many drivers are still subject to avoidable risks by not taking the time to adjust their head restraints correctly.”

1Esure survey published 30/6/2010 found 85% of women always wear seat belts compared with 73% of men
2The research for BOA was carried out online by Opinion Matters between 14/09/2010 and 20/09/2010 amongst a panel resulting in 1435 UK Adult respondents. All research conducted adheres to the MRS Codes of Conduct (2010) in the UK and ICC/ESOMAR World Research Guidelines
3The total UK motoring population based on DfT Transport Statistics - 33,522,106 motor vehicles currently licensed as at 2006. 14,816,770 is a projected figure based on the 1435 motorists surveyed


Mum’s diet may play a role in the earlier development of diabetes

This article was written by Elspeth Stewart, Angel Wellbeing Clinic’s Nutritional Therapist located in Islington.

It is widely acknowledged that a healthy diet during pregnancy can make a difference to the health of both mother and child. A new piece of research coming out of Cambridge University, in a study lead by Susan Ozanne, has highlighted how maternal diets may be linked to the earlier progression of type II diabetes in the next generation.

This research, carried out in mice, demonstrate that a low-protein diet caused changes to gene expression leading to a reduction in a protein required for beta cells in the pancreas to produce insulin effectively (Hnf4a). If this takes place, the beta cells ‘age’ prematurely and struggle to maintain a normal insulin response. Similar beta cell ‘aging’ has been identified in people with type II diabetes but research is yet to demonstrate this particular dietary association in human studies. Given the ethical considerations of carrying out research around pregnancy it may be a little more difficult to demonstrate.

Where's the protein?

As a nutritional therapist working in Islington I spend a lot of time looking at the diets of new clients, I often find myself encouraging people to look at how they might include more protein to improve their health. The explosion of convenience foods since the 70s and Islington’s Upper Street has plenty, has significantly changed the way people eat and prepare food. The diet most people now follow is quite carbohydrate rich and the bulk of protein seems to be consumed at dinnertime. A typical food diary I might see includes:

cereal or toast for a quick, easy breakfast
a sandwich for lunch on the go
biscuits, fruit, flavoured yoghurt or crisps for a snack
juice, soft drinks or sweetened tea or coffee as drinks through the day

Even dinner can be quite carbohydrate-heavy with pizza, pasta, noodles and rice dishes. So unless taking care to select foods that contain a reasonable amount of protein and plenty of vegetables, it is easy to end up with a diet that is predominantly carbohydrate based.

Referring back to the study on mice, it doesn’t seem far-fetched that a similar process may have been taking place in humans over the last 30 years, contributing to the current epidemic of diabetes. It is not unusual now for teenagers to be diagnosed with type II diabetes, a condition once associated with old age.

Our diet influences the expression of genes

Research into epigenetics (how diet and environment can shape the way our genes are expressed) is starting to demonstrate clearly that our health is not entirely fixed in our DNA and that we have the power to shape how genes are expressed through modifying our diet, exercise and stress levels. This is great news for anyone who wants to take positive control of their health.

Good nutrition during pregnancy is essential

If starting a family, it is essential to recognise the importance of a healthy diet and how you can eat in a way that will not only keep you and the baby well in the short term, but also lay a foundation for good health in years to come.

Elspeth Stewart is Islington’s Angel Wellbeing Clinic’s Nutritional Therapist, she has a keen interest in how nutritional therapy can improve health and how nutritional therapy can improve pregnancy. Elspeth Stewart is part of a team including, Orly Barziv, Islington’s Angel Acupuncture Clinic’s acupuncturist and Chantal Prince, Islington’s Angel Osteopathic Clinic’s osteopath. Chantal spends a lot of her time at the clinic treating mums and babies.


Parenting Stress Affects New Mothers' Postpartum Lifestyle

Post-pregnancy excess weight is likely caused by the impact of new parenthood stress on physical activity, Georgia Health Sciences University researchers say.

In a study of 60 first-time mothers, researchers linked higher post-pregnancy body mass index - weight in relation to height - to a combination of a high BMI before pregnancy, excessive weight gain during pregnancy, parenting stress and a sedentary lifestyle, according to a study published in Women & Health.

For full article click here

Acupuncture and Assisted Conception

Orly Barziz is the acupuncturisit at Islington's Angel Acupuncture Clinic. She has a keen interest in acupuncture and fertility and has contribueted articles on the subject of fertility to this website

It's possible that the more relaxed a woman is when the embryos first enter the womb, the more likely they are to nestle in and grow successfully. In previous research, a Cochrane review of studies found, potentially stress-relieving acupuncture treatments done at the time of embryo transfer have nearly doubled pregnancy rates.

"The data from this meta-analysis suggests that acupuncture does increase the live birth rate with in vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment when performed around the time of embryo transfer. However, this could be attributed to placebo effect and the small number of trials included in the review. Larger studies are necessary to confirm the results. Acupuncture may have potential harmful effects in early pregnancy and hence clinicians should be cautious when giving advice regarding the use of acupuncture in early pregnancy".

Acupuncture and physical exercise improve hormone levels and menstrual bleeding pattern in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

Acupuncture and physical exercise improve hormone levels and menstrual bleeding pattern in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), reveals research from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

In the current study, published in the American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism, a group of women with PCOS were given acupuncture where the needles were stimulated both manually and with a weak electric current at a "very" low frequency that was, to some extent, similar to muscular work. A second group was instructed to exercise at least three times a week, while a third group acted as controls. All were given information on the importance of regular exercise and a healthy diet.

"The study shows that both acupuncture and exercise reduce high levels of testosterone and lead to more regular menstruation," says docent associate professor Elisabet Stener-Victorin, who is responsible for the study. "Of the two treatments, the acupuncture proved more effective."

