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416 Ilam Road, Fendalton, Christchurch 8052

Clinic Hours: Monday-Friday 7am-8pm

Author Archive

Breathing Retraining – An Osteopathic Approach

Monday, March 16th, 2020

Many people may not realise something as simple as breathing can have a huge impact on their daily health. Dysfunctional breathing often goes undetected, sometimes leading to a lifetime of poor breathing habits.

Are you breathing correctly? Training yourself to breathe properly can have lifelong implications for impro

ving your overall health as well as aiding in the management of conditions such as; stress and anxiety, neck pain, headaches, jaw pain, asthma, digestion issues and sleep apnoea.

Read on to find out more about the signs and symptoms of dysfunctional breathing and how Osteopathic treatment can help with breathing retraining.

10 Signs And Symptoms Of Dysfunctional Breathing

Is your health being affected by dysfunctional breathing patterns? Here are some common signs and symptoms relating to dysfunctional breathing.

  1. Neck Pain
  2. Headaches
  3. Numbness around the face
  4. Hyperventilation
  5. Panic attacks
  6. Anxiety
  7. Frequent sighing
  8. Inability to take a deep breath in
  9. Over-tiredness and lack of energy
  10. Dizziness
  11. Unexplained digestion issues

Causes Of Dysfunctional Breathing

What causes a person to develop abnormal breathing patterns? There are many factors that can contribute to developing poor breathing habits, these can be from as early as when you were a newborn, a toddler, a young child or even as an adult following an usual period of illness or stress-related anxiety. Some of the more common causes of dysfunctional breathing are:

  • Stress, emotional trauma, shock
  • Upper back, lower back, neck and rib dysfunction
  • Dysfunctional and tight diaphragm
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Asthma
  • Sleep apnoea
  • Breathing difficulties as an infant
  • Allergies and sinus related issues

Osteopathy And Breathing Retraining

As part of their holistic approach to helping the body heal, Osteopaths are able to assist in identifying breathing issues and will work with you to correct your breathing technique. An Osteopath will assess your current breathing technique, take a complete medical history and use this information to evaluate symptoms and identify the underlying causes of breathing issues.

Osteopathic treatment of the underlying dysfunction in ribs mechanics, thoracic and cervical spine, along with treatment of the diaphragm normally forms an integral part of osteopathic treatment of poor breathing patterns. This is then followed by training the patient diaphragmatic breathing techniques, where the patient learns to better engage their diaphragm whilst breathing. 


How To Tell If You Are Breathing Correctly

The aim of this exercise is to bring awareness to your breathing habits; during this exercise, your chest should remain relatively still, with the abdomen noticeably rising and falling.
  • Sit comfortably on a chair with one hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen just below your belly button.
  • Start to breathe in slowly using only your nose; aim for the feeling of the inhaled air pushing deep into your pelvis and raising your stomach before feeling movement (if any) in your chest.
  • When you breathe out, simply relax your abdomen; the natural contraction will push air back out of your lungs

6 Benefits Of Good Breathing Techniques From An Osteopathic Perspective

  1. Better response to the neck, back, and shoulder pain.
  2. Helps ease headaches.
  3. Relaxes the nervous system and helps ease stress and anxiety
  4. Helps promote better sleeping
  5. Management of chronic respiratory diseases such as asthma
  6. Better management of stressful situations through diaphragmatic breathing
  7. Improvement of overall posture

If you think you may be breathing abnormally or maybe having difficulties taking a deep breath – please do not hesitate to contact the Osteopaths at  Better Health Osteopathy Christchurch today. Call 027 755 5700 or Book Online.

Osteopathy For Sports Injuries & Performance

Sunday, February 23rd, 2020

Osteopathic treatment for sports injuries is experiencing a surge in popularity among various sporting professions in New Zealand. From elite athletes to weekend warriors, fitness enthusiasts, and even teenagers with sports injuries, there is a growing awareness of the benefits of using an Osteopath. At Better Health Osteopathy, we cater to a wide range of sporting enthusiasts, including rugby players, soccer players, martial artists, weightlifters, skiers, bikers, and runners.

Sports Injuries From An Osteopathic Perspective

The primary objectives of osteopathy in sports are as follows:

1. Treating sports injuries: Osteopathic treatment focuses on accurate diagnosis, effective pain management, and the development of personalised rehabilitation plans. We also provide advice on preventing further injuries and offer strategies to enhance sports performance. By addressing muscle and tissue imbalances, as well as joint mobility and alignment throughout the entire body, osteopaths consider the body as a whole and recognise that sports injuries often result from underlying imbalances and spinal restrictions.

2. Injury prevention and reoccurrence: Osteopathy aims to prevent injuries from occurring or reoccurring. By adopting a global view of the body and understanding its interconnectedness, osteopaths thoroughly investigate the root cause of problems and treat the underlying sources of injuries. This comprehensive approach reduces the risk of future injuries and facilitates a speedy recovery.

3. Improving sports performance: Osteopaths are increasingly sought after by high-level sporting professionals and teams to address injuries and improve performance. Osteopathy serves as both a remedial and preventative measure, ensuring that the body remains in optimal condition. By considering the body as a unit, osteopaths work towards minimising the risk of injury while enhancing overall athletic performance.

Osteopathy in sports has been successfully utilised in various high-profile events and with renowned athletes. For example, the England Soccer team brings its dedicated osteopath to events like the Football World Cup. Osteopaths have been spotted pitchside at Tennis Opens, such as Wimbledon, where they have treated injuries during games, including Roger Federer’s shoulder injury. Dedicated teams of osteopaths are often present at the Olympic Games, providing treatment to top athletes across different sports. Osteopaths have even extended their expertise to caring for NASA Astronauts in space.

Sports Injuries Suitable For Osteopathic Treatment

Numerous sports injuries are suitable for osteopathic treatment; these include but are not limited to:

How Will Osteopathy Help With My Sports Injury?

Osteopathic treatment will assist with your sports injury by alleviating pain and immediate symptoms, aiding in your recovery and rehabilitation, preventing further injuries, and working towards improving your long-term performance.

