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Temporomandibular Joint dysfunction (a small joint disorder with a big name!) also known as TMJ is a common condition affecting the jaw joints and surrounding muscles and ligaments. It can be caused by trauma, an improper bite, arthritis or wear and tear. Common symptoms include jaw tenderness, headaches, earaches, and facial pain.

Morgan at the Art of Healing gives us his views and advice on treating TMJ in the clinic.


Morgan, what’s the most common symptom of TMJ you see in patients, what are the most common causes?

“The textbook answer to this would be arthritis or an aching feeling in the joint, however, I don’t see as much of this. The most common symptoms I see with patients that come into the clients is teeth grinding – The jaw is working overtime that is causing pain around the jaw and clicking or grinding noise when moving your jaw.

Other symptoms include difficulty in or discomfort felt while chewing, facial pain, and locking of the jaw joint (or jaw joints) that makes it difficult for you to open or close your mouth. A lot of people who consistently have headaches or neck pain – that's another common symptom where the underlying cause can often be TMJ”

How is TMJ treated?

“At the Art of Healing, we have many success stories with patients who have been relieved from TMJ with nonsurgical treatments that we offer in the clinic - Physical therapy is one treatment that we offer that includes exercises to stretch and strengthen jaw muscles.

I personally find that a lot of TMJ patients have great relief from me doing some nice work to loosen through the deep muscles of the neck and back of the head – these are often super tight and pull on the joint. I also find using medical acupuncture very effective – it sounds painful but is actually quite gentle and delivers amazing results!”

Does it seem to affect patients in a certain age bracket?

It does vary – if you go by the book, research tends to say it is most common over the age of 50 however, from my experience, I don’t agree. It can affect people of all ages and can be caused by lifestyles - people who for example do a lot of speaking like lecturers etc.

But actually I find its really common in day to day office workers! That combination of a hunched over a laptop posture, combined with stress – can really cause patients to develop TMJ symptoms – a lot of us subconsciously overclench our jaws through the day as a result without realising it!

What do you recommend for anyone reading this who is having any of the symptoms we have just spoken about?

Firstly, come into the clinic and we will investigate and rule out any other conditions that might be causing jaw pain. TMJ disorders are usually a musculoskeletal, temporary condition and can defintely be relieved with the treatments that we offer in the clinic.

We also help our patients with guidance and long term advice – including exercises to stop it from happening again. Really we want to help patients avoid interventions such as botox injections, or surgery which are really the very last resort.

One of Morgan's patients – Diana T. very kindly offered us this review for the amazing work he's done in helping her TMJ!

“I'd been suffering for years with just really bad neck pain and headaches – which I thought was normal from sitting at a desk all day. It was only when I saw a dentist and he told me I grind my teeth at night – and said it could be my jaw that I became really concerned! The dentist had given me a mouthguard but it was so uncomfortable – so that's why I went on the internet to see someone who could help.

Morgan has been wonderful. He really took the time to understand my concerns and the treatment is just great! I've not had any headaches and he's given me some great exercises to retrain my jaw – it feels so much better! Sometimes when I've had a super busy few weeks at work or get really stressed I can feel it starting to tighten again – so I come in to see Morgan and after one session I'm good to go! Thank you!”

If you feel like you may be suffering from TMJ dysfunction, jaw pain, neck pain or chronic headaches, we may be able to help! Call us today on 0203 146 6755 to chat to one of our team, or book online at www.theartofhealing.uk!

All you need to know about IDD Therapy for herniated discs, spinal stenosis and back pain treatment with Morgan Thompson @ The Art of Healing.

IDD Therapy

Are you are suffering from back and neck pain? Have you recently been diagnosed with a herniated disc, disc protrusion or spinal stenosis?

Morgan tells us all you need to know about the non-invasive treatment that IDD Therapy has to offer at The Art of Healing. It is safe, gentle, and used as part of a programme of care including rehabilitation to decompress and mobilise targeted spinal segments to treat various conditions that cause back pain.

The Art of Healing is proud to be one of only 42 clinics in the UK to offer IDD Therapy to our patients. We asked Morgan to explain our unique approach with this treatment and why he personally recommends it.