For the full paper

The National Child Measurement Programme

As part of the National Child Measurement Programme children are weighed and measured at school. The information is used by the NHS to plan and provide better health services for children. Some local NHS providers will send the results to the parents of the children measured.

Parents 'do not recognise obesity in their children'.

Childhood obesity is a growing problem, but parents are often surprised, even angry, when told that their child is too heavy.

In this week's Scrubbing Up, consultant paediatrician Professor Mary Rudolf, who advises the government on obesity, asks why it is so difficult to recognise when children are overweight.

Cost-effectiveness of guideline-endorsed treatments for low back pain: a systematic review


Healthcare costs for low back pain (LBP) are increasing rapidly. Hence, it is important to provide treatments that are effective and cost-effective. The purpose of this systematic review was to investigate the cost-effectiveness of guideline-endorsed treatments for LBP. We searched nine clinical and economic electronic databases and the reference list of relevant systematic reviews and included studies for eligible studies. Economic evaluations conducted alongside randomised controlled trials investigating treatments for LBP endorsed by the guideline of the American College of Physicians and the American Pain Society were included. Two independent reviewers screened search results and extracted data. Data extracted included the type and perspective of the economic evaluation, the treatment comparators, and the relative cost-effectiveness of the treatment comparators. Twenty-six studies were included. Most studies found that interdisciplinary rehabilitation, exercise, acupuncture, spinal manipulation or cognitive-behavioural therapy were cost-effective in people with sub-acute or chronic LBP. Massage alone was unlikely to be cost-effective. There were inconsistent results on the cost-effectiveness of advice, insufficient evidence on spinal manipulation for people with acute LBP, and no evidence on the cost-effectiveness of medications, yoga or relaxation. This review found evidence supporting the cost-effectiveness of the guideline-endorsed treatments of interdisciplinary rehabilitation, exercise, acupuncture, spinal manipulation and cognitive-behavioural therapy for sub-acute or chronic LBP. There is little or inconsistent evidence for other treatments endorsed in the guideline.

Acupuncture and Childhood Lazy Eye

Patients who come along to the Angel Wellbeing Clinic Islington to see the acupuncturist do so for a variety of reasons. As far as I know we haven’t had anyone present at the clinic suffering from lazy eye, or amblyopia (to give the condition its medical name).

Lazy eye, or amblyopia, is a condition where the vision in an eye is poor due to the lack of use of the eye during early childhood. Generally, only one eye is affected, but in some cases it affects both eyes. However, although this is a rare case, some degree of amblyopia is the most common condition treated by paediatric ophthalmologists and affects 1 in 25 children. This is one of the reasons why children in the UK usually have a routine pre-school or primary school vision-check as amblyopia is very treatable at this age.

The condition develops gradually in a baby and it is during this important developmental period that the neurological pathways involved in vision are established, whereby the eye is linked to the brain, and internal neurological connections within the brain are formed. During this developmental process, the brain learns how to interpret the vision signals that come from an eye. This neurological developmental process continues until the child is 7-8 years old; beyond which the pathways are fully developed and the possibilities of change are greatly reduced.

If, for any reason, a young child cannot use one or both eyes normally, then the normal neurological development will not take place, and amblyopia, or a lazy eye, will develop, resulting in poor sight (visual acuity). Furthermore, the amblyopia develops in addition to whatever else is affecting the eye. Therefore, even if any other resident eye problems are treated successfully, the visual impairment from amblyopia usually remains permanent, unless it is diagnosed and treated before the age of about seven years. Essentially, amblyopia is considered a neurological developmental problem of the brain rather than a problem within the eye itself.

The most common treatment for amblyopia is ‘patching’ or occlusion therapy. This involves placing an eye patch over the good eye, forcing the lazy eye to work better at seeing, by pushing that part of the brain that is responsible for vision to work harder with the un-occluded eye and thereby developing its neurological connections.

Jianhao Zhao, of the Joint Shantou International Eye Centre of Shantou University and Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shantou, China carried out a randomized, controlled trial with 88 children to see how effective acupuncture was compared to occlusion therapy or patching for the treatment of lazy eye [Zhao et al., 2010].

In the experiment, the children were assigned to one of two groups:

• Acupuncture Group - 43 children. These were given five treatment sessions each week, which targeted five needle insertion sites, also known as acupoints.
• Patching Group - 45 children. Their good eye was patched for two hours each day. They had to perform near-vision activities with their lazy eye for one hour each day. Near vision activities included reading or typing.

After a total of 15 weeks' worth of treatment the following was observed:

• Visual acuity improved by 2.3 lines in the Acupuncture Group;
• Visual acuity improved by 1.8 lines in the Patching Group;
• 75.6% (31) of the children in the Acupuncture Group experienced an improvement of at least two lines;
• 66.7% (28) of the children in the Patching Group experienced an improvement of at least two lines’
• In the Acupuncture Group lazy eye was considered as resolved in 41.5% of cases;
• In the Patching Group lazy eye was considered as resolved in 16.7% of cases.

The results of the experiment appeared to show that acupuncture was an effective means of treating amblyopia, and in fact compared to patching, was statically superior. It led the to the view that well-targeted acupuncture may have altered the activity in the part of the brain that receives data from the eyes (visual cortex), and that the treatment may also have enhanced blood flow to the eye and surrounding tissues, as well as the generation of compounds that support the growth of retinal nerves could also be stimulated. Nevertheless, [Zhao et al., 2010] concluded that “Although the treatment effect of acupuncture appears promising, the mechanism underlying its success as a treatment for amblyopia remains unclear.” Therefore, before acupuncture can be championed as an alternative treatment to occlusion therapy for amblyopia, further studies must first be conducted to identify its true value in the treatment of the lazy eye.