When you visit our Osteopaths at Better Health Osteopathy, you can expect a thorough case history and examination. We will explain your diagnosis and outline all available treatment options.

A customised treatment and rehabilitation program will be developed, which may include natural pain relief methods, ongoing osteopathic treatment, referrals for further diagnostic imaging if necessary (such as MRI, X-ray, or ultrasound), addressing other dysfunctions in your body that could impede healing, providing a rehabilitation plan, offering treatment and advice to prevent future sports injuries, and ultimately improving your overall sporting performance. Our goal is to help you return to your sport as quickly as possible while achieving your sporting goals.

If you are currently struggling with a sports injury, our highly qualified Osteopaths at Better Health Osteopathy in Christchurch are here to help you!

You can contact us at 027 755 5700 or book an appointment online. We are committed to assisting you in returning to peak performance.

How Can Osteopathy Help With Running Injuries?

Sunday, February 23rd, 2020

Whether you’re a marathon runner, using running for sports training, or simply jogging for fitness, there’s always room for improvement in performance, injury prevention, and rehabilitation. In this article, we’ll explore how Osteopathy can enhance your running technique, the benefits it offers to runners, and what an Osteopath can do to treat your injuries and support and optimise your running journey.

How osteopathy can with running injuries

How Can An Osteopath Help with Running Injuries?

An Osteopath takes a holistic approach, considering the whole body to help you achieve your running and rehabilitation goals. They have in-depth knowledge of anatomy, including bones, tissues, joints, and muscles, and their interplay for optimum running functionality.

Recurring injuries or niggling pains in runners can be due to dysfunction in the back, hip, knee, and ankle muscles and joints. Imbalances can lead to pain and injury as the body compensates during running.

Every runner knows how frustrating it can be to have to take a time-out from training due to injury and pain. An Osteopath will help take a look at the bigger picture, seeking the real cause of the injury rather than just treating the symptoms.

They treat not only the painful area but also other parts of the body that can be contributing to the injury. Taking this approach helps runners avoid frustrating time-outs from training and fosters a deeper understanding of their bodies.

Common Osteopathic Techniques For Runners

Osteopaths employ a wide range of techniques to treat running injuries effectively. During your consultation, an Osteopath may utilise the following approaches:

  • Biomechanical And Functional Movement Analysis. Effectively this means carrying out an assessment of your gait – both walking and running. This assessment of the way you move will include analysing the back, hips, knees and feet and how they are affected while you run.
  • Soft-Tissue Massage. This process focuses on increasing blood flow and releasing and relaxing muscles through deep-pressure massaging and trigger point therapy.
  • Rehabilitation Exercises. Your Osteopath will recommend specific stretches and/or exercises designed for both injury recovery and day-to-day training methods.
  • Joint Mobilisation. Using gentle manipulation and articulation to increase joint mobility and range.

If you have any questions regarding these approaches, don’t hesitate to ask one of our osteopaths.

7 Benefits Of Using An Osteopath

How can osteopathic treatment help you with your running? Here are our top 7 benefits of using an Osteopath.

  1. Gaining an edge over your competitors
  2. Prevention of future injuries
  3. Improvements in muscle strength and mobility
  4. Faster rehabilitation
  5. Treatment of underlying problems, not just injury
  6. A holistic approach to healing – helping your body to heal itself
  7. Natural healing therapy – not medication based.

4 Common Running Injuries

Running injuries are indeed highly prevalent among runners, both recreational and competitive. The repetitive nature of running, combined with factors such as overtraining, inadequate recovery, improper form, and worn-out or improper footwear, contribute to the high incidence of injuries in runners.

The impact forces generated during running can place significant stress on the musculoskeletal system, leading to various injuries and conditions.

  1. Patello Femoral Pain Syndrome. Sometimes known as ‘runner’s knee’, pain is centralised near the kneecap, commonly associated with long-distance running.
  2. Plantar Fasciitis. Inflammation of the plantar fascia ligament located between the toes and heel is commonly associated with prolonged training on hard surfaces.
  3. Patella Tendinopathy. Sometimes referred to as “jumper’s knee”, this injury involves damage to the patella tendon, which is located just below the kneecap. It is commonly associated with prolonged running.
  4. Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome. Also known as ‘shin splints’, this injury stems from excessive strain on the tibia. Runners with this condition generally feel pain anywhere along their inner shin area.

However, there are many other potential injuries that runners may encounter, such as IT band syndrome, Achilles tendinopathy, stress fractures, and muscle strains which typically respond very well to osteopathic treatment.

Can osteopathy help with running injuries?

How To Prevent Running Injuries?

To mitigate the risk of running injuries, runners should incorporate proper training techniques, gradually increase training intensity and volume, and allow adequate rest and recovery periods. Runners should also wear appropriate footwear.  Any underlying muscle imbalances or weaknesses should also be addressed through osteopathic treatment followed by strength and flexibility exercises.

In addition to preventive measures, seeking early diagnosis and appropriate treatment from your osteopath can significantly aid in managing running injuries and facilitating a successful return to running activities.

It is essential, therefore, for runners to prioritise their overall health and well-being by listening to their bodies, respecting their limits, and seeking professional guidance when needed to ensure a safe and enjoyable running experience.

If you are struggling with pain when running or a running injury – please do not hesitate to contact our team of osteopaths at Better Health Osteopathy in Christchurch today. Call 027 7555700 or book online.

Improve Your Golf With Osteopathy

Sunday, February 23rd, 2020

Suffering from a golfing injury? Or want to improve your performance? Osteopathy can help! Osteopathy is a natural approach to healing and preventative health that focuses on treating your injuries while taking into account the body as a whole.

How does this relate to golf you ask? Golf requires good muscle strength and function, plus a good range of motion and flexibility of the spine and peripheral joints. It makes sense to take care of all of these areas when seeking to avoid injury and during rehabilitation but also when looking to get ahead with your technique.

How Can An Osteopath Help With Your Golf?

