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Lockdown #2 – We are open!

Maxwell Osteopath logo

As we enter the second lockdown, I am pleased to say that the government guidelines allow osteopathic clinics to stay open.

We continue to use strict infection control procedures which you can see here so that you can feel comfortable and confident in coming to our clinic for your treatment.

At the beginning of the last lockdown we took the decision to close. The reasons for this were that in March there was not nearly as much information as there is now. We didn’t know how the virus was transmitted, we didn’t have an understanding of infection control procedures and we didn’t have enough PPE at the clinic. It was a moral decision to close to keep patients and staff safe.

Now is a different time, the guidelines state that Osteopathic clinics are allowed to stay open and there is now so much more information and knowledge on infection control procedures, such as social distancing, increased levels of hygiene, ventilation and we now have plenty of available PPE. These procedures keep staff and patients safe in the clinic.

The last few months have highlighted the integral link between patients’ physical well-being and mental well-being. There is enough going on in the world at the moment for people to also have to be dealing with pain. Yes, guidelines allow us to be open but I think it’s our duty to be open so that we can help people with pain. This can help mental well-being as well as help people stay active in other ways.

Get in touch with us by phone or through email and in the meantime I hope you stay safe, stay well and if you, can stay active.

We are here to help if you need us,

Andrew and the team at the Maxwell Osteopathic Clinic


The Maxwell Clinic has reopened

Maxwell Clinic New Logo

Following updated advice from Public Health England and the Institute of Osteopaths we have now reopened the Clinic, but with restricted services and following strict cleanliness and social distancing guidelines.

To book an appointment please either call the Clinic (01992 443026) or email us on Our reception services will be limited at present and we will not have a receptionist on the premises, but calls will be answered, monitored and returned promptly during open hours.

Also, prior to making an appointment please read the notes below defining our current practise:

  • Cleaning and sanitising of the clinic will take place after each patient.
  • We will allow longer intervals between patients to avoid overlap and allow for cleaning.
  • Ventilation of clinic rooms will be increased.
  • Disposable PPE equipment will be worn by all Osteopaths.
  • Fabrics from the plinth (couch covers, face cushions, pillow cases) have been removed.
  • To allow for cleaning and to maintain social distancing we request that you come to your appointment on time (and not early to avoid waiting in reception).
  • Where possible please come alone (unless you require a carer or chaperone).
  • Hand sanitiser is available for you to use in the Reception area.

Our Clinic is a safe and controlled environment, but please acknowledge that nothing we do can reduce the risk to 0%.


Blog Post – Stress

Zebra losing its stripes due to stress

Stress can affect you mentally and physically. Prolonged or severe stressed, emotional, anxious or depressed states may have wide effects on our health. Dominant stress factors are strongly associated in muscle, joint and back pains. They may increase our sensitivity to pain, or be the main cause or contributing factor of pain.

Stress may be associated with complicating the healing process. The muscular response to stress is to tense up. With prolonged or chronic stress the muscles can be in a constant state of contraction. This can lead to feelings of stiffness, fatigue, cramps or spasms and pain, affecting our movement, flexibility and reflected in our postures.

There is not one single treatment. Firstly, understand and recognise that these factors may be part, or the main cause of your pain problem. Strategies to improve sleep patterns may be the most important thing to try to improve: relaxation techniques; physical therapy for pain and stiffness and tension; getting active; and healthy eating.

Osteopathy can be a good way to help you understand the cause of your physical pains and stiffness, and treat muscle tension and stiffness. Most people are relieved to know that they are physically very healthy, but that stress is the primary cause of their symptoms. Almost instantly their anxieties go and they start feeling more positive and relaxed with increased confidence and reduced pain. Hopefully then they start moving into healthier patterns of sleep, eating and activity.


Blog Post – What is a Slipped Disc?

Slipped Disc

What is a “slipped disc”? It’s a term that’s commonly used, but not by health care professionals. It conveys a shocking image associated with the sensation of severe back pains. It refers to the discs that are in between our backbones, that might slip out – perhaps like a bar of soap!!! It conveys a thought that they might slip back in and back out again easily. It’s a scary thought, but the good news is that it’s not true.

The intervertebral discs are super strong and tough. Unlike the analogy of the soap, they are firmly attached into the bones. They can get stresses and strains, they can bulge, tear, herniate (where the gel inside the disc can ooze out) and wear down, but even that doesn’t mean it will be painful! Surprised? It’s now known that people can have some of these issues, but feel just fine. Yes, disc injuries can be painful – they can cause sciatica for example (that is, irritate the nerve running down the leg to the foot).

The pain from discs isn’t completely understood – it may be mechanical, but also chemical. Our discs need to be kept healthy. Keeping physically active is best, whilst managing your weight, your workload (very sedentary or very manual work may play a role) and your stress levels (stress is associated with pain). Don’t smoke, as smoking harms the blood supply to the discs. Genetics may play a part too.

Remember your discs and your back are very strong. When we have pain we ask, what can we do? Simple advice and guidance from an osteopath can guide you. But stay calm, they don’t slip out….


Blog Post – The Cervical Headache

Cervical Headache

Back pain can project symptoms away from the site of the problem. The low back can send pains into the buttock, back of the thigh and even into the foot. The neck can send symptoms across or between the shoulders and even down the arm.