[Zhao et. Al, 2010] Jianhao Zhao, MD; Dennis S. C. Lam, MD, FRCOphth; Li Jia Chen, PhD; Yunxiu Wang, BMed; Chongren Zheng, DEpid; Qiaoer Lin, DN; Srinivas K. Rao, FRCS; Dorothy S. P. Fan, FRCS; Mingzhi Zhang, MD; Ping Chung Leung, MD; Robert Ritch, MD, FRCOphth, “Randomized Controlled Trial of Patching vs Acupuncture for Anisometropic Amblyopia in Children Aged 7 to 12 Years”, Arch Ophthalmol. 2010;128(12):1510-1517. doi:10.1001/archophthalmol.2010.306.

Post Christmas Wii Related Injuries!

The British College of Osteopathic Medicine (BCOM) has this year noticed an increase in the number of post-Christmas patients its Clinic treats for ‘Wii and iPhone strain’.

The strain is caused by prolonged periods of activity on the Wii and iPhone. Of the Wii, Manoj Mehta, Head of Clinic and Osteopathy at BCOM, says it occurs because people assume that no pre-stretching is required. He advises those who are experiencing this strain to perform gentle stretching exercises prior to playing on the Wii and not to exert themselves whilst performing movements specific to given sports, such as serving whilst playing tennis. He adds: “The Christmas period is the obvious time, particularly this year’s longer-than-usual break, when people spend more time entertaining themselves at home.”

The strain is also attributed in some cases to overuse of the iPhone, which can cause neck ache and headaches from the prolonged period in which the head and neck are lowered, which also causes shoulder ache, whilst playing games or apps. Mehta recommends avoiding playing games on the iPhone for prolonged periods and to perform gentle stretching exercises for neck, upper back and shoulders, before and after. He adds: “do not ignore the warning signs – the twinges that occur whilst you’re playing these games that serve as a warning. It is important that, if the ache or pain does not ease off after gentle stretching, the person seeks the advice of a GP or an Osteopath.”

Notes to Editors:
Belinda Webb
BCOM PR & Publicity Officer


Depression, Pregnancy and Having an Emotionally Healthy Baby.

The Angel Wellbeing Clinic has a strong interest in all things mother and baby, with the acupuncturist, cranial osteopath, counsellor and parent coach having a keen interest in this topic. We are able to help with the lead up to birth and post birth, with care for the mother and baby’s physical needs and the mum and dad’s emotional needs.

There have been a few articles published in recent years that look at the emotional state of the mother, and the effect on the foetus with respect to the emotional state of the baby [Kinsella, 2009]. This touches on a number of different fields: medicine, psychology, psychiatry, embryology and neuroendocrinology. It really is the point where there is a convergence of anatomy and physiology to produce a sentient being with an individual personality.

Studies have shown that an increase in maternal depression during pregnancy leads to an increase in cortisol levels in babies at birth [Marcus et al., 2010]. Cortisol is produced by the adrenal glands, which are located just in front of the kidneys as a response to physical or psychological stress. In doing so, cortisol prepares the body and the brain to deal with this stress by guaranteeing that they have enough energy to react and function whenever this stress occurs. Other than being known as a stress hormone, cortisol has a number of other effects on the body such as regulation of blood pressure and cardiovascular function, as well as regulating carbohydrate metabolism and suppressing immune function.

Cortisol is secreted into the blood stream from the adrenal glands as a response to physical and emotional stress. Apart from its effects as a stress hormone, cortisol also has a neuronal developmental effect; therefore, it is also involved with the development of the child’s brain, particularly the limbic system and prefrontal cortex, which is part of the neuroendocrine system that interprets and regulates emotions. This influence of cortisol on the development of the child’s brain may carry on until they are 10 years old and the mylination of specific neurones is completed. This fits in nicely with Bowlby’s theory of maternal deprivation [Bowlby,51], where he suggested that an unbroken attachment to the mother was essential during the first two years of the child’s life to prevent problems in later years.

The exact influence that cortisol has on the neurons of the brain is not fully known. However, it has been suggested in [Essex et al., 2002] that the substance may accelerate the loss of the neurons, resulting in delays in the mylination of the neurons or in abnormalities due to inappropriate ‘pruning’ of the neurons. Moreover, the effect of this on the brain is that the brain becomes more sensitive and responsive to stress. Consequently, the body has less control of stress, which, as a baby developing into a toddler, then into adolescence and finally into adulthood, can exhibit behavioural and emotional problems.

Understanding the long term effects of having a ‘damaged’ stress response should promote better care pre and post partum, with better care for the mum pre and post birth and mum and dad post birth, to create the most secure parenting environment possible. This is something our parent counsellor has a keen interest in and as an adult, CBT therapy can help with dealing with inappropriate stress responses.

Once your baby is born, his or her brain develops partly because of genetic instructions (nature) and partly because of exposure to the outside world (nurture). Experiences help determine which synapses grow stronger and which are pruned. If the baby is exposed to consistent and empathic parenting the neurons that promote low anxiety for the baby will be nurtured and the baby will express low anxiety behaviour. The baby will then grow up being able to handle stressful situations better, be less anxious in relationships and be less vulnerable to stress-related illnesses. If the converse happens, the baby may grow up having an increased risk to anxiety-based disorders such as Generalised Anxiety Disorder, OCD, PTSD and ADDH to name but a few [Coplana, 2002].

In summary, how you are as a mum in the run up to birth is essential for decreasing the level of stress for your unborn child. How you are as mum and dad in the lead up to the birth is also extremely important too. Post birth with the change of situation, the reaction to that situation and the change in the relationship is also important to produce a low stress child.