An Osteopath’s method for improving your golfing begins with a whole-body or holistic approach. This means taking into account golfing specifics such as stance, grip and swing along with other contributing factors including nutrition, lifestyle and general fitness.

Through a comprehensive consultation procedure and hands-on treatment process an Osteopath is able to provide assistance for injury prevention and rehabilitation as well as working towards improving overall performance out on the golf course.

5 Benefits Of Osteopathy For Golfers

How can Osteopathic treatment help you with your golfing? Here are our top 5 benefits of using and Osteopath.

  • Better overall technique
  • More efficient swing
  • Stronger, more flexible spine
  • Increased range of motion
  • Decreased likelihood of injury

6 Common Golf Injury Prone Areas

Golf places the greatest amount of stress on the spine and peripheral joints such as the knees, shoulders and elbows. Some common areas of concern are the:

  1. Neck. Full range of motion in the neck is desirable as keeping eye contact on the ball is an essential aspect of the game.
  2. Lower Back. Flexibility and strength is key here with a focus on maintaining the correct overall posture throughout your swing as this is the most significant factor affecting the ligaments, tendons and muscles of your lower back.
  3. Knees. Your knees are required to withstand a large amount of torque and compression when swinging a golf club. As a golfer it is important to understand the pressure your knees are under and how to look after them in order to avoid injuries such as tears to the cartilage and aggravation of existing degenerative conditions.
  4. Shoulders. Shoulder injuries and complaints in golf tend to be related to the back swing, the most common injuries are damage to the rotator cuff and torn cartilage.
  5. Wrists. The wrists are required to absorb a significant amount of force as the club strikes the golf ball. It is the repetitiveness of this action that can lead to issues particularly where there are pre-existing conditions such as arthritis or tendonitis present.
  6. Elbows. Similar to the wrists, it’s the repetitive nature of bending and straightening of the elbow that can lead to problems. A common elbow related golfing injury is Lateral Epicondylitis (sometimes known as “golfer’s elbow”).

Improving Your Golf Swing

A golfer’s swing requires a complex combination of muscle and joint coordination, balance and timing. Even small variations in these various components can result in significant changes in overall performance.

Think of it this way, if one part of the body is not functioning at 100 percent it can mean other parts are exposed to extra strain or need to compensate for this weak link – which can lead to pain and unnecessary injury.

An Osteopath works to restore balance to the entire body (including a focus on strength, flexibility, posture and fitness), seeking to unearth the real issue behind the body’s disharmony thereby improving performance and decreasing the risk of injury.

6 Common Osteopathic Techniques Used For Golfers

The therapeutic techniques used by Osteopath’s will vary from patient to patient and will focus not only on the specific area causing you pain, but also in other related areas around the body. The general methods used in Osteopathic treatment revolve around common techniques, some of those you might encounter during your consultation for golfing injuries and pain are;

  1. Soft Tissue Manipulation And Massage
  2. Joint Articulation
  3. Progressive Stretching
  4. Joint Manipulation
  5. Trigger Point Release
  6. Positional Release

If you are struggling with a reoccurring golfing injury or have just want to improve your golf swing – let Lorraine Herity at Better Health Osteopathy show you just what Osteopathy can do for you and your golf game today. Call 027 7555700 or book online.

How Osteopathy Can Help Cyclists

Sunday, February 23rd, 2020

A passion for cycling, hobby cyclist on the weekends, or serious mountain biker taking on the rugged New Zealand back country? However you choose to enjoy your time on the bike, there are times when injury and pain can mean it’s not as enjoyable as you would like it to be.

While there are many avenues for riders seeking help and advice with their cycling and mountain biking, in this post we will cover the basics about how Osteopathy can help cycling injuries and improve overall performance and technique and some top Osteopathic tips for cyclists.

Improve Performance And Rehabilitation With Osteopathy

Osteopathy is based on a whole-body approach to healing and helping you achieve your sports and fitness goals. As an injured cyclist, or bike enthusiast plagued by re-occurring injury, an osteopath will take into account the function and health of the entire body, not just the injured area.

Often this whole-body approach will include things like lifestyle factors, training schedules, and nutrition as well as the mobility and function of the muscles and joints. Taking in the bigger picture results in working towards discovering the root of the problem, rather than just treating the obvious symptoms, which promotes optimum performance, whilst preventing further injury.

While knees, ankles, thighs and calves are common areas of complaint, as a cyclist a significant amount of strain is placed on the lower back, particularly over long distances and rough terrain, an Osteopath is able to treat all of these areas and seek to understand where the pain is originating and why it has become an issue – hopefully preventing further injury in the future but also facilitating faster recovery.

7 Common Cycling Related Complaints

Osteopathic treatments are able to assist with a variety of bike riding injuries and complaints, seven of the most commonly seen are;

  1. Lower back pain
  2. Muscle strains
  3. Joint restrictions
  4. Knee pain
  5. Neck pain
  6. Hip pain
  7. Wrist and hand pain

Common Osteopathic Techniques For Cyclists

The general methods used in Osteopathic treatment revolve around several common techniques, some of the techniques an Osteopath might use during your consultation for cycling injuries and pain are;

  • Soft-Tissue Massage. Focusing on increasing blood flow and releasing and relaxing muscles through deep pressure massaging and trigger point therapy.
  • Rehabilitation Exercises. Recommending specific stretches, mobility and strengthening exercises designed to assist both in injury recovery and day to day training methods.
  • Joint Mobilisation. Using gentle manipulation and articulation to gauge, assess and improve joint mobility and range.
  • Postural Analysis. Your posture plays a huge part in the strain placed on the junctions and discs of the spine, the hips, knees and even feet, a postural analysis aids in highlighting areas of improvement.

4 Top Tips For Cyclists

Any sportsperson knows the frustration of injury and being unable to take part, here are 4 top tips recommended by Osteopaths to aid in recovery and performance.

