Latest News from Bearsden Osteopaths


Tuesday, November 13, 2018


The sciatic nerve is the longest and thickest nerve in the body. Nerves roots exit the spine from the levels L4-S3 and join together to form the sciatic nerve. It supplies the sensation and muscles of the leg. Sciatic pain can come in many forms. It can cause excruciating pain deep in the buttock, down the back of the leg, the ankle, the foot. It can cause pins and needles, numbness and weakness in the leg and the foot. 

It's said that around 40% of people will suffer from sciatica once in their life time. Sciatica simply means pain in the sciatic nerve. There can however, be a few causes of pain which normally arise because the sciatic nerve is compressed by the structures it lies next to, or pierces through. 

Common causes:

Prolapsed disc - AKA herniated disc or disc bulge

A disc can bulge and press onto the sciatic nerve. This is very painful indeed. Symptoms can include pain that is worsened with coughing, sneezing, blowing your nose. Sitting and bending is unbearable. Herniated discs can improve but occasionally surgical intervention is needed to solve them.

***Symptoms that require urgent medical attention***: numbness in the 'saddle' area in between the legs; from the genitals to the anus, difficulty passing urine and loss of control of bowel movements, severe pain and symptoms of numbness down both legs at the same time. These symtoms are a sign of cauda equina syndrome and could require urgent surgery to prevent long term damage to these areas.

Facet (spinal) joint and sacroiliac joint inflammation

These joints are formed at the back of the spinal column and pelvis, close to where the nerve roots exit the spine. Dysfunction and inflammation of one of these joints can irritate the nerve and cause pain.

Piriformis Syndrome

A very common is piriformis syndrome. This muscle in the back of the hip/deep buttock can spasm/tighten or become strained- often due to repetitive pressure from sitting, or for example a fall which then can irritate the nerve. In some people the nerve runs through the muscle, so when it goes into spasm it clamps around the nerve! You can imagine how painful that can be!

Spinal Stenosis

When degeneration of the spine has become so severe, the joints and discs deform and start to impinge on the nerves before they exit the spine. It gets worse with walking, but the pain is greatly relieved by walking with a shopping trolley - or when cutting the grass! The stooped forward posture takes the pressure off the nerves by opening the worn joints. 

Rare cause

Like with any pain, the cause can be from other pathology including cancer. Red Flags for this include unremitting pain, which is worse at night and not aggravated or relieved by movement. Other symptoms: night sweats, loss of appetite, unexplained weight loss, change in bladder or bowel pattern and general feeling of malaise. It goes without saying that a visit to your GP is highly important if you are experiencing this.

How can an Osteopath Help?

When you visit us for an appointment we ask a load of questions, perform movement and orthopaedic tests to find out where your sciatica is coming from, and to check the level of compression of the nerve. We then treat accordingly and give you exercises to help continue the healing process. We explain what we've found and what we will do. Treatments include massage, mobilisations and if certain criteria fits we might manipulate too. It really depends on what we find on the day.

If you have sciatica and want it diagnosed and fixed, come in and see one of our osteopaths or our sports therapist today. Call or book online.   |     0141 942 0629

Back Pain

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Back Pain - by Linda Canning 

Most people will suffer with back pain at some point. At Bearsden Osteopaths we diagnose and treat back pain - there can be many causes which produce pain. Here are a few: 

Muscle Strain

There are lots of muscles in the lower back and if we overstretch and load them too much, they can strain, tear and become painful. They normally can heal pretty well given the right encouragement.

Facet Joint Inflammation

This is when the spinal joints become strained and inflammed. They can lock up too, causing limited movement. Alongside this, muscles will become tight (hypertonic) and sometimes even spasm to protect the joint.

Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction

This is the joint that is either side of the sacrum at the back of the pelvis. This is commonly affected in pregnant ladies as it can become overly mobile. Muscles around the lower back and hip tighten to protect the joint from moving further = pain and restriction

Ligament Strain

This can happen if the back has been overstrained, or if the person is particularly mobile.

Disc Degeneration 

The discs in between the vertebrae naturally become thinner over time. Our discs are at our best when we are in our 20''s all downhill after that! It's not all bad though. Disc degeneration or thinning otherwise known as spondylosis doesn't have to be painful. You can scan anyone on the street and find all sorts of anomalies: some will have pain, some won't. 