What can you do for your baby at the Angel Wellbeing Clinic?

• Massage and acupuncture help reduce stress.
• Parent coaching can help plan and prepare you both for the birth and anticipate the changes.
• Massage, acupuncture and osteopathy post birth can help physical and emotional recovery.
• Cranial osteopathy can help with making the baby as settled as possible.
• CBT therapy can help with any fears and worries about parenthood.


[Bowlby, 51] Bowlby, J., Maternal Care and Mental Health, Geneva: World Health Organisation, 1951, ISBN 1568217579.

[Coplana, 2002] Coplana, J.D., Moreaub, D., Chaputb, F., Martinezb, J.M., Hovenb, C.W., Mandellb, D.J., Gormanb, J.M., Pine, D.S., Salivary cortisol concentrations before and after carbon-dioxide inhalations in children, Biol Psychiatry, Feb 15 2002, 51:326-33.

[Essex et al, 2002] Essex, M.J., Klein, M. H., Cho, E., Kalin, N.H., Maternal stress beginning in infancy may sensitize children to later stress exposure: effects on cortisol and behaviour, Biological Psychiatry 52, pp776-784, 2002.

[Kinsella, 2009] Kinsella, M.T., Impact of Maternal Stress, Depression and Anxiety on Fetal Neurobehavioral Development, Clinical Obstetrics & Gynecology: September 2009 - Volume 52 - Issue 3 - pp 425-440,
doi: 10.1097/GRF.0b013e3181b52df1, Psychiatric Disorders in Pregnancy

[Marcus et al., 2010] Marcus, S., Lopez, J.F., McDonough, S., MacKenzie, M.J., Flynn, H., Neal Jr, C.R., Gahagan, S., Volling, B., Kaciroti, N., Vazquez, D.M.,
Depressive symptoms during pregnancy: Impact on neuroendocrine and neonatal outcomes, Infant Behavior and Development, July 2010.



Ten Ways To Manage Christmas Stress - or maybe not!!


Christmas is an expensive time for everyone so set yourself a budget and stick to it. Accept that being a good parent or being a good and loving partner doesn’t mean you have to spend a lot of money. It is the thought that matters and if they don’t like the ‘thought’ then they aren’t worth it so leave them. That goes for the children too!

If your child says ‘I can’t live without it’ with reference to a wii game or something similar, they are lying so ignore them!

Hosting Christmas can sometimes feel like a bit of a burden, especially if you're cooking dinner. So to reduce stress get invited to someone else’s and leave before it is time to do the washing up..

Look after yourself! If you're feeling stressed, you're not going to have a good time. Make sure that you feel relaxed by having a drink and falling asleep on the sofa when it is time to wash up.

Don't be afraid to ask for help, if you delegate properly you will have next to nothing to do

If you're getting a touch of cabin fever and your family is getting on your nerves go out for a walk to the pub. It is okay to take the children with you if there is an outside play area.

It's easy to underestimate that children may get tired or bored quite early on in the day and so irritate the adults so banish them to their bedroom nice and early. If they put up resistance tell them that if they are bad children Santa has to pass this way on his way back to the North Pole and he can always stop off and collect the presents, it is their choice!

You should try to eat and drink regularly to keep yourself hydrated and alert. Start the morning with a bucks fizz but don’t forget that keeping the fluid levels topped up constantly throughout the day is important so maybe a gin and tonic before lunch may help. Don’t get seduced by the old wives tale about drinking plenty of water.

Don’t worry about over eating on Christmas day and Boxing Day as you can combine a New Year healthy eating campaign with a detox programme from too much alcohol consumption over New Year. Obviously don’t get upset with the knowledge that you make the same New Year’s resolution and it only lasts a week!

Although everyone dreams of the perfect family Christmas, try not to panic if it doesn't work out how you wanted. There is always another one in 12 months time!

Children with Allergies Let Down


Interesting article and well worth a read but it is a bit frightening that 40% of children have allergies and yet the doctors of the future are not taught about it.


The Toddler Test

This article made me smile. My not-so-little boy, Ed, will be nine in December and when I watch him playing with his cousins or watch him come out of school with his friends and they chat to me I have to remind myself that it wasn’t too long ago that he came out of school looking a bit lost with a shirt that was too big around the neck, a cap that hid most of his face and shorts that looked like Wallace’s “Wrong Trousers”.

It is always good to remember what the were like so this “Take my toddler test” from the Parentlineplus website is amusing After this stage you have the stage where you go to the loo in the night and tread on Lego but this is far more preferable to walking around unconsciously whistling the tune from ‘In the Night Garden”!

Natalie C.

What is your job role?

Afternoon/evening receptionist and in charge of social media for the clinic.

How long have you worked here?

Just over 7 months, feels longer though…

What do you do in your free time?

Look after my 2 children, see my friends and clean my house!

What is the craziest thing you have ever done?

Appeared on GMTV for a makeover, lets just say I am not a natural in front of the camera!

Summer or winter?

Winter, I love cold days and crisp mornings and hot chocolate and soups and log fires and cosy coats and snuggling under a warm quilt and Christmas and my birthday….

What is the last book you read?

The secret life of Marilyn Monroe by J. Randy Taraborrelli, it was brilliant!

If you could switch places with any other person for a week (living or dead) who would it be?

One of my children’s teachers at their school to see what my children really are like when I am not around!

If you could go on a trip where would that be?

To see the Northern lights.

Favourite album of all time?

I haven’t got one, my tastes change all the time.

Most memorable night out?

