My client’s exposure: How to deal with back problems

Healing back problems

A first-time mum, who had suffered back problems since her teens, was very aware that her problems could be exacerbated by pregnancy, combined with her daily commute to London from Brighton, writes Laura Berrill. Here’s how she used alternative therapies to heal.

Years of commuting to her job as civil servant working for the Department of Energy & Climate Change and constantly sitting at a desk had taken its toll on her back and resulted in severe upper back and neck pain. She had on-going treatment for this, but when she became pregnant, decided to seek help from an osteopath and fellow mum who specialised in treating pregnant women and young children.
Rita Wadey, 35, now mum to Wilfred, eight months, also suffered Symphysis Pubic Dysfunction – instability in the pelvic area – which developed during her pregnancy. That meant any treatment could not to create too much of a release to the area as it may have lead to more pain and instability.
But she said the insight her osteopath, Camilla Murphy, had, from her years of specialising in pregnancy-related problems and the fact that she was a mum as well, helped her through this worrying time.
“This was quite a worrying and painful time as I knew that rarely, SPD can make a vaginal delivery impossible and your practitioner may opt for a C-section instead. And in even rarer cases, apparently SPD can worsen after delivery, requiring medical intervention,” said Rita.
“But Camilla and I discussed all of this and she made the treatment changes accordingly. She was able to help me and my body cope with all the extra strains that the pregnancy – hormones, extra weight, how to stand, sit and sleep correctly – put on my body. And as the weeks progressed, Camilla adjusted the way that she worked with my body, using different positions that were more comfortable for me during the treatment itself, and also changing the intensity of what she was doing to take account of the hormone Relaxin in my body, which made my joints and muscles more elastic than before. “I also found Camilla’s advice and experience as a mother herself to be invaluable and reassuring. At all times I have felt that Camilla understood the changes that were happening to my body – both as a professional and as a mother, and that it was safe in her hands.”
Camilla also gave Rita suggestions as to how she could approach the birth in a way that would not stress the body too much, and would be useful in dealing with theSPD. She recommended doing some pregnancy yoga or Pilates, and the ‘Active Birth’ method.
Wilfred was born safely and naturally at a healthy weight of just over seven pounds.
Treatments after the birth have focused on the position of the uterus and the alignment of the pelvis and continuing treatments Rita is receiving are helping her cope with new strains – aches and pains caused by breastfeeding and handling/carrying an increasingly heavy child.
Rita added: “Wilf was also checked over once since birth and it was reassuring to have Camilla do this, particularly as the pushing phase of the birth had been quite long, with some bruising on the head for him. I was pleased to hear that this hadn’t left any lasting effects on his head/neck which might have led to further problems.”
Camilla, who works at her clinic in Hertfordshire as well as Victoria, London, said specialising in pregnant women, babies and children was important due to the many complications which can potentially appear pre and post-partum, as well as in newborns and with children as they grow.
She said: “I work with women who are trying to conceive, through to helping women with their pregnancy, helping to gain optimal foetal positioning, aiding the mother’s lower back, neck tension, mid back pain and reflux, among other associated problems.
Also, Endometriosis is fantastic to treat, as I am helping women who are in pain with adhesions in their reproductive organs and to the gut, which I can help to physically unwind and help increase the mobility and motility of an organ.
“This goes on to work with their babies when they are born. They may have been delivered naturally, with ventouse or even with forceps, as well as by C section. I have treated babies with huge skull deformities such as Osteosclerotic skulls, which can be a life threatening condition, to babies who have colic, hemiplegia, feeding difficulties and who are generally unsettled.
“Then I treat the mums for post partum problems. Then it’s lovely to see, as after I have treated a patient for conception, pregnancy, post partum and her baby, I get to continue to treat her child as he or she grows.
“Older children can be presented to me with neck, shoulder upper back pain due to poor posture, school bag issues and poor school equipment issues. Then there are others such as tinnitus, glue ear, ADHD, growing pains, tummy ache and headaches. So as you can see, there are many areas affecting pregnancy to postpartum, to growing children which can be helped with the help of professional,” said Camilla.
About Camilla Murphy:
Camilla qualified at The British School of Osteopathy in 1999 with a BSC Hons degree in Osteopathy and has worked at the Redgrave Clinic, alongside Lynn Redgrave, doing cranial, mainly babies. After having her first baby in 2002, she started working purely at Posture Dynamics in Victoria, London, mixing cranial work with structural. In the last 6/7 years she has just concentrated on the cranial. She also diagnoses biomechnically at her new Hertfordshire clinic, where she will offer a unique cranial treatment, in a relaxed, homely environment. The treatment will be offered to babies as young as one day old up to any age, giving gentle structural osteopathy to the older clients. See or 0207 828 6888 for more information.

Laura Berrill is a St. Albans based, highly-experienced, former nationals journalist and public relations expert. She has a wealth of experience of writing for a wide variety of publications on a broad range of subjects. Visit for more details.

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