Our Spinal Clinic

Exeter Osteopaths aim to treat the cause of your back pain and neck pain rather than just giving you short term relief.

Our approach is thorough and this means we have an excellent success rate in getting you moving with ease again. Firstly, we check your movements, in particular those which cause you pain. Secondly we check each segment of your spine for problems. With our skilled hands we can always feel where there are restrictions and these may not be in the pain zone but are still important to address to give you better results. Thirdly, we perform any other tests which we think necessary on your neurological system or circulatory system etc. If we are concerned we may liase with your GP for further tests.

"Not only does Toby provide an excellent professional service, but he does so with genuine care and concern for your individual needs. I would therefore recommend Toby without hesitation, especially to anyone with a sporting injury (even one that does not initially appear to be spine related!)."
I.Q. Exeter

Why do I have back pain?

Back and neck pain is the body signalling to us that something is wrong. It is telling us that there is some damage to the tissues around the area of the spine. Pain and restriction on certain movements is the body’s way of preventing further damage.

There are many layers of tissue in your spine and the recovery time and rehabilitation will depend on the depth of tissue which you have damaged. These will include muscle, ligament, tendon, disc and bone. For example a muscular strain will recover much quicker than a fracture. A ligament strain will be somewhere in the middle.
We experience back and neck pain due to many factors. Sometimes we have done an activity which has overstrained our body. More commonly, there is a gradual build-up of strain. We all have niggles of pain which may be due to the postural position we work in or from an old injury. We might also carry tension from trauma such as surgery or other internal causes such as IBS or asthma. As we age these accumulate and add pressure to our joints eventually affecting the nerve and blood supply necessary for healthy functioning. Our body has hit break down point and we are very vulnerable to overstraining a vertebral, shoulder or knee joint depending on what physical activity we are doing.
Treatment will aim to reduce the workload on the body and this may require work to be done on parts other than the painful ones.

"Having been unable to tie my shoelaces for over two years, after just two treatments with Daniel, I was able to bend forward with ease. Highly recommended."
Debbie, Ottery

Leg pain, numbness, pins and needles? Sciatica Explained

The Sciatic nerve runs from your lower back, through the buttock area, down the back of your leg and to your foot. It is a very large nerve and is commonly affected by low back injuries. Often the pain in your leg is worse than your back. Other sensations are common such as pins and needles or numbness and weakness of the leg. The reason it becomes a problem is because it takes a nerve branch from many different levels of your spine as you can see in the picture. Most of these levels are the ones commonly overstrained or injured.

There are two ways the sciatic nerve is affected.

Firstly there may be direct pressure from a physical structure trapping the nerve. This is common in the case of a 'slipped' or damaged disc. In reality the disc does not slip but rather a bulge appears on the outer surface. There are other causes of physical pressure such as degenerative changes in the small facet joints, spinal stenosis; a narrowing of the central spinal canal, spondylolisthesis; a slip forward of one vertebrae on the one below and piriformis syndrome; a muscle spasm in the buttock area.

The second way is due to inflammation causing a kind of chemical irritation around the nerve. This may be due to damage to a nearby ligament or muscle.

If you are experiencing leg pain with numbness in the saddle area and difficulty retaining urine or faeces you must go directly to Accident and Emergency.

How do we treat the spine?

Traditional Osteopathy uses a combination of techniques to release the spinal joints. These include soft tissue massage, stretching, gapping, traction and manipulation.

All these techniques are safe and done by a highly trained, experienced practitioners. All the above techniques are aimed at improving the function of the spine, increasing soft tissue quality and most importantly increasing range of movement and decreasing pain.
Cranial Osteopathy is a very gentle approach to treating spinal pain (see link above). It is suitable for those in acute, severe pain or for patients who are uncomfortable with the more direct, stronger techniques.

Cervical Spine (neck)

  • Headaches and Migraine
  • Jaw aches or clicks
  • Cricked neck, neck pain with trapped nerve
  • Shoulder pain and tension, frozen shoulder and rotator cuff injury

Thoracic Spine (upper back)

  • Rib pain - very painful on deep breath or twisting
  • Breathing issues, shallow breathing, hyperventilation
  • Heartburn and other digestive problems
  • Middle back pain, pain between the shoulder blades, postural strain (computer hump)

Lumbar Spine (lower back)

  • Lower back pain, slipped disc
  • Stiffness of lower back
  • Leg pain, sciatica
  • Hip pain, bursitis and congenital hip problems
  • Knee pain, twisted or swollen knee
  • Sacral pain, coccyx pain from falls onto the backside
  • Plantar fascitis, ankle sprain

Contact Us


Get in touch, email us or just pick up the phone, either way we are here to help:

By phone - 01392 428 141

Emergencies - 07890 529 550

Monday-Saturday: 9am-6pm

1 Fairpark Road

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