To diagnose the painful thing in your back, we perform various tests to figure out what is going on. Normally, there's more than one thing that has strained; it's multifactorial. We also test for underlying sources of your pain i.e. you could have a restricted hip, or ankle, or a weaker gluteal muscle group which has affected the mechanics of your back which eventually causes strain.

If there is no apparent reason for your back pain, and you've just woken up with it it's normally due to some kind of postural or alignment issue which we can certainly help with and it's likely some low back pain has been 'brewing' for a while. The body is excellent at adapting to issues, but then it can take a trivial little movement like bending, sneezing or simply 'turning the wrong way' to set it off!

There are more sinister causes for back pain. We take a thorough case history in the first consultation to rule out any serious pathology that could be the cause of your pain to ensure you are safe to treat. If we suspect anything else, we refer you straight back to your GP to ask for further tests to be performed. This is thankfully rare, and remember back pain is extremely common! So even if you are in immense pain, it's very likely it's due to a mechanical cause (i.e. the above list) and some osteopathic treatment along with our expert advice, it will settle down soon. 

Any of the above tissues can also impinge on the nerves coming out of your spine and cause sciatica; pain in the leg. This can also be accompanied by pins and needles, numbness and weakness. We can diagnose and treat sciatica in most cases too. 

If you'd like to learn more about your back pain, call us or book online to make an appointment   |     0141 942 0629

Manipulation - What happens when I have my back clicked?

Monday, September 24, 2018

What happens when you click my back? by Harry Hampson

One of the many techniques osteopaths perform is a “manipulation” or “adjustment”. This is commonly performed in the neck, midback, or lower back, although they can also be performed in the joints of the limbs. There may or may not be a pop during the technique, and research has shown that it is not necessary for the technique to be deemed suitable.

  • Manipulation improves the range of motion of the joints in your back. Osteopaths believe good spinal range of motion is very important to both functioning in daily activities and in the prevention of pain.

  • It relaxes the local muscles surrounding the area that is manipulated

  • It often provides an immediate reduction in pain locally

  • Feel-good factor – patients often note a feeling of giddiness, flushing of the face, or a short boost of feeling good. This is related to the endorphins that are release by your body following manipulation.

Your osteopath will always discuss the benefits and relative risks involved in manipulation, so you can make the decision whether you want it performed. Alternatively, there are other methods and techniques that we are trained to perform aimed at returning you back to health. We always make sure you are a good candidate for a safe manipulation and it definitely should not hurt.   |     0141 942 0629

Severe Ankle Sprains - by Ross Maitland

Monday, September 03, 2018

Lateral ankle sprains are not fun, having had personal experience of it myself very recently I know exactly what they are like! With rehab lasting anywhere between 6-12 weeks it’s important you deal with your sprain correctly,
🤕otherwise you run the risk of increasing the time you’re out of action. Above is a video of my progress and what kind of rehab I have done so far.

It's very important to ice the area in the early acute stage. As you can see from my ankle, it can swell up and bruise pretty badly! Controlling this is important. Icing regularly for 10-15 minutes, ensuring you have your foot raised is key. Wrap a bag of frozen peas in a towel and compress it onto the affected area. I also had an X-Ray to rule out any fractures because I had problems with weight bearing, luckily I was fine on that front!

After the initial stage has passed you want to start building up the strength of your ankle to get you back on your feet.

Movements such as resisted inversion, eversion, plantar-flexion and dorsi-flexion with a resistance band will help strengthen the muscles and structures around the ankle.💪

Proprioception exercises such as calf raises and single leg balances are good starting exercises to increase the stability in the ankle.
Manual therapy to the area can be beneficial to speed up the healing process and to ensure normal range of motion is restored.

Finally it is important to continue to ice the ankle regularly to help reduce the swelling and bruising. 

My rehab is nowhere near complete, I will be posting my progress with further exercises once my strength allows and keep you posted!

If you've any other questions regarding the rehabilitation of a sprained ankle, please call Ross to make an appointment.   |     0141 942 0629

Do I need imaging of my back? by Harry Hampson

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Do I need imaging of my back?