  1. Check Your Bike Ergonomics And Set-Up. An optimum bike set-up will differ for each individual.  It is highly recommended to consult with a reputable cyclist shop and get a personal consultation on your bike set-up.
  2. Drink Lot Of Water. Sipping plenty of water throughout the day is the single best thing anyone can do for general wellbeing, preparation for and recovering from a big day out on the bike.
  3. Listen To Your Body. No matter how insignificant they main seem, ignoring niggles, odd sensations or pain could lead to injury or could suggest underlying health problems that need addressing.
  4. Avoid Sitting For Long Periods. Sitting for longer than 20 minutes at a time can cause some muscles that support your spine to become weakened and to not engage properly – these include your core muscles, buttock muscles and some deep spinal muscles such as the multifidus muscle. Taking regular breaks from your desk and moving regularly can help prevent this from occurring.

If you are struggling with a cycling injury or have just been training a bit too hard lately and are experiencing unusual aches and pains – let Lorraine Herity at Better Health Osteopathy show you just what Osteopathy can do for you today. Call 027 7555700 or book online.

6 Tips To Help Treat Plantar Fasciitis

Tuesday, July 9th, 2019

Plantar fasciitis is the medical term used to describe inflammation of the plantar fascia, which is the connective tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot between the heel and toes.

This inflammation can be very painful, lasting months and even up to two years, depending on the treatment received. Most people suffer pain in the soles of their feet after getting out of bed first thing in the morning whilst walking and doing everyday activities.Osteopathy and Plantar Fascitis

What Are The Symptoms Of Plantar Fasciitis?

Symptoms will depend on the severity of the condition, but most people complain of pain under the heel. There is also likely to be a feeling of tightness or a dull ache along the sole of your foot, particularly first thing in the morning after getting out of bed and placing your full weight on the foot.

The foot pain is also likely to worsen after long periods of sitting, standing or after exercising. This is due to an excessive strain placed on the tissue of the foot after prolonged use.

What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?

While there is no one-size-fits-all reason for plantar fasciitis, some people can be more prone to its symptoms; it can be more likely to occur in people who:

  • Walk in an unusual way, such as rolling the feet inwards or outwards, or with a limp
  • Are overweight or obese, or have recently gained a lot of weight, such as during pregnancy
  • Wear poorly designed or fitted footwear (for example, high heels or jandals)
  • People who are on their feet for long periods of time, such as retail employees, beauticians, and hairdressers.
  • Have flat feet known as pes planus.
  • Stand, run or jump on hard surfaces for long periods of time, particularly if this is unusual behaviour.
  • Have injured their feet in some way, such as a stress fracture to one of the metatarsal bones.

6 Tips To Help Treat Plantar Fasciitis At Home

Below are 6 classic tips to help ease the pain and resolve the symptoms of plantar fasciitis at home.

  1. Ice It. While any icepack will do, freezing a plastic bottle full of water is a great at-home remedy. Place the frozen bottle on the floor and roll the foot backwards and forwards over it to ease the inflammation. This is especially good in the evening.
  2. Stretch And Strengthen. Stretching out your calf muscles, foot muscles, and buttock muscles can be useful in correction and prevention, along with stretching the Achilles Tendon and other leg muscles daily.
  3. Massage It. Using a tennis ball, or roll the ball under the sole of your foot, releasing the tension in the foot’s plantar fascia.
  4. Warm It Up. Before commencing strenuous exercise, stretching the foot can assist in releasing the plantar fascia.
  5. Choose Sensible Footwear. Wearing comfortable, supportive footwear is a must when suffering from plantar fasciitis; this means no bare feet and no high heels!
  6. Modify. Ask yourself a few questions to isolate why this condition has arisen now and see if you can modify your behaviour. For example; Why does only the right foot hurt? What have I done differently lately? Am I standing/walking for excessive periods? Am I wearing flip flops in the summertime?


Treating The Underlying Cause Of Plantar Fasciitis

While all of the above at-home remedies are useful in temporarily managing your plantar fasciitis, correcting the root cause of the plantar fasciitis is the most important part of your recovery.

There are several options available to you when seeking professional treatment for plantar fasciitis; these can be used individually or in conjunction with each other.

  • Osteopathic Treatment. Osteopaths are trained in addressing the underlying cause of the inflammation. They will consider the big picture and look at physical factors, including restricted ankle movement, tight calf muscles and a mal-aligned spine, and lifestyle factors such as weight gain, repetitive overuse, or inappropriate footwear.
  • Podiatry. As health professionals who specialise in treating the feet, podiatrists can be a great addition to your treatment plan. A Podiatrist can prescribe orthotics or arch supports that may be required if you cannot modify the behaviour that is aggravating the plantar fasciitis.
  • General Medical. Your GP or doctor is a good port of call if the pain has reached levels where it may be impacting your regular daily activities. Doctors can prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, which can help reduce inflammation and pain levels, temporarily aiding in healing.
  • Other / Surgery. Steroidal injections can be used at times. Shockwave therapy may be a useful adjunct to osteopathic treatment.  Surgery is rarely required.

Need help with heel or foot pain?

See your local Osteopaths at Better Health Osteopathy and get back to your everyday life sooner!

Contact Lorraine Herity at Better Health Osteopathy in Christchurch today. Call 027 755 5700 or book online.

Pelvic Floor Dysfunction and Strengthening In Pregnancy

Wednesday, May 8th, 2019

Pelvic floor muscles are at risk of becoming weakened both during pregnancy and when a traumatic or prolonged delivery takes place. It is estimated injuries to the levator ani muscle (LAM) which is fundamental in pelvic organ support occur in 13-36% of pregnant women who have a vaginal delivery.

In some cases, this can lead to issues with urinary incontinence (leakage of urine) anal incontinence (leakage of faeces), overactive bladder, painful intercourse, or organ prolapse where the bladder, uterine, or rectum can slip into the vagina. These conditions can occur post-delivery, or some years later.

Too often these conditions are left untreated, as women are too embarrassed to discuss this issue of pelvic floor dysfunction, which can have devastating impacts on their quality of life. Often women think that it is a natural part of pregnancy, when in fact in many instances treatment is available.

3 Things That Help Prevent Pelvic Floor Injury

While it is difficult to generalise as each person’s circumstances differ, there are some things that can be done to help prevent pelvic floor injuries.