Some tensions and tightness in the muscles and joints of the neck can send symptoms into the head. Pains or aches can be felt in the back of the head, across the forehead, in the temple or around the eye. This can worry people who may tense up even more. This condition is maybe the “cervical headache”, a migraine and tension type headache which may involve the muscles or the joints. This is a condition that can respond very well to osteopathic treatment as this involves massage and movement to soothe and release tension and tightness.

A good Osteopathic consultation will give you an assessment, a diagnosis and treatment. This is in combination with advice and guidance to help you understand, resolve and manage your symptoms and try to prevent further episodes.

Very often just recognising that your headache is associated with the muscles and joints is therapeutic. It is recommended to get a professional opinion and not self diagnose.


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Identifying the correct cause of your pain or symptom is vital to its correct treatment and management.

In the last twenty years there have been changes in our understanding of some of the causes of back pains. Most people would understand symptoms that come on after some physical straining, or doing some activity that’s new – and many times it is as simple as that. But why is it that many people that I see explain that they don’t know how their symptoms started, that they just woke up with it, that some trivial bend or move set it off, or that they have pains and stiffness that are not localised, but are in many places and last a long time.

At least half the patients that I see have simple physical strains, but others may have other factors that either cause the pain, contribute to the pain, or complicate the healing process. These other factors may include:

  • Genetics.
  • Age.
  • High stress levels.
  • Lifestyle factors, like being very sedentary and out of physical condition, obesity and poor sleep patterns.
  • Low mood, depression or anxiety.
  • Other general health conditions, like diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome, or migraine.
  • Previous back pains that have been mismanaged (often patients have read or been told their back is fragile or weak).

Good osteopathy can help to identify the factors causing your symptoms. Sometimes they just need to be recognised and occasionally they may need to be modified. This may help you resolve and manage your own symptoms and prevent further episodes.


Blog post – Posture

Posture is not one single position, but is more dynamic and involves many postures, positions and movement patterns. Our posture and skeletal anatomy is largely shaped by genetic factors, but it is also gradually adapting and responding to many other factors throughout our lives. Different body types are shaped by the physiological response of the spine to years of loading and to lifestyle factors like our work, how active we are and our weight. Posture is even strongly influenced by our emotion and mood.

Studies show there is no ideal sitting posture. Sedentary lifestyles and lack of physical activity will influence the stiffness, weakness and imbalances affecting our postures. This is associated with tension, strain, injury and pain, which over time may increase degenerative change. Unused lazy muscles will weaken and wither. Overworked clenched tight muscles will shorten and tighten. This imbalance can lead to misalignments in the joints or spinal column. Joints that rarely or never go through their full range of movement will eventually stiffen. The tissues and joint capsules will contract and shrink as flexibility and movement is lost. Repeated poor postures can influence the slouched, hunched shapes we are gradually adapting and remodelling into. Along with a sedentary/inactive lifestyle there may be irreversible tissue changes confirming that use it or lose it is a biological truth. Ageing doesn’t cause stiffness, stiffness causes ageing.


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Osteopathy has a role in assessment and treatment, along with advice and guidance, regarding a wide range of muscle and joint conditions – most commonly in the symptoms of pain, stiffness and injury in the back, neck or shoulders (although it can be used on most other muscles and joints too).

There is a great amount and variety of these symptoms. The vast majority of back pains are not defined or specific, and there is no underlying illness. They can range from a nuisance ache to debilitating spasms or sciatica!

So what choices do these people have? Search the internet? Go and see their GP? Go to A+E? Do nothing?

The people who see me don’t want to just take pain killers – they want treatment, but also they want to know:

  1. What’s happened and why.
  2. What should they be doing.
  3. What will happen over time.
  4. What can they do and how can prevent this happening again. (People also want to be seen quickly and can usually book within 24 hours.)

Good osteopathic care can help answer these concerns. Most symptoms have multiple underlying factors that may have been the cause of it. Osteopathy can help identify probable causes too, which can lead to the correct treatment and management. Osteopathic treatment involves massage, movement and manipulation, combined with advice and guidance specific to the individual. Treatment and better understanding of your symptoms promotes natural healing, improves your confidence and reduces anxiety. This helps to get you going again and hopefully with a better understanding of your muscle and joints.


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Andrew Maxwell

An osteopath offers experienced professional help, treatment and advice for a wide range of muscle and joint conditions, for example pain, tension, stiffness and injury. This is most commonly related to the back, neck and shoulder area, although it is suitable for most other muscle and joint areas.

Osteopathic treatment does not involve medication or surgery, it is a type manual therapy that uses combinations of massage, movements and manipulation. This is both a method of treatment and also a way of assessing and evaluating muscle and joint conditions. The treatment promotes natural healing in combination with helping you to have a better understanding of your condition.

Professional help improves confidence and reduces anxiety. This can be part of allowing you to recover and get back to normal.

The three main areas of benefit of good osteopathic care are:

  1. To get you out of pain, get you moving normally again and return to function, for example back to work, or to the gym.
  2. To help you to understand your condition, so that you can manage and resolve it yourself.
  3. To improve your movement, flexibility and posture so that it is better than before. Not sick care, but healthcare.

Osteopaths have undertaken a four year clinical degree. This enables good treatment and diagnostic ability.

Osteopaths, physios and chiropractors have similar training, there are some differences between the professions but you will find that the variety and differences with individuals in all three can be quite varied.

Hertfordshire Osteopath Maxwell Clinic Get in Contact