One of the most common questions asked by patients is whether they need an MRI or X-Ray of their back. Understandably, having low back pain can be a worrying experience and everybody wants to know the reason for it!

However low back pain is very common, with up to 84% of the population experiencing it at some point in their life. Majority of these cases (95%) are totally benign and without a specific cause. This means is that there is no serious cause such as fracture, infection, cancer, or other underlying condition.

Based on your pain history and signs & symptoms, your osteopath or GP will be able decide which category you are more likely to fit in.

Signs that mean you should see your GP/A & E

Following a fall from great height

Groin area numbness

Loss of you control of your bowels or urination

Extreme weakness of your arms and/or legs

If you fit into the 95% group where there is no serious cause for your back pain, then imaging of your spine is unlikely to show anything useful. In most cases imaging doesn’t show the reason for the pain and there is little correlation between this and the intensity or disability experienced.

Studies have shown that changes on the spine are normal and common in asymptomatic patients. This means a person in pain may have the exact findings of a person with no pain. This imaging rarely changes the management or treatment of the pain.

Osteopaths are trained at recognising the signs to indicate that a scan may be of benefit. They are also trained at performed specific tests that can identify the structures that are currently sensitised. This information can be used to recommend a treatment plan with hands on treatment, an exercise plan, and goal setting aimed at helping you return to your previous activities.

If you have any concerns or want to make an appointment please just call or book online.   |     0141 942 0629

Help! I have back pain!

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Help! I have back pain! by Harry Hampson M.Ost

You are probably reading this post as you now have what 84% of the population have at some point in their life – lower back pain. This can be quite a rubbish and frustrating time – especially when it stops you doing what you want to do in the day!

Below is a quick guide about lower back pain and some tips to help you get moving again.

1)      DON’T PANIC

95% of the cases of back pain are non-serious (meaning they are not due to fractures, cancer, or other serious causes). This means you are unlikely to have damaged anything, slipped a disc (see “I’ve slipped a disc!” post), or require any surgery. Your back is extremely strong and is capable of many movements.

2)      KEEP MOVING!

Although your body is telling you to stop and lie in bed, this is often not useful to help get over the pain in the long term. Instead, the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommend that you keep as active as possible during this time. Physical activity keeps the back muscles strong and teaches the brain that movement is safe.

3)      USE ICE! (OR HEAT)

Often there is polarising advice on whether to use ice or heat or even both! The simple advice I can offer is use what makes you feel best! Research has shown that ice is a powerful pain modulator (meaning it overrides the pain signals to the brain making the pain feel better). Heat however is soothing and often capable of relaxing the muscles that are irritated, helping you get moving again.


Most cases of low back pain tend to resolve themselves within two weeks of the original trigger. This may feel like a long time, but the body needs opportunity to fully recover and get back to before! However, if this pain continues longer than this period then we have one more recommendation…


    If your pain persists longer than the expected two weeks, then there may be some other factors at play. Pain can be influenced by sleeping habits, activity levels, stress, previous experiences, and friends & family! Osteopaths believe that the body is a whole and are trained to help identify any musculoskeletal contributions to your pain, advise on activity adaptations, and provide specific exercises & stretches. This may also include hands-on treatment aimed at helping the recovery process.

      Harry is available at the clinic on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Call or book online to make an appointment.   |     0141 942 0629

What is Sports Therapy?

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

What is Sports Therapy?

Sports Therapy is similar to other therapeutic healthcare services, however it is specifically designed to focus on the most relevant and personalised rehabilitation you need. The key aim of a sports therapist is to have you returning you to your sport at the optimum level, or even just day to day life. This being said, there is also a great emphasis on injury prevention as it is vital to minimising the risk of you re-injuring yourself - after all who wants to get caught in that vicious cycle of constantly being injured?

Do I need to be a sporting person?

As a Sports Therapist, I am university qualified and certified by The Society of Sports Therapists, which allows me to assess and treat a wide variety of injuries from both a sporting and non-sporting background.

With the main emphasis on treatment and rehabilitation, it is relevant to all injuries - with the main goal as not just a quick fix, but the long term fix that you've no doubt been searching for!

