Toby Barker M.Ost (Dist)
Toby graduated with distinction from the British School of Osteopathy and was awarded the prizes for overall academic performance in his 2nd, 3rd and final years. Until it’s recent closure he practised at John Lant and Partners in Cambridge.
He has since gained experience helping people from all walks of life; including athletes, office workers, expectant mothers, the elderly and everyone in between! As a qualified gym instructor, he is also keen on helping patients with rehabilitative exercises and stretches as well as supporting them during their return to normal activities.
He balances practising in Cambridge and Suffolk with lecturing at the University College of Osteopathy (formally the British School of Osteopathy) in London and as a visiting lecturer at the University of Hertfordshire; and through his undergraduate research has developed a particular interest in the neurology and psychology of pain, particularly persistent pain.
In his spare time enjoys karate, swimming, rock climbing and keeping up to date with recent research in Osteopathy and healthcare. He recently returned from volunteering in Indonesia with the Hands with Heart foundation, treating children and adults with disabilities who can't access adequate care alongside fellow osteopaths and physiotherapists.
Osteopathy is a system of diagnosis and treatment predominantly targeted at the musculoskeletal system (muscles, joints, ligaments etc…). Osteopaths take a broad, holistic, view of patients; appreciating that many factors beyond the area of pain, such as your lifestyle, occupation and life stresses can affect your body and therefore symptoms. Treatment and management will include both hands-on techniques such as manipulation, stretching and massage, as well as rehabilitative exercise, advice and education on your complaint in order to get you on the road to recovery.
The most common conditions we see and manage as Osteopaths are Low Back Pain, which 80% of us will experience at some point on our lives, and Neck Pain; both of which Osteopathy is recommended for alongside exercise by government guidelines. Although Osteopaths are most commonly known for treating spinal pain, we can also help manage many other complaints such as joint and muscle injuries (shoulder, knee, hip, ankle, elbow for example…), sports injuries, arthritic pain and headaches related to the neck. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any specific questions regarding conditions we may help manage.
Osteopaths train for a minimum of 4 years at undergraduate level and alongside studying anatomy, physiology, technique and research methods must complete over 1000 hours of supervised clinical practice. By law, all Osteopaths in the UK must be registered with the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC), who regulate the practice of Osteopathy in the UK, ensuring that all Osteopaths are appropriately trained, insured and keep up to date with continued professional development.
What to expect...
Your initial consultation will last about an hour; follow up appointments are usually between 30-45 minutes. During your consultation your Osteopath will discuss your symptoms and medical history. All information will remain confidential. They will then examine you – you may be asked to perform some active movements as well as your Osteopath assessing the range of your joints passively by moving them for you. Your Osteopath may also need to perform tests such as taking your blood pressure or your reflexes. After examination your Osteopath will discuss with you what they think is going on and explain how they might be able to help and how quickly they expect you to recover, as well as other options available. In some instances it may be necessary to refer you to your GP or another healthcare practitioner for further investigations. If you are happy to proceed treatment will be offered during your first consultation.
You may be asked to remove some items of clothing in order for your Osteopath to assess and treat you; it is therefore advisable that you bring either comfortable underwear or shorts for your appointment. If you are uncomfortable with removing clothing you will be offered a medical gown or are welcome to remain clothed; however, it is recommended that if this is the case you wear sensible attire, for example jogging bottoms or long shorts instead of jeans if we need to assess your knee. You are welcome to be accompanied by a chaperone should you wish.
Treatment usually consists of your Osteopath moving your joints and muscles using massage and stretching techniques, they may also use manipulation techniques, where you might hear a small ‘click’ from your joints – your Osteopath will always discuss what techniques they intend to use and ensure you are comfortable during the treatment. If appropriate you may be provided with exercise or lifestyle advice. You may feel sore following treatment; however, this rarely lasts for longer than 24-48 hours.