1. Pelvic Floor Exercises

Research supports the importance of pelvic floor exercises during pregnancy and early post-partum, with a decreased risk of pelvic floor injury and therefore a decreased risk of future urinary and faecal incontinence.

It is theorised that when the muscles of the pelvic floor are routinely exercised, they are more able to stretch and contract at the time of birth, which may lead to a lower rate of prolonged second-stage labour, and less impact on the pelvic floor. (See exercises below).

2. Modifying Obstetric Practices

Focus should also be on modifying obstetric practices which predispose women to pelvic floor injury. These factors include the promotion of spontaneous vaginal births without forced or early pushing, avoidance of instrumental assistance, or use of episiotomy. If assistance is needed, vacuum extraction over forceps delivery is recommended.

3. Adjusting Delivery Position

In contrast to the traditional position of lying on the back with legs in stirrups, upright and side-lying birthing positions have been found to be beneficial.

Shorter second-stage delivery times, the reduction in the need for instrumental intervention, fewer episiotomies and reduced muscle tearing are just some of the benefits of altering delivery positions.

Treatment Of Pelvic Floor Dysfunction

Pelvic floor dysfunction can most definitely be treated. Treatments normally include a combination of physical therapy, lifestyle changes, treatment of underlying medical issues, relaxation techniques, and hormone treatment. For more serious dysfunction such as prolapses, the use of pessaries (non-surgical) and reconstructive surgery is common.

The best treatment however is prevention – it is important that women of all ages learn how to strengthen their pelvic floor muscles. This preparation will assist women during childbirth and also post menopause where oestrogen levels drop which can lead to further weakening of the pelvic floor muscles, leaving women at a greater risk of urinary incontinence and prolapse.

How Can Osteopathy Help Me Strengthen My Pelvic Floor?

During pregnancy Osteopathic treatment will address any strains and dysfunction in your spine and pelvis, to ensure that the pelvic bones and muscles are aligned and balanced, providing optimum conditions for positioning, descent, and passage of the baby through the birth canal during delivery.

Post-delivery Osteopathic treatment will focus on any strains and trauma that may have occurred during labour and work to re-align your pelvis and spine. A well-aligned pelvis can provide the optimum environment for the pelvic floor muscles to heal. Throughout labour and post-pregnancy we teach strengthening exercises of the pelvic floor and gentle core exercises to strengthen the body during these demanding times.

Pelvic Floor Strengthening Exercises

Lots of women find it extremely difficult to contract their pelvic floor. The exercises in the video below will certainly assist you to better feel the contraction and relaxation of your pelvic floor muscles. You can do these daily, sitting at your desk, standing and washing the dishes, in the car at traffic lights, lying down, or during exercise. Enjoy and please ignore the minor profanities! 🙂

If you are struggling with pelvic floor issues or exercises – Our Osteopaths are here to help you!

Please do not hesitate to contact Lorraine Herity at Better Health Osteopathy in Christchurch today. Call 027 755 5700 or book online.

Benefits Of Exercise In The Ageing Population

Thursday, January 31st, 2019

Until recently, it was simply accepted that we become frail and lose muscle mass as we age. However, recent studies which looked at athletes in their 70’s and 80’s found that they had similar muscle mass as athletes in their 40’s. It is now widely accepted significant muscle mass loss is more likely to be caused by inactivity and lack of exercise as we grow older.

The Elderly And Balance

As we age, our balance can be challenged due to a decrease in our senses including vision, touch and proprioception. This can increase the risk of falls which can have a detrimental effect on health by causing injury, fractures or brain injuries.

Approximately 1/3 of people over 65 will fall each year in New Zealand. Exercise, therefore, should be viewed as a necessity in older age, to improve balance, co-ordination, and bone density and to maintain muscle mass and function. And it is never too late to begin exercising!

Take a look at the video below which shows seniors in Australia lifting weights to improve bone and muscle mass.


Top 5 Benefits Of Exercising For The Elderly

Advice from health experts state that regular exercise for the elderly offers many great benefits, take a look below for the top 5 benefits of exercising for the elderly.

1. Reduced Risk Of A Number Of Health Conditions

Studies have shown common conditions associated with aging such as arthritis, heart disease, and diabetes all benefit from regular activity. As well as aiding in the management of high cholesterol reducing the risks of heart disease and stroke. Immune system function is also improved with exercise.

2. Decreased Likelihood Of Falls

Inactivity increases the likelihood of weakness and poor balance in the elderly. Improving muscle strength, co-ordination and flexibility can also improve balance reducing the risk of falls. According to the World Health Organisation “regular exercise can reduce the risk of having a hip fracture by 40%”.

3. Better Sleep, Wellbeing And Quality Of Life

Regular cardiovascular exercise (anything that raises the heart rate), which could include things like brisk walking, cycling or even housework (vacuuming, cleaning etc) increases blood flow around the body and to the heart resulting in a boost in overall wellbeing, better sleep and ultimately better overall health.

4. Increased Levels Of Social Interaction

Loneliness and isolation can go hand in hand with reduce mobility and aging. Combining regular exercise with socialising – by joining a local walking group for example – results in increased fitness, confidence, and mood, while avoiding feelings of loneliness and depression.

5. Increased Lifespan

Musculoskeletal disorders are the leading cause of disability in New Zealand. With lower levels of physical activity, obesity and an aging population, their impact will only increase. Even gentle, regular exercise such as walking or swimming can decrease their effect and increase life expectancy.

Ministry Of Health Recommendations

According to New Zealand’s Ministry of Health guidelines, physical activity for the elderly (people aged 65 years and over) should be in line with the following recommendations. With the expectation that these recommendations are adjusted according to the individual’s needs and abilities, along with the assumption that any exercise regime is introduced and increased slowly, after consultation with an appropriate healthcare practitioner.