Each individual requires a goal, whether it is to be able to walk your dog, or if it is to make the glorious return to your 5-a-side league, your rehabilitation programme and treatment will be tailored to fit exactly to your needs.

Here's a short list of what can be treated:

  • Neck & Back Pain
  • Hip & Knee Pain
  • Foot & Ankle Pain
  • Sprains & Strains
  • Ligament or Muscle Damage
  • Biomechanical issues
  • Chronic or Acute Pain
  • & many more ...

What does a Sports Therapist do?

During your rehabilitation I will combine the two most effective methods of treatment - Manual Therapy and Exercise Rehabilitation Programmes.

Manual Therapy treatment will include Mobilisations, Sports Massage including Trigger point therapy, deep tissue massage & Swedish massage. Exercise Rehabilitation Programmes will be created to meet your needs, taking into account all contributing factors to get you back to where you need to be!

Sports Therapy uses this combination to ensure that your injury is dealt with at source, whilst targeting the underlying cause - minimising the chances of your injury reappearing.

If you have any further questions please contact Bearsden Osteopaths,

Ross    0141 942 0629   |     0141 942 0629

What is Osteoporosis?

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Osteoporosis - What is it?

Osteoporosis is a condition that affects bone density. The bone becomes more fragile and therefore prone to fracture (breaking). An osteoporotic bone generally doesn’t look any different from the outside, but on the inside it’s pores become more porous. The inside of a healthy bone is like a matrix. With Osteoporosis the gaps in the matrix become larger as the bone disappears.

Osteoporosis affects both genders but is more common in females, especially post-menopausal women.

It’s not a painful condition, it develops slowly over years and you might only find out about it when you fracture a bone. The most common sites of fracture are the wrists and hips due to falls. Spinal fractures can occur too. This causes the body of the vertebra to become wedge shaped. This collapse causes a visible change in the posture of the person it’s happened to. They become very stooped and as a result can develop chronic back pain.

It is a normal ageing condition but can be present due to hereditary factors, other chronic diseases or because of certain medications. Once our bones have become fully formed they start to go the other way...all downhill from our mid 30’s(!) So you can see, it’s really important to look after our bones from a very early age.

In fact, the exercise we do before the age of 30 is so important as it makes our bones as strong as possible (peak bone mass) and therefore the ageing process will be delayed. Maintaining a good level of fitness helps the density of the bones to remain, especially with resistance training and body weight training e.g. walking, Pilates, Yoga.

Hormones are needed for bone development. In women it’s oestrogen and in men it’s testosterone. That’s why it is more prevalent in post-menopausal women, as their oestrogen levels lessen. In both sexes growth hormone is needed too.

Nutrition is obviously an important factor too. But how?

The body replaces its bone by around 10% a year.  Osteoblasts make new bone and osteoclasts breakdown old bone. The process of bone formation is called ossification. Osteoblasts take calcium compounds from the blood and deposit them into the bone. Vitamin D is needed for calcium to be absorbed into the blood from the small intestine. Calcium and Vitamin D are therefore important for strong bones. We get most of our Vitamin D from sunlight exposure. About 10-15 minutes a day on our face and hands (without sun protector!) should be plenty. Then, slather in sun screen to protect your skin from burning. Eat plenty of dark leafy green veggies (yum), dairy (if you can tolerate it) and oily fish. Certain foods prevent the uptake of nutrients so best to avoid these including fizzy drinks, too much caffeine and alcohol (boo).

Our bodies adapt and change according to the stresses we put it under. In the case of good stress, like weight training, the bone remains strong to adapt and cope. It’s a bit like when you train a muscle to get stronger, except for bone it needs to be a level of pressure that loads the bones at the right place and needs time to build up if you’re not used to it. Too much and even someone without osteoporosis will fracture, e.g. a runner who hasn’t worked up to that 10km slow enough, who then breaks a metatarsal in their foot

The same changes happen if we put our body under a constant low level negative stress for example, with bad posture. If we sit slumped at a computer and sit all day our bones mould into that shape. I see this happening in our youngsters, who are addicted to their mobile phones, their play stations and studying. They never look up! We don’t extend enough. But the good news is, we are malleable and over time with the right exercises we can change for the better. It’s never too late to improve posture, strength and to lessen the effects of the inevitable ageing.

