Hello and Welcome to A State of health Blog!
I’m Zoe and I’m an osteopath, runner and chronic pain survivor.
Why did you start this Blog?
I wanted to start this blog as a way to share information about different conditioners I see on a regular basis and provide information and advice to people that maybe suffering from it. When I was 18 I was diagnosed with a relatively rare pain condition called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome which turned my life upside down. I went from being our typical sporty teenager that loved running but did every sport at school I could to being on crutches, having 4 spinal blocks involving a drip into my spine. At my worst with CRPS I struggled to stay conscious and constantly felt like I was about to pass out. The biggest difference to overcoming it was education and the power to really understand what is going on with your body. That is what I am going to try and do with this blog.
What is an Osteopath?
When I say I am an osteopath I normally get three responses, one involves the person having been or heard of someone who went to an osteopath for their pain and normally think they are great. Two and three normally involve either the person admitting they have no idea or they pretend and say osteo thats “like bones right?”
So let me explain: An Osteopath is a manual therapist and a primary health practitioner. As a manual therapist I use my hands similar to a physio or chiropractor to examine and treat musculoskeletal conditions (anything involving your muscle, joints and bones). A central principal of osteopathy and one I strongly believe in is the aim to treat the underlying course rather than the symptoms by looking at the predisposing and maintaining factors that cause that pain to develop in the first place.
I currently work in Cardiff at several clinics includin A State of Health. As for training I graduated from the British School of Osteopathy in London with a four year Masters Degree and am registered with the General Osteopathic Council as well as being qualified in sports massage and acupuncture.
Whats is Complex regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)?
There are two types of CRPS one involving nerve damage and one without. Its a condition that affects the nervous system and the way my brain processes pain. I simply twisted my ankle and while the initial injury did recover my brain had other ideas. My brain still acted like my ankle was still injured and went into protective overdrive. My ankle become so sensitive that even cotton wool touching my leg would give me excruciating pain, I slept in a cast at night as the bed sheets caused me so much pain.
The biggest difference and what put me back on the road to recovery was learning the pain mechanisms behind what was happening to my leg. You can read this is my post about Explain Pain. While I was on lots of medications had 4 surgeries in the first 5 months I kept going in circle. I really feel the key to my recovery was a combination of education and manual therapy. Once I was able to process why it was happening and what was causing it I was able to figure out ways to limit what was setting off the pain.
I am now back to running the sport I always loved and now CRPS doesn’t stop me. I was given a 3 percent chance of ever having a normal life and I am convinced that education kick started me in the right direction. I never thought I would be able to run again or at one point to even walk to the bus stop.
If I can achieve what I never thought was possible by overcoming CRPS when I was 3 percent chance of a normal life then why can’t you achieve the impossible too. I hope to use my medical knowledge and experience from treating patient as well as the latest research to help other achieve what they never thought I could do too.