  • Moderate aerobic activity five days per week for at least 30 minutes
  • Flexibility and balance activities at least three times a week
  • Muscle strengthening activities twice per week

Exercise Programmes For The Elderly

Exercise programmes for older people should consist of strengthening, mobility, balance training and aerobic activity. Some elderly people are afraid that they will injure themselves exercising, so they should always seek advice from their Osteopath, or GP if they have any concerns. Exercise programmes should always be tailored to the abilities and goals, while being of appropriate intensity and duration so as to achieve maximum benefit.

Some examples of suitable activities for older people (according to the Ministry of Health guidelines) are:

  • Aerobic. Cycling, housework, brisk walking, golf, swimming or aqua jogging.
  • Strengthening. Hill walking, carrying shopping, knee lifts, modified Tai Chi, climbing stairs, weight training.
  • Mobility/Flexibility. Gardening, bowls, Pilates, stretching, yoga, modified Tai Chi.
  • Balance. Social dancing, yoga, Pilates, golf, standing on one leg.

Preparation For Exercising

Often people avoid exercise due to pain or the thought of injury. Many people often accept that pain is part of aging when really this should not be the case. In order to prepare for an exercise programme, a visit to your local osteopath would be highly recommended so that all aches and pains can be eased, and any injuries can be addressed prior to exercising.


  1. Chronic exercise preserves lean muscle mass in masters athletes. 2011. Wroblewski AP1, Amati F, Smiley MA, Goodpaster B, Wright V. Phys Sportsmed. Sep; 39(3):172-8. doi: 10.3810/psm.2011.09.1933.
  2. Keeping older muscle “young” through dietary protein and physical activity. 2014. Moore, D.R. Adv Nutr. 2014 Sep; 5(5):599S-607S.
  3. Skeletal muscle protein balance and metabolism in the elderly. 2011. Fry, C.S. and Rasmussen, B.B. Curr Aging Sci. Dec; 4(3):260-8.

Osteopath vs Chiropractor

Saturday, October 20th, 2018

What is the difference between a chiropractor and an osteopath? This is a very commonly asked question when people are considering seeking some health and wellness advice for a variety of musculoskeletal conditions such as back pain, neck pain and headaches.

Osteopaths and chiropractors are two distinct healthcare professions that are often associated with musculoskeletal injuries. Although both professions are concerned with the maintenance of good health and treatment of pain and discomfort, they differ in philosophy, training, treatment approach, and conditions treated. In this article, we will explore the differences between an osteopath and a chiropractor in New Zealand, to help patients make informed decisions when seeking healthcare services.


One of the key differences between osteopathy and chiropractic in New Zealand is their philosophical approach to treatment. Osteopathy takes a more holistic approach, viewing the body as an interconnected system. Osteopaths believe that the body has a natural ability to heal itself, and their role is to facilitate this process by removing barriers to healing. They focus on treating the underlying causes of musculoskeletal problems, rather than just focussing on the symptoms.

Chiropractic, on the other hand, has a more mechanistic approach to treatment. Chiropractors believe that health problems can be attributed to misalignments in the spine, and that by correcting these misalignments, the body can heal itself. Chiropractors tend to focus on the specific area of pain, rather than the whole body, and often use X-rays to diagnose spinal misalignments.


Both osteopaths and chiropractors undergo rigorous training before they can practice in New Zealand.

Osteopathy is a four year degree program that covers a wide range of subjects, including anatomy, physiology, pathology, and clinical diagnosis. Osteopathic training emphasises hands-on manual techniques, including soft tissue massage, joint mobilisation, and spinal manipulation, to improve the functioning of the musculoskeletal system.

Chiropractic training in New Zealand is a four-year degree program that focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal problems, with an emphasis on spinal manipulation. Chiropractors also receive training in anatomy, physiology, and pathology, but their training is more specialised in spinal manipulation techniques.

Treatment Approach

The treatment approach of osteopaths and chiropractors can differ in terms of the techniques they use and the conditions they treat.

Osteopaths use a wide range of manual techniques to diagnose and treat musculoskeletal problems. These techniques include soft tissue massage, joint mobilisation, and manipulation, as well as stretching and exercise therapy. Osteopaths are also renonowned for their palpation skills, which is the process of using the hands to feel and assess the body’s tissues and structures, thereby identifying the tissues in the body that need to be treated, for healing to take place.

Chiropractors primarily use spinal manipulation to correct misalignments or subluxations in the spine. The technique involves applying a controlled force to the affected area to restore normal joint mobility and function. Chiropractors may also use other modalities, such as exercise therapy as part of their treatment.

Conditions Treated

Both osteopaths and chiropractors can treat a range of musculoskeletal conditions. However, there are differences in the conditions they are most commonly associated with.

Osteopaths are trained to diagnose and treat a wide range of musculoskeletal problems such as back pain, neck pain, headaches, as well as problems in other systems of the body, such as the respiratory and digestive systems. Osteopaths may take a holistic approach to treatment and may address underlying issues such as stress, poor breathing mechanics, poor posture, muscle imbalances, and lifestyle factors that contribute to musculoskeletal problems.

Chiropractors are most commonly associated with the treatment of back and neck pain, as well as headaches.  Chiropractors focus on the correction of subluxations in the spine and may also address other musculoskeletal problems, such as joint pain and stiffness.


In conclusion, osteopaths and chiropractors are two distinct healthcare professions that differ in philosophy, training, treatment approach, and conditions treated. The key for all patients is to find a qualified health professional with a good reputation who understands your complaint and provides you with a personalised treatment plan.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact our Osteopaths at Better Health Osteopathy. We would be happy to chat further with you. Or simply book your appointment onlineCall 027 755 5700. 

Why Does My Knee Hurt?

Sunday, June 10th, 2018

Osteopaths love to treat knee pain! Why? Because a lot of the time, the pain is not just coming from your knee joint! Therefore, a thorough examination of your entire spine and joints is required to figure out where the pain is coming from and, most importantly, the root cause of your pain.

Knee Pain

What Causes Knee Pain?