Can you still have osteopathic treatment with osteoporosis?

Yes!! I treat many patients with the condition. We take a thorough case history to make sure any treatment we do is right for you. During the interview, be sure that you tell us you have osteoporosis. We avoid certain heavier techniques to prevent any undue harm, but rest assured you are in safe hands at Bearsden Osteopaths.

In summary

Exercise helps to maintain bone density, muscle strength, coordination and balance which prevents falls which is paramount in preventing fracture.

Eat well; eat to nourish your body. It’ll thank you for it when you’re older.

It is safe to have osteopathic treatment when you have osteoporosis – just be sure we know first!   |     0141 942 0629

Updated Privacy Policy

Saturday, May 19, 2018


As of 25th May 2018 there are new rules and safeguards governing how your personal data is collected and used. To ensure that we comply with the provisions of the General Data Protection Regulations and the Data Protection Act 2018 we have updated our privacy policy.

Our policy explains how we collect, use and maintain this information.

We are Bearsden Osteopaths Ltd, Suite 2, 5 Kirk Road, Bearsden, Glasgow, East Dunbartonshire, G61 3RG, UNITED KINGDOM. We provide multiple alternative and complementary therapies services. 

We respect your privacy and never sell your data. We process personal information to enable us to provide health services to our patients, to maintain our accounts and records, promote our services and to support and manage our employees.

When do we collect your personal data?

We collect data when you contact us to enquire about or make an appointment by either calling us, messaging us on social media, emailing us directly or through the ‘contact us’ page on our website. To find out what data is collected when visiting our website click here

What sort of data do we collect?

Name, contact details including home and email address, contact numbers, occupation are requested when you arrive for your appointment. You will be asked to fill in a consent form, you can choose to leave parts blank if you wish.

During the appointment the practitioner will gather medical history information relating to the health complaint in a private treatment room.

How do we protect your data?

We use reputable systems that comply with the provisions of the General Data Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Act 2018.

Your medical case history information is recorded on paper and is filed away in a lockable drawer. Only staff members have access to these drawers and keys are kept away from public view.

Online systems are secure and safe. PC’s are password protected and have AVG software installed to protect from hacking.

How long do we keep your personal data for?

We are legally obliged to store your medical files for a minimum of 8 years after conclusion of the last treatment

Who do we share your personal data with?

We do not share any medical history to anyone without prior consent from the individual.

We use an online diary service called Practice Pal. It is highly valuable to our clinic and ensures the smooth running of our appointments and for the business’ financial tracking. It is due to PP that we are able to send you appointment reminder texts. For Practice Pals' Privacy Policy click here.

We use Mailchimp as a marketing tool to promote our services and to let you know of up and coming events. We also send snippets of information like top tips for improving health. You will have received a newsletter to ask you to ‘opt-in’ or ‘opt out’ to these newsletters.

For Mailchimp’s Privacy Policy please click here

What are your rights over your personal data?

You have the right to gain access to the personal data we hold about you, free of charge.

Due to legal reasons, we have to keep your medical records for at least 8 years after the last treatment received.

We can remove you from the mailing list at any time you request.

This is a good time to update and correct any personal data we have and add any new health information that may have intervened since your last treatment at Bearsden Osteopaths. Just speak to your practitioner if you would like to do this.

If you require any clarification or have any further questions regarding this document please do contact our data controller Miss Linda Canning, director and osteopath, at, or call 0141 942 0629   |     0141 942 0629

How to Avoid Pain When Driving

Monday, May 07, 2018

Many of us sit way too much and driving is one of the main culprits. Sitting for long periods in the same position causes muscle imbalance or a short period of time. They shorten, or lengthen, become weak and fatigued. They grow big knots too to compensate, which can ache. We become too good at it, so that when we want to move we don’t have the support from our muscles anymore. Misaligned hips and spines can occur due to the imbalances making us vulnerable to strain and wear and tear.