Let’s just say it involved a lot of booze, a bar on Upper Street, a fire extinguisher and being picked up by a bouncer and thrown out of said bar, memorable for all the wrong reasons but one to tell the grandchildren!

Favourite drink?


Are We Doing it Right?

Everyone at the Angel Wellbeing Clinic is aware that patients want top quality clinical care and top quality customer service. We achieve the clinical care standard by selecting our therapists carefully and listening to what the patients say about them, and we achieve good customer service results by taking the patients needs very seriously.

Like most things in life we can always do things a bit better but we need your input for that. We do try and see things from the patient’s perspective but we aren’t the patient so please fill in the customer satisfaction form and tell us what you think.

Many thanks.

Brian Bamberger

Fast Food Marketing to Children and Teens

This is all taken from the American website Fast Food f.a.c.t.s; food advertising to children and teens score.

There is of course Jamie Oliver and his School Dinner campaign.

I hope they aren't too cross with me for lifting this piece word for word but I really think it is worth publisicing. After all how much do Burger King et al spend on marketing? About $4.2 billian dollars.

Fast food marketing is relentless.

• The fast food industry spent more than $4.2 billion dollars in 2009 on TV advertising and other media.
• The average preschooler (2-5 years) saw 2.8 TV ads per day for fast food; children (6-11 years) saw 3.5; and teens (12-17 years) saw 4.7.
• Young people's exposure to fast food TV ads has increased. Compared to 2003, preschoolers viewed 21% more fast food ads in 2009, children viewed 34% more, and teens viewed 39% more.
• Although McDonald's and Burger King have pledged to improve food marketing to children, they increased their volume of TV advertising from 2007 to 2009. Preschoolers saw 21% more ads for McDonald's and 9% more for Burger King, and children viewed 26% more ads for McDonald's and 10% more for Burger King.
• Even though McDonald's and Burger King only showed their "better-for-you" foods in child-targeted marketing, their ads did not encourage consumption of these healthier choices. Instead, child-targeted ads focused on toy giveaways and building brand loyalty.
• Children saw more than child-targeted ads. More than 60% of fast food ads viewed by preschoolers and children promoted fast food items other than kids' meals.

Fast food marketing works.

• Eighty-four percent of parents reported taking their child to a fast food restaurant at least once a week; 66% reported going to McDonald's in the past week.
• Forty percent of parents reported that their child asks to go to McDonald's at least once a week; 15% of preschoolers ask to go every day.

As a result:

• Teens between the ages of 13 and 18 purchased 800 to 1,100 calories in an average fast food visit.
• At least 30% of calories in menu items purchased by children and teens were from sugar and saturated fat.
• At most restaurants, young people purchased at least half of their maximum daily recommended sodium intake in just one fast food meal.
• Teens ordered more fast food than any other age group during non-meal times after school and in the evening.

Pregnancy Calculator

No, this doesnt let you work out how much having a baby costs!

Enter your dates for ovulation and know when your due date is going to be. Obviously everyone gives birth exactly on cue!

Good luck!



Stiletto Warning For Pregnant Women

This was taken from the bbc's web site.

Women's shoes Fashionable shoes can be worn occasionally

Pregnant women are risking their feet in the name of fashion by wearing the wrong types of shoes, experts warn.

A poll of 1,000 pregnant women for the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists found many regularly wore ballet pumps, flip flops, high heels and Ugg boots.

But Lorraine Jones from the society says none of these shoes are suitable because they offer little support.

The survey also suggests half feel under pressure to keep up with the latest celebrity trends.

Yet seven out of 10 women admitted to suffering from foot problems including swollen ankles (37%), swollen feet (45%) and arch and heel pain (16%) while pregnant.
Continue reading the main story
“Start Quote

High heels alter your posture, shorten your calf muscles and place increased pressure on your back and knees”

End Quote Lorraine Jones Podiatrist

The society is urging women to wear supportive, wide fitting shoes to minimise discomfort and avoid long-term damage.

Podiatrist Lorraine Jones said: "Weight gain and hormonal changes in pregnancy have a huge impact on the body.

"Muscles and ligaments soften and stretch because of an increase in the ovarian hormone relaxin, which makes your feet more prone to ankle and ligament strains on a daily basis.

"High heels alter your posture, shorten your calf muscles and place increased pressure on your back and knees.

"In pregnancy this places extra pressure on your joints when they are already under strain - which can result in a host of foot, leg and back problems and could increase the likelihood of falls."
Suffering for fashion

Among those surveyed, 66% regularly wore flip flops, 32% wore high heels, 53% wore ballet pumps and 30% wore Ugg boots.

But all of these are unsuitable for daily wear in pregnancy because they do not provide the feet with the necessary support, according to Ms Jones.

As a rule, she says women should opt for 1.2in (3cm) heels as they shift weight a little further forward on to the feet, which can help alleviate discomfort.

If women must wear high heels, they should only do so very occasionally and at events where they will not be on their feet for too long, she adds.

"Many of the pregnant celebrities you see wearing high heels in magazines are attending events so, like them, try to keep your high-heeled, high-fashion shoes for a special occasion and stick to a more supportive shoe on a daily basis."

Strictly Come Slouching

Sorry, I cant take responsibility for the title of this blog entry!

With the autumn nights about to draw in and Strictly Come Dancing starting this weekend, the nation is gearing up to a series of Saturday nights slouched in front of the box.

From now until Christmas, there is an onslaught of weekend entertainment programmes and the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) is warning that we could all be ‘Strictly Come Aching’ as a result.

Research highlights that 28% of the population already spend over 15 hours seated per day Monday to Friday. But for the next three months avid viewers of X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing could spend the equivalent of an extra two days on the sofa watching Simon Cowell and Len Wiseman put contestants through their paces.