  • Biomechanical Issues: this is probably the most common cause of knee pain. Knee pain can arise from how you use and load the knee joint when walking, running or simply going up and down the stairs. Issues with ankles, a twisted pelvis, reduced range of movement in your upper back, dropped arches in your foot – all can have an immense impact on how your knee functions as part of your entire skeleton system.
  • Trauma: where someone goes over on their knee playing netball or skiing, for example. Direct tears to ligaments, muscles or damage to cartilage could occur.
  • Infection: Such as cellulitis.
  • Rheumatological conditions: such as rheumatoid arthritis, can damage knee joints.
  • Osteoarthritis: a common condition affecting knee joints in the elderly or patients who have had several knee joint injuries in the past.
  • Metabolic: Gout can affect the knee joints and not just your big toe.

Examination Required 

An osteopath will consider all of the above causes of knee pain during the initial consultation. An osteopath will examine the knee and the entire spine and peripheral joints to figure out the root cause of your knee pain, which often is not coming directly from the knee itself; it can be due to dysfunction from above or below the knee. This approach is essential for patients where their knee pain has not healed or responded to other treatments.

Do I Require Imaging? 

In cases where acute trauma (tear to a ligament, cartilage or muscles) is suspected,  we can refer a patient for a scan of the knee (MRI, Ultrasound, X-Ray). If surgery is required, our Osteopaths will refer you to an Orthopaedic specialist. You do not need to see your GP for this referral. We have an excellent network of Surgeons and Musculoskeletal specialists that we refer to.

How Can an Osteopath Help?

As with any injury, early diagnosis and treatment are important, and treatment options will vary for each individual. Osteopathy involves taking on a whole-body approach to healing, including examining the knee and the entire neck, back and pelvis, ankle and foot, which can significantly influence how the knee functions.

Osteopaths use a hands-on osteopathic treatment approach, combined with rehabilitation exercises and patient education about what caused the pain in the first instance and what you can do to prevent the pain from re-occurring.

Hands-on treatment focuses on gentle manipulation techniques focussing on the joints and soft tissues surrounding the knee, ankle and spine if required. Mobilisation techniques are used to restore the range of movement into the knee gently.

It’s also important to remember that knee pain can affect people of all ages; children, teenagers, the elderly – it’s is not caused by old age!

When we treat patients with knee pain, our main aim is to return patients to health and the activities they normally enjoy doing as quickly as possible!

How Long Will It Take For My Injury To Heal?

The process of healing begins almost immediately after a knee injury and proceeds in a relatively organised fashion. It follows 3 Phases of Healing that often overlap and can take anywhere from a few weeks to months to heal, depending on the severity of the injury. For more information about the healing process – Click Here.

So don’t suffer knee pain needlessly- we’re here to help!

If you are struggling with an injured knee – Our Osteopaths are here to help you! Please do not hesitate to contact Lorraine Herity at Better Health Osteopathy in Christchurch today. Call 027 755 5700 or book online.

The Importance of Addressing Pain Promptly

Saturday, April 7th, 2018

Everyone experiences acute pain at some stage in their life. You can easily hurt your back gardening or sprain your ankle running. Most acute pain settles down very quickly, either by itself or with treatment, and should generally be fully healed within 12 weeks, as the body has an innate capacity to heal. However, some people continue to feel pain long after an injury and begin to suffer from chronic pain.

I regularly treat patients who are needlessly struggling with pain and injuries which significantly affects their quality of life. I just listened to a BBC radio interview with a GP and Osteopath in the UK, who were discussing pain management and the increasing use of painkillers to treat pain. Prescriptions for painkillers such as tramadol and codeine have gone up by 80% in the UK and quadrupled in New Zealand over the last 10 years! These are massive statistics, notwithstanding that the latest research shows that in 80% of cases; these drugs do very little for patients suffering from chronic pain. Hence, one has to ask the question why are so many people suffering from chronic pain??

“The body has an innate capacity to heal”

What Is Chronic Pain?

Chronic pain is very different to acute pain. Pain becomes chronic when the source or cause of the pain has healed, but the brain keeps firing out pain signals, and the patient continues to suffer pain. Technically, chronic pain is diagnosed once 12 weeks have passed since your injury, and you continue to suffer from pain.

Could I End Up Suffering From Chronic Pain?

Every patient suffers pain and injury in a very unique way.  Listening to the interview today on pain management, the Osteopath summed it up nicely….”all too often the patient ends up in chronic pain due to a misunderstanding of their injury and lack of knowledge on how to treat it in the first place”.

I personally also believe that your healthcare provider needs to identify and address any potential barriers to healing, during your initial consultation to prevent chronic pain from developing.

Barriers to healing can include:

  • Injures not treated in a timely manner
  • Emotional stress
  • Catastrophizing thoughts about pain – (negative thoughts about the injury and the level of pain)
  • Continued physical stressors on the body
  • Poor nutrition
  • Not treating the underlying cause of the injury
  • Poor communication on the part of the practitioner!
  • Other underlying illnesses and poor health
  • Not enough physical activity

What Can I Do To Prevent Chronic Pain?

If your injury is not healing it is very important to seek prompt medical advice from a healthcare professional, who will diagnose and advise you on the best course of action.  Do this in a timely manner, don’t let pain and injuries linger on, in order to prevent the onset of chronic pain.

Remember that pain is an alarm signal that something is not right’.

Make sure to agree on a very clear treatment plan with your healthcare provider.

If needed, take pain medication sparingly, and in accordance with your GP’s instructions.

Always remain positive, the majority of injuries heal very well, and you should always aim to get back to your everyday activities as soon as possible after injury.

‘Life is way too short to let pain interfere with your quality of life!’

And remember….your Osteopath is always here to help! 🙂


Looking for help with your pain or injury? Please do not hesitate to contact Lorraine Herity at Better Health Osteopathy in Christchurch today. Call 027 755 5700 or book online.

Can Osteopathy Help Headaches?

Thursday, March 22nd, 2018

At Better Health Osteopathy, our osteopaths specialise in treating headaches in adults and children. Headaches are a common ailment that can impact approximately 50% of the population within a given year. Our highly skilled osteopaths have the expertise to accurately assess the type of headache and determine the most appropriate treatment plan. Many of our patients have suffered from chronic headaches that have persisted for several years, while others experience episodic headaches lasting from a few days to a few months.