Let me tell you about my own personal experience

I have, for almost a year now, been commuting to work in my Corsa which takes around 40 minutes each way. Doesn’t seem to bad, does it? But oh my, let me tell you of the changes I have felt in my body that have accumulated, and I’m only 34.
  • My left leg especially my hip and the sole of my foot is getting stiff and twingey
  • My right shoulder is getting tighter (not helped by work)
  • My lower back – it’s not sore or stiff really but I have become more aware of it. I might describe it too as a bit of a twinge
  • Neck – ugh

Nothing too dreadful but being someone who is fairly fit and otherwise look after myself (red wine is still good for you, right?) and I think I have pretty good body awareness, I’m not happy with this! So therefore, I am doing lots of things consistently to improve it. Thankfully I don’t have a desk job, unlike many of you = double trouble. But I do use the laptop occasionally for admin (yawn). C’est la vie. 

Here are a few things that I do, consistently, to avoid postural strains:

1. I'm mindful of my posture. The obvious number 1. Good posture is key to anything we do. If we are able to align ourselves with the magic of proprioception (our mind’s eye picture of our body in space) then muscles can be balanced, they can ‘fire up’ when needed and importantly ‘calm down’ when not needed

2. Stretches. I stretch a lot. Every muscle group in every direction that I feel is needed

3. Mobilise. Our joints need to stay lubricated and that is not going to happen by sitting in your favourite position all day

4.Strengthen and load. Our bones are tissues filled with fluid that need a certain amount of load to keep the healthy, in the direction that is appropriate to the bone. Not too much, not too little. And often.

I am in the lucky position that I know how the body works and know loads of exercises to complete the points above. Not all exercises suit everyone to begin with and it helps if you have a practitioner (well, me) there to guide you through stretches, postures and movements so that you feel them work, feel things happen so that positive changes can occur.

Driving Position

Let’s think about your posture when driving (you can apply this to your desk too. Or even better get a standing desk. Standing car?) Tune into it, do a little body map in your minds eye:

Are you slumped?  Is your torso lopsided?  Do you constantly keep and arm in one position the whole time – that arm that gives you an ache in the shoulder for no apparent reason?  Are you able to be more balanced form side to side? Getting yourself completely straight can be difficult in a car. Cars are not designed specifically for our individual shapes. But we can all do a few things to help our frames out when we are forced to sit.

Try these for a more comfortable position

  • Ensure your bum is right at the back of your seat. Shuffle it right back there so you feel you get more of a neutral lumbar spine. This means you should feel your lower back, or the small of your back is gently arched. It should feel good. Sitting with your lower back rounded for ages is really bad for it. After doing this you might feel you need to move your car seat a little forward so that you can reach the pedals. Perhaps some hamstring stretches would be useful!?

  • Get some length into your spine – this is tricky if you’re already very tall in a small car. Allowing the back of your neck to open and lengthen by lifting the skull up (but not looking up) helps to put your neck in a friendlier position. You might also become aware of your lower belly automatically pull in when you do this – bonus ab work-out there.

  • On that thread, why not have a mini ab work out when you’re waiting at a set of traffic lights? See how far you can draw your belly button to your spine, see how long you can hold it for but still breathe!

  • Arms. Try changing the position every now and then to give a little variety in your posture. Gently press your hands into the wheel, can you feel your mid-back muscles work? Hold and release a few times – again, only when waiting at lights! I don’t want any crashes occurring! Shrug your shoulders up, down and around. Hear the crunches? Nice.

  • Take plenty of breaks. If you’re on a long run somewhere (sunny maybe? A beach or a nice mountain somewhere..sun….) get out and move as much as you can. Your body will thank you for it.

When you are finally home, sit differently. Sit on the floor, cross your legs, then cross them the other way. Fidget, stretch, breathe! Do yoga, Pilates or something regularly to counteract the chair strains.

Be mindful and gentle too.

I would love to go through any stretches or exercises with you that you are not sure about. Just book an appointment to learn more about your body. But remember, variety of movement is key!

Take Some Time to Look After Your Back

To make an appointment call Linda and the team at Bearsden Osteopaths on 0141 942 0629. You can also book an appoinment online at   |     0141 942 0629

Latest News Posts

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  0141 942 0629

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Bearsden Clinic
Suite 2, Kirk House
Kirk Road, Bearsden
G61 3RG

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