Poor posture is one of the biggest causes of back pain, and figures continue to rise, with 32% of the nation currently suffering from back pain and 62% having suffered. This additional inactivity on top of our already sedentary lifestyles means we could be in for a serious case of the Slouch Factor.

Tim Hutchful from the British Chiropractic Association warns: “As a nation we clearly like to sit down and whilst resting is good for our bodies there is almost twice as much pressure on your back when you are sitting incorrectly than there is if you stand up. Sitting for prolonged periods of time as inactivity coupled with incorrect posture lays us open to back pain.”

The British Chiropractic Association has some simple pointers to enjoy Saturday nights in front of the TV safely:
• Sit up! Sit in chairs that provide full support for your spine and make sure your shoulders, hips and knees face the same direction.
• Stand up! Avoid sitting in the same position for more than 40 minutes, less if possible. When you do take a break, walk around and stretch a little.
• Exercise! Compensate for inactivity during the ad breaks by doing some light exercise – anything to loosen your muscles. Using something like the Straighten Up UK exercises would be ideal.

The BCA has also devised a simple three minute exercise routine called Straighten Up UK. This can be incorporated into our daily lives to help strengthen the spine and improve posture. The exercise routine is available to download from for more information call the BCA on 0118 950 5950 or visit where there is also plenty of practical advice to help avoid back problems and improve posture.

Couch Potato

There was an interesting article on the BBC website last week regarding research querying the link between obesity and inactivity. The study challenged the previous assumption that a lack of exercise causes children to put on weight. Researchers looked at 200 children in the Plymouth area and came to the opposite conclusion: getting fatter makes them inactive. There is a lot more to this than meets the eye so maybe check out the BBC webpages (link at the bottom of this article).

As a parent of an eight and a half year old boy I am very aware that I have a big influence on him both emotionally and physically, and the example of ‘lifestyle’ is the one I set for him. So, perhaps looking at what parents are like is the best way forward as there is no point tackling children’s habits and lifestyle if their parents do not understand what a healthy lifestyle means.

Children generally should not set the rules of the house; they certainly should not have carte blanche over picking what food goes into the shopping trolley or what and when they should eat. I know what my son would pick, given the chance, but he doesn’t get that opportunity!

Again, this is an area of responsibility of the parents and there is a need to set sensible boundaries for your child. Sometimes though, setting these boundaries can be stressful as not all children take ‘no’ as well as mine does. But you have to be firm, consistent and appropriate which is easier said than done! When it comes down to it we, as parents, are only human and have good and bad days as well. However, we have to aim for this consistency and appropriateness at all times for the sake of our children.

Childhood obesity is clearly a growing problem. Addressing this issue is as multifactorial as the cause of it. Clearly though, by educating the parents as to their own health requirements, the benefits of diet and exercise and how good they can feel from this, can set a rock-solid example to their children of a good and healthy “life style”, and put them onto the road to a live-time of improved health and wellbeing. Coupled with this, if the Government enforces stricter labelling of food packaging and limiting the direct marketing of “unhealthy” foods at children in shops as well as on the television would be two steps forward to a better and healthier population.

When it comes down to it, as a parent ask yourself this question: “Do I want an obese and unhealthy child?”

If you don’t, then it’s time to do something about it!


School Sports Day: Be Careful!

As much as I enjoy a bit of regular exercise, I play tennis a few times a week to a reasonable standard and I go running two to three times a week to not such a good standard, I still feel a compulsion to show my son how fast I am in the ‘Dad’s Race’ at sports day. The reality is I am not a sprinter or a runner of ability.

The first ‘Dad’s Race’ I competed in (note the word ‘competed’!) I tore my right adductor muscle, okay a groin strain, and it was painful for a month or so. So be careful, don’t get too competitive as your son or daughter will still think you are wonderful even if you don’t win. But my son still thinks I was stupid trying to do the ‘Fathers Race’ in flip flops!

The Point of Acupuncture

World Health Organisation endorses acupuncture for at least 24 conditions. So we all know what acupuncture is but why does it work?

Acupuncture has an analgesic effect and this is well documented but what biologically happens to bring about this reported effect? The insertion of the needle does not alleviate the pain but stimulation of the needle by either turning it, passing an electric current through it or in some cases heating the needle brings about the desired effect.

It is believed that the pain killing effect of acupuncture is brought about by the release of opioid peptides in the central nervous system as a response to the long-lasting activation of ascending pain tracts in the spinal cord due to the intermittent stimulation of pain receptive nerve endings by the needle. It is believed that Adenosine is the central mediator in this process.

Chiropractic is also successful at treating chronic pain and it is believed that the chiropractic adjustment may act on the pain receptive nerve endings surrounding the joints of the spine.

You Think It's All Over!

It’s the World Cup so lets all play football! It is great to get enthusiastic about sport, get off the sofa and get more active! But if you are honest with yourself how active and fit are you really? Can your body take a sudden bout of footie?

Chiropractors treat sport injuries as well as injuries associated with back pain and in the maintenance of good spinal function. It is all too common to see patients come in for treatment after suffering an injury from an attack of the ‘lets get active’ attitude. Football isn’t just a lot of running around. It’s also physical so there is an increased stressed on the body to deal with this side of things too.

The most frequent injuries from football are the common garden ankle sprains and the acronym ‘RICE’ is the best way to deal with them:


The return to activity has to be carefully monitored and some rehabilitation exercises to improve proprioception will be necessary as well as some strapping. And then the secret is to just take it easy as you get your fitness or activity level back to where it was prior to the injury. Remember: don’t try and start back at football at the same level you were before the injury.

Anyone For Tennis?