Morgan, what is the IDD Machine?

“The IDD therapy machine is an amazing non-surgical spinal decompression treatment for back pain, neck pain and related degenerative disc diseases, such as herniated discs, spinal stenosis and sciatica.. The machine is safe, gentle, and non-invasive, IDD Therapy helps patients who need something more for their pain when manual therapy alone is insufficient to achieve lasting pain relief. The IDD machine can target the issue with more force than the average hand helping a range of conditions.”

Why does IDD stand out from any other treatments available? What makes it special?

“Firstly, surgery… who wants surgery right? Unlike surgery, IDD Therapy works to correct the underlying cause of pain for issues such as degenerative disc disease, herniated discs, & sciatica. Any surgery comes with risks of course - but IDD Therapy is totally safe and non invasive. It does not cause the body to create scar tissue or experience the major trauma or recovery period of surgery - not to mention the risk of the surgery not being guaranteed to fully take away your pain.

It really is the gold standard in non surgical spinal treatment!”

Do you have any success stories for patients that you have treated with IDD therapy?

“Yes of course! It’s one of the most effective treatments with a huge success rate with patients suffering from back pain or sciatica. As you can imagine, having pain doesn’t just affect you physically, it affects you mentally. Not being able to even do the small day to day things such as go for a walk, let alone the pain interfering with work commitments, has a massive impact on any individual.

I have clients who begin to feel the benefits from the very first session after struggling with normal every day to being able to return to work and on the path of returning to a pain-free quality of life.”

Why do you personally recommend having IDD therapy?

“IDD therapy is the most effective, proven treatment available - the four goals of IDD Therapy treatment are to improve the health of the intervertebral disc. Rehabilitate supporting muscles and ligaments. Realign spinal structures. Release pressure on nerves and completely relieve the pain.

As clinicians, we can treat back and neck pain with manual therapies but for some conditions – particularly those which are disc-related – patients need something more to help their condition improve. With IDD Therapy the computer-controlled pulling forces delivered by the machine gently decompress and take pressure off the targeted segments of the spine to take pressure off specific discs and nerves whilst at the same time, gently stretching tight muscles and stiff ligaments.

We're big fans of it in clinic – some of the team have back issues themselves and so we try to sneak a session for ourselves on the machine when we can!

Are you struggling with back or neck pain that is affecting your quality of life? Have you recently been diagnosed with a herniated disc, spinal stenosis or a bulging disc protrusion? Are you looking for a safe, effective alternative to surgery or tired of long waiting times ? We may be able to help - call us today on 0203 146 6755 to chat to one of our team, or book online at www.theartofhealing.uk!

About Morgan Thompson – our general practice and clinical osteopath.

Meet Morgan, our award winning general practice osteopath who has a special interest in back and neck pain – including spinal conditions such as herniated discs and spinal stenosis, sports injuries, foot pain such as plantar fasciitis, and complex clinical and chronic conditions.

Morgan has a keen interest in sports/exercise injury rehabilitation through manual therapy and exercise prescription and has extensive involvement in professional and amateur sports, including badminton and tennis at local and county level. Morgan is accomplished in all levels of osteopathic and physical therapy techniques, including dry needling and medical acupuncture, shockwave therapy and IDD therapy.

We asked him a few questions to introduce himself!


“Morgan - what makes you so passionate about working at The Art of Healing clinic?”

Firstly, we have a very good range of technology here, the gold standard non-surgical equipment for treating all kinds of conditions we face in the clinic on a day-to-day basis – from using the IDD therapy technology to overcome disc and spinal pain and shockwave therapy to treat conditions such as bursitis.

This kind of technology and equipment really do help treat a lot of conditions much easier, and its great that we have such a forward thinking, science based approach in the clinic. As a medical practitioner, it's really great to have access to such technology – it makes such a difference in helping our patients recover quicker and achieve the outcomes for them.

Secondly it's the range of patients we meet. I love being able to treat so many patients from all walks of life and conditions – we get a really diverse range here from teenage professional athletes, to office workers, to retirees – and the whole range of conditions and injuries that come with them! Clinical diagnosis and medical understanding of injuries is a keen interest of mine, so it's great to put that into practice with my patients!

