As a dancer of 23 years, trained ballet and freestyle dance, I came to require osteopathic treatment following the development of pain in my neck, which was exasperated whilst spinning during dance classes. I initially ignored it, but with increasing frequency in nerve pain ripping along the right side of my neck I decided to seek treatment. Having consulted with my GP, I was given supplementary exercises, with the promise of a physiotherapy referral in a month’s time if no improvement. For me, this was of no use. With my cumulative experience in dance and as a qualified nurse, I was well aware of types of muscle relaxation and strengthening exercises, and had been using them for a while prior to seeking medical help to no avail.
Osteopathy was recommended to me by a colleague and so I booked an appointment to see Mr Ashburner. The experience was inconceivable- I had no aspirations of such an improvement, nor was I aware of how great an impact he could have upon enhancing my dance performance. During the initial consultation, I completed a medical questionnaire, and gave a history to my complaint, before a full assessment was undertaken. Some initial manipulation was conducted and I was given additional exercises to re-strengthen my now correctly aligned posture. In fact, although I had gone to him with neck problems, he also identified problems with my hip and ankle, which I hadn’t actually mentioned, being more focused upon my neck. As a result he manipulated my ankle, which I had sprained many years ago and had since had a tendency to be weak and less supportive en pointe; and realigned my hip which I have since found had dramatically enhanced my balance and ability to perform triple pirouettes on my left leg with ease.
During the time I was made to feel very relaxed and comfortable, assured that Mr Ashburner was highly competent in his work due to his manner of describing why I was experiencing problems and how he was fixing them. Throughout the session, his communication was effective, explaining and identifying issues such as uneven spin ability that I hadn’t assumed could be improved by just a few manipulations!
Initially I had three sessions to sort things out, then continued with decreasing frequency as my body has learnt to ‘stay put’ in its correct alignment, but intend to continue to see Mr Ashburner every few months for maintenance sessions to correct any problems that may naturally arise as a result of high levels of dance exercise.
Accordingly, I strongly recommend osteopathic treatment for dancers, and in particular Mr Ashburner. As a dancer himself, he is well aware of what injuries and faults are common to the dancer’s body, and I feel this vested interest and deeper knowledge greatly enhances his treatments and ability to recognise what is feasible for the dancer (my GP had recommended 6 months without dance, but after my first osteopathy session I was dancing comfortably the following week).
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