Dr Lauren Bowman, one of our osteopaths, is passionate about raising awareness and supporting all women’s health complaints. March is Endometriosis Awareness month, so we would love to shed some light as to how an osteopath can help you in your diagnostic, treatment and management journey if you do suffer from endometriosis, or other pelvic pain complaints. You can book an appointment with Lauren here
I recently had a patient recount to me a conversation she had with her local doctor. She suffers from bad period pain, at times it can be debilitating. She was told by her doctor that her pain was normal and to take some heavy pain killers for management.
Unfortunately this has become all too common; women have been educated to believe that this pain is ‘normal’, and that short term pharmaceutical management is what is required.
Whilst some discomfort during your cycle is typical, (particularly during ovulation where cervix movement occurs; and then again during your menstruation where the uterus can swell), pain is not, and will never be ‘normal’.
So why is there pain?
Some causes of pelvic pain may be due, but not limited to, hormone dysregulation (super common given our lifestyles, food, medications), hormone-like prostaglandins can be increased which lead to inflammation and cramping, structural changes in your body, and the big one that we are talking about today, endometriosis.
What is Endometriosis?
Endo is a condition where the cells which line the inside of the womb, begin growing outside of the womb in other areas of the body. Symptoms vary between each woman, but some common symptoms include pelvic pain particularly during a woman’s period, irregular periods, GIT symptoms, fatigue and ‘PMS’ type symptoms, as well as a higher risk of infertility.
It’s also really common, 1 in 10 women suffer from this condition. Even so, it takes an average of 8-10 years to diagnosis as many women are under the impression that pelvic pain is a normal part of their life.
What can I do if I have Endometriosis?
To diagnosis endo, a laparoscopy is required. However not all women will have this surgery. The decision to have a laparoscopy should be discussed with your doctors and health team.
Endo has no cure as yet as we do not know what causes the disease. The aim of treatment is then to improve the women’s quality of life by reducing her symptoms, and maximising her fertility.
Treatment will vary from person to person, and unfortunately what works for one person will not work for all. There are 3 kinds of treatment options commonly used for the management of endo. Medications (such as the Pill); surgical treatments to remove the endometrial cells outside of the uterus; and complementary treatments such as osteopathy, exercise, and diet.
How can osteopathy help?
An osteopath’s role will first be to take a detailed past and present medical history, and a thorough physical examination. Treatment is safe and gentle, and addresses the whole body, not just the pelvic floor although that may be where the main pain presents, after all everything is connected!
Endometrial cells outside of the womb, as well as scar tissue from past surgeries, can create adhesions and tension in the body. This strain usually begins at the pelvis, but can travel up or down the body. For example, tension into the neck or shoulders presenting as tension headaches, or down the body into the feet, presenting as arch pain. An osteopath will assess and treat these strain patterns and adhesions, which will help to restore normal structure so that blood flow is optimal, and function can return back to normal.
Osteopaths don’t just treat the musculoskeletal system; we also treat the viscera (organs) directly. This is really important in endometriosis as we want all organs (particular the pelvic organs) to be functioning as well as possible.
Get in touch!
It’s important that you feel supported and empowered during your health journey. If you’d like to chat further as to how we can help, please give us a call at the clinic.
You’re not alone.
Endometriosis Australia has been doing an incredible job in making this condition better known amongst our health practitioners and the wider public. Have a look at their website and find your local support group to get around like-minded women.
An Osteopathic Approach to Colds and Flu, by Dr Lauren Bowman, Registered Osteopath.
You can book an appointment with Lauren here
How can osteopathy support you during the cold and flu season?
Anzac Day has been and gone, which means many Canberra locals have decided it’s about the right time to switch the heaters on!
With the weather changing, many are already succumbing to the dreaded cold that the season often brings. Noses are beginning to run, sinuses are blocked and aching, joints are sore, and the throat is burning.
You may have made a trip to your local doctor, who might have prescribed you cold and flu tablets, antibiotics, water and plenty of rest. While all of these treatments may play a role in reducing the symptoms of the cold or flu, Osteopathy takes a different approach. Instead of treating the manifestations or symptoms, osteopaths will look at the functioning of the whole body. This is the critical element in not only helping to prevent illness, but also in short and long-term recovery.
Let’s look at how a cold works. Colds are usually caused by viruses which travel into our system, replicate and then cause the associated symptoms; which can lead to recurrent illness.
During a cold, our sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight response) is in overdrive. This leads to prolonged inflammation, muscles tightening and aching, congestion in our lymphatic system, and a decrease in immunity.
There are several considerations your osteopath will make, all of which will aim to decrease the cold symptoms, decrease the duration of the cold, support the body’s attempt to heal, help to prevent recurrence, and increase patient comfort short and long term.
Some of these considerations and treatment options include:
Addressing joint restrictions in the spine to normalize the function of the nervous system. This will help to reduce muscle tension, pain and joint achiness.
Treatment of the cervical spine and rib cage soft tissues to improve blood circulation and lymphatic drainage, therefore improving immune function, and decreasing congestion and inflammation.
Treating the rib cage and diaphragm to improve respiration, and to help relieve congestion.
Treatment of the facial bones and tissues for improvements on sinus drainage and pain.
If you are suffering from a cold, we ask that you first rest at home until you are no longer contagious. Once your acute symptoms have settled, consider making an appointment with your local osteopath as an alternative treatment option to pharmaceutical interventions. Osteopaths will help to assist the body’s own capacity to continue to fight the bug, leading to a speedier recovery and decreased risk of reoccurrence.