If you have ever tried to book a tennis court during Wimbledon you will know how popular tennis gets for two weeks of the year but if you don’t play tennis regularly you are going to be prone to a few injuries when you launch yourself into the two-week frenzy at the local tennis courts.

Sprained ankles must be the most common injury and again RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Immobilisation, Elevation) is the way to deal with them followed by a course of rehabilitation on the wobble board and maybe some strapping. I also find that patients that have twisted their ankle also have some back problems as a result, either from the sudden action of twisting the ankle and the torsional effect on the spine or from the limping around afterwards, so checking out the back is also part of the treatment of a sprained ankle.

Shoulder injuries are also common but maybe for the more intense player. The repetitiveness of practising serving can result in overuse injuries, such as tendonitis or bursitis in the one or more of the muscles around the shoulder. Again, RICE is the way to start tackling but careful thought has to go into the rehabilitation of the shoulder with strengthening and exercises and a gradual return to previous levels of intensity.

Calf strains are also frequent tennis injuries and prevention like all things is the best way to deal with them. Gentle warming up, not really stretching the calf but gradually warming up doing the movements that you would do during tennis. So get your racket and stand on the base line and gently move side from side to side playing against an imaginary opponent. Slowly increase the intensity to a point where you can then play the actual game.

Tennis elbow is on the list of tennis injuries but in 15 years of being a chiropractor I have had only one patient come to me with tennis elbow (inflammation of the extensor tendons around the elbow) from playing tennis. Rackets weigh so little nowadays that there is a lot less stress on the elbow. Most tennis elbow seems to be due to computer use rather than sport so maybe mouse elbow is more appropriate. Again if you have tennis elbow or mouse elbow we can treat it at the clinic.

Second Week Back After New Year. So How Are You Doing?

It is still dark, it's cold. There's the end of the month credit card bill to pay and it is still three months to go before the clocks change. So how do you get through the next few months?

Concentrate on the things you like doing; the things that have historically made you feel good. A mixture of sports to shake off the seasonal over indulgence and for the more emotional side spending time with friends and family. It is simple to recharge yourself after Christmas but making a conscious effort to do it is crucial.

So, think about how you feel and about how you want to feel. Ask yourself - what was going on in your life when you were feeling that way? Then implement simple strategies to recreate that point in your life.

Good luck!

How Long Before The New Year's Resolution Becomes History?

Most people I talk to make a New Year’s resolution, or at least they have ideas of what they may want to change in the New Year. But how many people actually achieve that goal ? Or if they do, how many actually sustain it? We always think about the obvious ones; stop smoking, lose weight, do more exercise and eat better.

But somewhere along the road, or maybe even by the end of January, that New Year's resolution becomes a weight around your neck. Excuses start to come out and eventually one or two weeks of good behaviour become a distant memory and it is back to the old habits.

One good thing to do is to look at what you want to achieve and then set some sensible goals. Don’t get too carried away - be realistic. If you've joined a gym don’t start off with too punishing a schedule because it will take time for your body and mind to adjust to the changes. Get your diary out, look at the next three or four months, and set your self a sensible pace.

Remember, if it is fun and manageable you are much more likely to stick to it.

Happy New Year, and good luck from everyone at the Angel Chiropractic Clinic.

Is Your Laptop Giving You A Pain In The Back?

Everyone knows the less time you need to spend in the office the better. Most of us are now used to carrying out laptops around with us to give us more freedom. But even the lightest laptop can be quite cumbersome and tiresome to haul around between the office and home. More and more patients are coming into Angel Chiropractic Clinic complaining of an aching neck and shoulder pain from carrying around their computers.

So, the question is what can you do ? You can minimixe the strain on your shoulders by using a wheeled case if you are travelling a long way with your laptop. If you can't do this then make sure you have a bag that hungs the body and has a wide, heavily padded shoulder strao to distribute the weight and reduce shoulder strain as much as possible.

When you are using the computer itself take regular breaks, roll your shoulders and neck around gently to release the build up of tension. Think about invest in a laptop stand which can offer relief by elevating the screen to your eye level.

Crunch Time

Fed up with the doom and gloom that’s in the papers at the moment ? Feeling you might scream if you hear the words 'Credit Crunch' one more time? What about that dreaded ‘R’ word? RECESSION. We may not have any power over the economy but what we do have power over is our own lives.

Sometimes you need to take a long, hard look in the mirror. You need to look at who you are and how you act. What in your personality is stopping you moving forward? That takes personal reflection, insight and honesty.

We can, for example, take personal responsibility for our health. For some, the obvious things to do are to stop smoking or drinking and with Christmas and New Year on the horizon I am sure there will be plenty of opportunity for both! Others might want to take more exercise or to eat better. But for the majority of the patients I see, the biggest problems are more general ‘lifestyle’ problems and in particular issues associated with work.

Many of us spend a third of the day sitting at a desk. In an economic downturn, stress and pressure make everything that little bit harder so it’s more important than ever to look after yourself. My two top tips are to get your spine adjusted to keep yourself well (it only takes 10 minutes and you an even fit it in on your way to or from work) and to create some time and space to do the things in life that you really enjoy.

When it comes down to it you can only enjoy yourself if you are dealing with work and stress in a healthy way. Come and see us and find out how Angel Chiropractic Clinic can help you function better, help your body cope with stress and set you free to gain more from life.

So, Is He Or Isn’t he?

No, this doesn’t refer to McCain’s mental state in having Sarah Palin as his running mate. I think if he knew as much about her then as he does now and he still chose her then he would clearly be one state short of a majority. This ‘is he or isn’t he’ refers to David Beckham signing for AC Milan after Christmas.