“What inspired you professionally to become an osteopath?”

Well, it all started during my A-Levels when studying healthcare, I knew that healthcare was the root I wanted to go down. I think it was every Thursday evening while doing my A-Levels, I had work experience with a family friend who was an osteopath as I mentioned – I used to go with him down to the local rugby club, I loved the detective part of it and how hands-on it was in terms of investigating and dealing with the issues the players had – so yes, it all streamed from there and here I am now – after a long 4 year degree and experience working in clinics as an osteopath, I'm now here as a general practice osteopath at The Art of Healing!

“What are you most proud of to date?”

I think it’s most probably the clinic’s success rate and seeing patients walk happily! For example, a lady come into the clinic who was suffering from back pain for around 7 years, she had others try and relieve her pain with treatments but unfortunately didn’t work. She come into our clinic and we did a technique that actually adjusts a joint in the back after 1 session she was actually completely pain-free and the pain hasn’t come back to date.

“Lastly, is there anything surprising that your patients might not already know about you?”

My age! I’m 23, I think people expect me to be older… I have a huge sporting background. I pride myself on my diagnostic capabilities. With not long-ago finishing university, patients that come in with all the weird and wonderful conditions, I tend to be able to identify and really get to the root of the issues they are suffering and that’s why I think people do choose to come back to me.

If you are suffering from pain and would like expert advice or treatment, from Morgan or any of our team of amazing osteopaths, physiotherapists or acupuncturists - call us today on 0203 146 6755 or book online at www.theartofhealing.uk

I’ve been told my back pain is due to a slipped disc, what does that mean?

What is a slipped disc?

The term ‘slipped disc’ can be misleading. The correct term is a ‘herniated disc’. One of your discs, the squishy structures in between your lower vertebra, is not slipped out of place. In reality, a side of it is slightly bulging outwards. This can be totally pain free or excruciating.

Factors that may put you more at risk of getting one are age (degeneration), genetic predispositions, heavy labouring work, trauma and smoking.
They mostly affect men between 30 and 50 years old.

What does a herniated disc feel like?

When painful, a herniated disc can come on suddenly or gradually. It’s most commonly gradual when due to age, and when it occurs suddenly it may be following heavy lifting, twisting or straining. It’s often made worse by bending forward, sitting and straining, coughing or sneezing.

Sometimes, the bulging disc can affect the surrounding nerves and give you pain down your legs, or symptoms such as pain down your legs, pins & needles or weakness.

How will my GP treat a herniated disc ?

Your doctor may prescribe you some pain killers and muscle relaxants, give you a steroid injection and send you for a scan. In some cases, surgery is considered/performed.

When to go to the hospital?

Make sure to seek urgent medical care if you are noticing abnormal sensation in your saddle area and/or have noticed you haven’t been for a wee in an abnormally long time. You should also keep an eye on any sensory symptoms (pins & needles, numbness) and weakness you’re experiencing, to track if they are getting progressively worse.

What to avoid ?

When suffering from a herniated disc, avoid heavy lifting, bending forward and sitting for too long. Make sure to stay active, and use your legs by bending your knees when moving around, picking up things etc.

How long will a herniated disc take to recover?

Disc herniations tend to get better on their own, over a period of 4 to 6 weeks. However, osteopathic treatment can help speed up the process and reduce your pain even after only one session.

What can an osteopath do for my herniated disc ?

Your osteopath will start by asking you questions about your symptoms and your medical history. Then they will perform a series of tests and use palpation to see if it indeed your disc that is causing you trouble. They might also test your nerves (muscle power, skin sensation and reflexes) to establish if those have been impaired.

If they diagnose you with a herniated disc, they will use techniques to try and give the disc more space, improve your spine mobility, ensure your surrounding joints are moving well and the surrounding muscles are relaxed and to bring circulation and therefore nutrients, to the area to encourage maximal healing. They are also likely to give you exercises, to help you get better at home as well.

If you have any questions or want to book an appointment, feel free to contact our team at info@theartofhealing.uk or 0203 146 6755

You may have heard or been diagnosed with frozen shoulder in the past without exactly knowing what it is: here is a summary of what it is, feels like and how we can help!

Frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis.

Frozen shoulder is also known as adhesive capsulitis, in reference to the changes happening within the shoulder joint. Although research struggles to understand why exactly this shoulder condition occurs, some factors such as being female, between 40 and 50 years old and having diabetes or having undergone recent upper extremity surgery are thought to increase your likelihood of developing it.

Three stages of Frozen Shoulder

Frozen shoulder tends to occur in three stages, which can each last a few months. The first one is marked by pain, the second one by restriction of movement and the last one by progressive improvement of your symptoms.

The main symptoms are diffuse shoulder pain and progressive loss of shoulder range of motion. You may start to struggle to brush your hair, do a bra strap or put your coat on. The pain can disturb sleep and be worse for turning your shoulder outwards.

Medical treatment your GP might recommend you can include painkillers, corticosteroids injections, shoulder exercises, surgery and procedures under anaesthetic.

So, if you are experiencing Frozen Shoulder symptoms, how can we help you?

Well first of all, you may be experiencing similar symptoms but not actually have frozen shoulder. During our consultations, we ask you questions and conduct an extensive assessment before giving you a diagnosis.

As mentioned previously, frozen shoulder tends to resolve itself naturally. However, this takes time: from a few months to a few years in some cases. If we do think you have frozen shoulder, we can help speed up this natural resolution of symptoms.

How can we speed up this natural resolution of symptoms?

Although the shoulder joint itself might be too painful to be worked on directly, we can start treating by ensuring the joints nearby the shoulder are moving well, because if everything around the restricted joint is working well it will help the shoulder’s function as well. We’d probably therefore look at your neck, upper spine, shoulder blades and elbow.

During frozen shoulder, the shoulder musculature tends to react and contract to protect the joint. So we also work on the overlaying and surrounding muscles, to make sure they are relaxed and working properly. That tends to help reduce the pain levels and as this happens, we are able to work directly on the shoulder to get it to move better.

We are also likely to give you exercises to do at home so you can yourself help speed up the recovery process.

If you have any questions or want to book an appointment, feel free to contact our team at info@theartofhealing.uk or 0203 146 6755.


First of all, many wonder if osteopathy is safe to practice on pregnant women.

The answer is yes it is!

There is no proven link between osteopathy and miscarriages. If anything, it can help with pains you may be experiencing. And the good news is that some of our practitioners are trained in prenatal osteopathy.

How might the consultation go?

If you are pregnant we will first ask you about the symptoms you are experiencing, your medical history as well as ‘extra’ questions about your current and previous pregnancies. We then proceed to examine you, this can include tests such as taking your blood pressure, getting you to do certain movements, palpation of certain muscles and other things. Then if we judge that all is well and you are safe to treat, we proceed to treatment, adapting to how big your bump is.

Why are you experiencing pain when pregnant?

An estimated 50% of women experiencing back pain during pregnancy or in the postpartum period. As you will be aware, your body undergoes a lot of change over the 9 months. Beyond your uterus expanding and pressing against other organs, your musculoskeletal body (muscles, joints, ligaments, bones) are also adapting to the embryo growing.

For example, your body secretes a particular hormone (relaxin) that has the effect of relaxing your ligaments, to adapt to the change and ease delivery. And although your body is designed to adapt to this change, it can sometimes struggle to keep up with how fast said change is occurring, which in turn puts strain on some structures.

So, how can osteopathy help?

First of all, osteopathy can be very beneficial even if you do not experience pain. Via the assessment part of the consultation, your osteopath will identify which structures are being strained or inflamed. They then know where and how to treat you. Depending on what they find, they might encourage certain joints to move, work on relaxing muscles, release tensions and give you exercises to do at home.

The combination of those helps your body to cope with the stress/strain and reduces pain and inflammation, allowing you to resume to normal day to day life!

Osteopathy is also recommended in the postpartum period, so feel free to book an appointment when you have given birth to your little one.
What is more: you can also bring them to be treated by the osteopath!

If you have any questions or want to book an appointment, you can contact our team at info@theartofhealing.uk or 0203 146 6755.

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