Unravelling the underlying causes and effectively managing these headaches can often prove challenging within the medical system. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the diagnosis and treatment of headaches are often inadequate. Therefore, these painful and sometimes disabling headaches can profoundly impact patients’ personal and professional lives.

Osteopathic treatment of headaches

How Can An Osteopath Help With Headaches?

Our Osteopaths have successfully treated many patients suffering from chronic and acute headaches. The osteopathic approach to treating headaches varies significantly from that of other healthcare providers. Our professional osteopathic experience has shown that structural issues within the neck, jaw, back and pelvis can often be the root cause of unexplained headaches.

Therefore, a detailed examination of not only the neck but the entire back, pelvis and peripheral joints is essential to identify the structures that irritate the nerves in the neck that lead to headaches. Irritation of the nerves in the face, head, and neck can then generate neurological referred pain along various regions of the head, including the back, sides, and front. Concurrent irritation of associated tissues, ligaments, and muscles further contributes to the onset of headaches.

Our skilled osteopaths can effectively alleviate pain and discomfort associated with headaches through techniques like soft tissue massage and gentle manipulation and articulation of the spine and joints.

We will provide a comprehensive diagnosis by conducting a thorough medical history and an osteopathic examination of the entire spine and peripheral joints. By identifying the specific type of headache, we can direct our attention toward treating the root cause, thereby mitigating the likelihood of recurrence in the future.

Our osteopaths are committed to delivering exceptionally high levels of care to alleviate headaches and improve our patient’s well-being. By addressing underlying structural issues and their associated effects, we strive to empower individuals to manage their headaches more effectively and regain control over their lives.

Symptoms of Headaches

Headaches can manifest in various ways, with pain occurring in different areas of the head. It can be localised to the front, back, and sides or present as a widespread sensation throughout the head. The nature of the pain can also vary, with some people describing it as a dull ache while others experience a sharp or throbbing sensation. Sometimes our patients can feel a stabbing pain within or behind their eyes.

In addition to the pain, headaches can be accompanied by various other symptoms. Nausea and sometimes vomiting are common symptoms that may accompany a headache, particularly in more severe cases. Jaw or neck pain is another symptom associated with certain headaches, such as tension or cervicogenic headaches.

Dizziness or a feeling of light-headedness can occur alongside a headache, further adding to the discomfort. Visual disturbances, ranging from blurred vision or sensitivity to light, may also be present, to seeing flashing lights or experiencing temporary vision loss.

Headaches can also contribute to discomfort in other areas of the body. Some individuals may experience tension or tightness in the neck and shoulder muscles, which can radiate from the head. Additionally, general aches and pains may be present throughout the body, possibly due to muscle tension or the overall impact of the headache on the individual’s well-being.

It’s important to note that not all these symptoms will necessarily accompany every headache. The specific combination and intensity of symptoms can vary depending on the type and underlying cause of the headache.

What Kind Of Headache Do I Have?

Not all headaches are the same; their different symptoms define different types of headaches. Some of the more common types are listed below.

  • Tension-Type Headaches. These tend to affect both sides of the head and are commonly described as a feeling of pressure or tightness. Sometimes they are caused by tension and strain to muscles and joints in the neck. These types of headaches are often also associated with daily stress and fatigue.
  • Cervicogenic Headaches. Typically described as pain near the back of the head or top of the neck, and sometimes with pain around the eye area. This type of headache will generally vary in frequency and intensity.
  • Migraine Headaches. Commonly associated with only one side of the head. Migraines are usually significantly more intense. Symptoms can include vomiting, nausea, problems with vision and increased sensitivity to light or sounds.
  • Cluster Headaches. These are usually associated with severe pain on one side of the head occurring in cyclic patterns or clusters. Symptoms such as a runny nose, eyelid drooping, sweaty face or watery eyes may also be present.

Headaches can also result from dehydration, eye strain, withdrawal symptoms, caffeine, medication overuse, infections, hormonal fluctuations, hypertension, concussion and sinus issues, and numerous other causes.

osteopathic treatment of headaches

What Techniques Will An Osteopath Use To Help My Headache?

Osteopaths utilise several different types of techniques to help address the symptoms of headaches. These techniques can include soft tissue massage and gentle manipulation and articulation of the spine and joints.

These techniques aim to:

  • Improve the mobility of the cervical spine
  • Increase circulation in the tissues in the neck and spine
  • Correct any alignment issues within the neck, back and pelvis
  • Decrease muscular tension
  • Reduce nerve irritation

To prevent future recurrence, we will also provide rehabilitation programmes and advice to address common triggers such as poor posture, stress, workplace ergonomics, nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle.

6 Top Tips When Suffering From Headaches

  1. See your Osteopath, who will help diagnose and treat your headache.
  2. Use warm or cold compresses to your head or neck.
  3. Manage stress levels; stress can exacerbate pain levels and further tighten the joints and muscles in your neck.
  4. Check your pillow; a well-fitted pillow is important to support your neck and ensure a good night’s sleep.
  5. Exercise can help to regulate pain and keep you fit and strong.
  6. Over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen can help ease inflammation. Talk to your GP about medication if required.

Osteopathic treatment of headaches

Osteopathy is, therefore, a highly effective treatment modality for headaches and can improve the quality of life of those affected. By recognising that underlying structural problems within the neck, jaw, back and pelvis can often be the cause of unexplained headaches, osteopaths can provide targeted treatment to address these root issues.

Through a comprehensive examination and personalised care, osteopaths strive not only to alleviate current headaches but also prevent their recurrence in the future. Our patients can experience long-lasting relief and regain control over their lives with osteopathic treatment.

If you’re tired of living with persistent headaches and are seeking a long-lasting solution, you should reach out to Osteopaths for help. You can easily book an appointment online and begin your journey towards a headache-free life.

Looking for help with your headache? Please do not hesitate to contact our Osteopaths at Better Health Osteopathy in Christchurch today. Call 027 7555700 or book online.