There have been lots of suggestions as to “why AC Milan?” such as “his missus will like the shopping”, “Posh likes pasta and pizza” – well, maybe individual lengths of spaghetti or a pizza the size of a canapé. Or maybe it could be because he will get to

play football with some of the world’s finest players and have his fitness managed by a chiropractor at the Milan Lab!

This period with Milan Lab’s chiropractor Dr Messerman will not do his value as a player any harm and I am sure it will keep the England manager and former manager of AC Milan happy. Maybe this spell will enable him to get to Bobby Moore’s number of caps and maybe this move will even help him prolong his career as a footballer. I am sure that the owners of LA Galaxy wont see it like this as they will prefer him to have a bit of a rest when their season finishes but they are Americans and what do they know about football, sorry, soccer?!

Beckham's move to AC Milan may help him no end, after all Beckham is a great athlete and has kept himself comparatively injury free in his career - there is a chance that he can emulate the other AC Milan pensioner Paolo Maldini who is 39 and contemplating another year on his contract. Maldini is a full six years older and still playing at a top level, albeit as a defender (okay, he has spent a good deal of his career laying on the pitch and rolling around feigning being fouled).

So what has AC Milan’s chiropractor got to offer and why is a chiropractor in charge of fitness and rehab? A complete approach to wellness and injury prevention without the shackles of conventional medicine’s paradigm of health. This complete approach to wellness is what we have here in Islington - an understanding that there is a lot more to health and fitness than treating illness and injuries. It is about making sure that the whole body is David Beckham kicksfunctioning as well as possible.

Here is quote from David Beckham’s chiropractor:

"Players are seen every day by the chiropractor," Meersseman explains. "This allows us to prevent numerous injuries, while maximising the player's performance. We apply chiropractic in a subluxation‑centered, wellness‑oriented perspective. We especially place a strong emphasis on the upper cervical area and applied kinesiology allows us integrate the biochemical and mental aspect of the triangle of health, as well as to respond to the specific needs of sports chiropractic."

The figures for Dr Meersseman are very good, he has improved injury recovery time, he has reduced the number of steroid injections the team has over a season and consequently this has allowed AC Milan to have a smaller squad that saves the finances and has kept Maldini going at 39.

All these are the benefits of chiropractic care for a professional footballer, but it doesn’t take a lot of thought to see how the population of Upper Street, Islington and the surrounding areas can also benefit form chiropractic care, especially in these grim economic times. If you are an employer you want the staff you have to work at their best, so looking after them is going to pay off. They will be off work less often and they will feel better at work.

I imagine that a lot of time at Milan Lab is spent looking at how the upper body and neck function in conjunction with the biomechanics of how the ankle, hips, knees and pelvis function when striking the ball. This is no different to looking at how the body is functioning at work sitting in front of a PC. We can assess how your body is functioning and make changes to how your spine functions in response to your working environment and prevent injury and fatigue at work.

So maybe David Beckham and Dr Meersseman are going to increase the public’s awareness of chiropractic? I will let you know when the first male patient comes in to the clinic wearing a sarong!

Read more about the Milan Lab here: and

MBT’s Activate The Whole body’ v ‘just do it’

Will my back pain get better if I spend £150 on MBT’s?

If spending £150 on a pair of MBT’s means that you are going to do a lot more walking then there is possibly a benefit from buying them. But will it cure your back pain? I doubt it.

There is a lot in their advertising about Masai warriors not getting back pain and how the shoes simulate the ground giving way under foot. Here are some of the claims:

• Improves posture and gait.
• Tones and shapes the body.
• Can help with back, hip, leg and foot problems
• Can help with joint, muscle, ligament and tendon injuries.
• Reduce strain on knee and hip joints.

• MBT activates the whole body.

I have no problems with people buying shoes or trainers to help with a physical activity. You only have to go into one of the big sport shoe shops to see the range of specialist shoes, dedicated running shoes for the aspiring marathon runner, running shoes for cross country running, tennis shoes that come in all sorts of different configurations for the different surfaces, cross training shoes that do a bit of everything and then the more ‘off-road’ type of shoes for running up and down mountains or in my case worn when walking the dog.

So there is clearly a shoe for everyone out there and of course they all purport to help cushion the foot, provide support, prevent fatigue in the foot muscles and of course they all claim to help protect against injury and aid performance. None of them until now claim to ‘activate the whole body’.

Can a shoe activate the whole body? Nothing that is laced to your feet, strapped to your arm playing music or stuck to your shoe to record how far and fast you have run can activate your body. The only thing that can activate the whole body is you and marketing a shoe as the panacea, and this is what it is in this way I feel is unhelpful.

There has been a lot of press coverage in the past about obesity and diet. In particular mentioning that children growing up now are going to be less fit than their parents and even having a predicted lifespan less than their parents. I have a child and this is indeed worrying so how do I address it at a family level? My little boy is keen on walking and having a dog we walk a lot. He enjoys running around with his cousins. We play tennis and throw a rugby ball about; I am getting off the point here. So what is it that I am going on about? It is our choice of lifestyle that causes the problems that we have and not our footwear.

I imagine that a Masai warrior has a very different lifestyle to us, I reckon that one of the reasons the Masai don’t get back pain is because they don’t spend a third of their day sitting at a computer staring at a screen, I imagine they are out and about hunting and gathering to a level that we over here haven’t done for centuries. We are all designed to be hunter-gatherers and actively seek out our food and have a diet of lean meat and fish, fruits and nuts, live an active life and die in middle age. I guess there isn’t much time for back pain.

So back to the original question. Can a shoe activate the whole body? No. Only you can activate the whole body, it is your choice to change your life and look at what you do and of course the effect your choices in life have on you and your health.

So maybe the Nike slogan is best ‘Just do it’.

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