About Alfie Birch –
BSc Registered Osteopath (Middlesex University), Pg Certificate Sport & Exercise Rehabilitation (Herts University) Advanced Pilates Level 3 Trainer, GP Exerciser Referral Instructor, Advanced level 3 Fitness Trainer
My journey into osteopathy began when I developed heel pain back in 1996 and was crippled by pain after standing for just 2 hours. After seeing the doctor and having numerous cortisone heel injections, followed by numerous trips to the hospital for orthotics and even acupuncture I decided out of desperation to see an osteopath after seeing an advert that said they treat amongst other things foot pain. Slightly sceptical I made an appointment, had 6 treatments and until this day never had the pain returned. At that time I can remember thinking that this is my future so asked how I can become an Osteopath and the rest is history. I started the course in 1997 (after completing A level physics, Biology and Chemistry foundation course), endured approximately 35 exams over 4 years, 1500 clinical hours and qualified in 2002 with a 2:1 Honours degree
However, the learning experience was only just starting at that point, and until the present day is life long learning. I suppose the best thing about being an osteopath is the sense of satisfaction for not only treating patients and improving their life both directly and indirectly but also recognising symptoms that are often beyond the scope of an osteopath until a definitive diagnosis can be made by another healthcare professional ( neurologist for example) and then maybe can be managed by osteopathy. For instance, I just recently consulted a patient came to see me with a 3 year history of disc pain that after neurological testing I suspected as actually related to a condition called Multiple Sclerosis and nothing to do with disc pathology.
Another patient consulted me with leg pain that was worse on walking after a while that was relieved by rest. He actually had the most severe arthritic hip I had come across for some time but was obviously missed by others. After 6 combined treatments and training sessions his pain was reduced by 50% and more manageable on a daily basis. This hip condition will inevitably need surgery but the point is as osteopaths our greatest strength is our anatomical knowledge, understanding of joint motion and ranges, differential diagnosis and the ability to diagnose accurately, treat safe and effectively without the use of drugs.
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