Archive for March, 2011

Chiropractic, Osteopathy or Physiotherapy what’s the difference?

As a Chiropractor I get asked this question regularly, probably a couple times a day when I am at work and it is difficult to give one definitive answer.

Chiropractors, Osteopaths and Physiotherapists all treat very similar conditions including, low back pain, neck pain, minor sports injuries and issues with the joints, muscles and nerves of the body. In their own separate ways are very effective.

I am not educated or trained as an Osteopath or Physiotherapist so I don’t feel I can comment in too much depth on their scope of practice or methods of treatment I can however talk about Chiropractic.

Every chiropractor undergoes a minimum of 4 years full time education involving subjects such as anatomy, neurology, general diagnosis along with practical examination classes and also Chiropractic technique classes. Chiropractors are trained to deal with patients that walk in from the street and have not seen a medical doctor previously and therefore have to identify any underlying and potentially serious problems such as heart attacks, angina or fractures that might cause back or neck pain and need immediate medical attention or would not be appropriate for chiropractic treatment.

Chiropractors, osteopaths and physiotherapists all have similar but technically different assessment methods and as a Chiropractor a good deal of my time is spent assessing and diagnosing spinal problems, I do however like the other professions examine, diagnose and treat conditions in any joint of the body or affecting any muscle or nerves (depending on the cause).

With treatment methods Physiotherapists and Osteopaths may or may not manipulate or adjust joints of the body, but as a Chiropractor adjusting the joints of the body is what I have had 4 years of specific training to carry out. Chiropractic focuses on the adjustment as a core to treating back and neck pain, headaches and many more conditions. Adjusting or manipulating the joints is a gentle, safe and effective way to treat dysfunction, pain and improve quality of life. Many studies have shown the effectiveness of spinal manipulation in treating lower back pain.

Previously the professions were based on the proposed mechanisms behind the treatment with Osteopaths concentrating on restoring correct blood flow to the area of pain and Chiropractors trying to remove irritation of the nerves and increase nerve flow to allow healing. As science has advanced and new discoveries made these theories have been adapted and although still used to a varying degree they have now been brought up to date with the latest theories and evidence.

From my experiences these three professions are so broad in treatment methods and techniques within themselves that even visiting two different chiropractors can be a vastly different experience, some specialise in sports others in chiropractic for children the same seems to be true in my experiences of Osteopathy and Physiotherapy.

With the treatment I provide at Camden Chiropractic in North London I hope to provide the optimum package and although elements might be similar to Osteopathic and Physiotherapy treatments. But why not integrate aspects from all of them while sticking to my core Chiropractic training to create a treatment package that gets the best results in the shortest time? It is my goal at Camden Chiropractic to provide the best care possible to ensure a speedy recovery and optimum health.


5 Tips How to keep your spine healthy at work

Staying healthy and keeping every day aches and pains’ is difficult with hectic lifestyles and the hustle and bustle of life in London. Here at Camden Chiropractic I often see Londoners whose bodies have succumbed to the aches and pains of long hours sat at a desk or at a computer, completing repetitive tasks or even just sitting in meetings.

Here are 5 tips to help you look after your spine;

1. Set your seat up correctly

  • Your seat should be at the correct height so your thighs are parallel to the floor.
  • If your feet don’t reach the floor try using a stool to take the strain off your back.
  • Try and have your main work, books or items straight in front of you to limit twisting of the spine.

2. Have your computer adjusted correctly

  • Along with having your seat at the correct height your monitor should be adjusted so that it sits straight in front of you.
  • The top of the monitor screen should be at eye level so you always look slightly down at the monitor.

3. Take regular breaks. If you can get up walk about, this will allow you to relax the muscles that support your spine, as you sit for a prolonged period the small intricate muscles that support your back and also your neck become fatigued, tired and do not support the spine as it should this leaves the small (facet) joints in the spine become irritated and gives neck pain, back pain headaches and even what some people would call sciatica. Taking a break will allow the muscles time to relax and recover.

4. Try not to cross your legs while at your desk or sitting. Crossing the legs causes rotation of the pelvis and can cause irritation of the lower back and pelvic joints along with stretching of the muscles that support the lower back.

5. Watch your posture at work. When you are at work try and stay as upright as possible, having a cushion or support behind your back will help support the natural lordosis (curve) of the low back. Also keeping yourself from allowing your chin to poke forward and neck to protrude will limit the stress and strain on the musculature and joints in the neck.

If your suffering from work related pains in North London or the Camden area please come in and see me at Camden Chiropractic in Soho gym to see if Chiropractic might help you back to optimum health.


A ‘headache’ is defined as pain in any part of the head, including the scalp, face and inside of the head. Headache is one of the most common reasons patients seek medical attention (Merck Manual).

Many people are aware of the common types of headaches with the two most common types;

1. Migraine

2. Tension-type

Headaches are due to the activation of pain-sensitive structures in or around the brain, skull, face, sinuses or teeth.

There are also a number of serious underlying causes of headaches this is why if your headaches have come on recently, changed in character or are very severe it is always advisable to seek a professional opinion.

Common symptoms and presentation of migraine headaches are single sided and pulsating or throbbing pain that in general lasts for 4-72 hours occasionally with aura (seeing lights or stars in the vision or limited vision), nausea (the feeling of sickness or physical sickness), photophobia, sonophobia (uncomfortable when exposed to lights or sounds), worse with activity and preference to lie in the dark and relief with sleep. Often those that suffer with migraines will want to go to a dark quiet room and simply sleep it off for the duration of the migraine.

There is also a common type of headache that Chiropractors, physiotherapists and osteopaths see and treat on a regular basis named a cervicogenic headache. Broken down; cervico-means from the cervical spine or the neck, genic-generated/originated. So headache generated or originating from the neck, this type of headache can commonly occur in office or desk workers who spend prolonged periods at the computer where the neck muscles become tired and fatigued and therefore the joints in the neck become tight, locked and inflamed. Suffers often describe the headache as a deep ache in the forehead behind the eyes or radiating over the ear. This is not however limited to people who work at a desk or computer for a long time and are seen in a huge number and diverse range of people.

The good news is both cervicogenic headaches and migraines can be helped with Chiropractic treatment. Chiropractic adjustments of the neck have been shown to relieve cervicogenic headaches by releasing the stiffness in the neck, relaxing the musculature and inhibiting pain. Chiropractic adjustments have also been proven to reduce the frequency, and severity of migraine headaches and is especially effective when used in a prophylactic manner.

If you live or work in London, or commute through north London please contact Camden Chiropractic and make those headaches a thing of the past, otherwise have a look at the website or give me a call and we can have a chat.

Alex Symington

Doctor of Chiropractic