I was diagnosed with Psoriatic Arthritis more than ten years ago, and have tried and tested many different therapies, both traditional and alternative. A good family friend had passed away a few years ago, and I was in a lot of pain at her funeral and almost every member of her family told me to go to osteopath Ian Wright, just outside Clonmel.
I hadn’t even heard of osteopathy up until this point and I would be a Googler as a first response, but I was in so much pain and was so desperate that I just looked up the number, made an appointment and went to him without question.
Osteopathy can be described as a drug-free treatment, working on the musculoskeletal system, which is not invasive. Since I was first diagnosed, I was put on strong disease modification injections, steroids, strong pain killers, anti-nausea medication and much more besides. At times, I feel as if my own medicine cabinet is better stocked than a small pharmacy!
Trips to the rheumatologist, painful blood tests, weekly GP visits, prescriptions longer than most shopping lists and being on a first-name basis with more medical professionals than I could name – this was all now part of my daily life.
My diagnosis came at a time when I was in college, in the budding stages of a new relationship, trying to form my own adult identity and trying to adjust to the right blend of study, socialising and forging my own place in the world.
Psoriatic Arthritis is, in many ways, the best of the forms of arthritis to have, as it is not degenerative and once controlled, it will not get any worse. In saying that, flare-ups were frequent while dosages were being regulated, and even though I was very young and still a teenager, I had to make a number of changes in my life.
Until I went to see Ian Wright, I would get limited pain relief from a cocktail of medication, was injecting every week and found that most medications came with more side-effects than relief from the symptoms.
The day I went into Clonmel Osteopaths I was at my wit’s end, I was desperate and also terribly cynical. That day, as I sat in the very nice waiting room, writhing in agony and considering having to cancel a mainland Europe holiday due to the pain, I was not hopeful that he would help, but I was open to trying anything at that point.
As soon as I was called by Ian Wright into his treatment room, he sat down and asked me a bit about myself, my diagnosis and the medication I was on. He not only wrote everything down and logged my full medical history in my file, but he knew a lot about my symptoms and what was causing me pain and discomfort.
I am commonly referred to as a ‘complex’ medical case by doctors and specialists and so, it was truly refreshing to meet someone who not only knew a lot about my condition, but who seemed to have the information, skills and techniques to ease my pain.
The day I left the clinic after that first appointment, there was a noticed improvement, I got to go on my holiday and was greatly improved. I am not saying that he worked miracles, I was still taking my medication and resting when I could, but it was much more manageable.
That was over two years ago. I started to become a regular patient of Ian’s and I have noticed a staggering improvement in my pain, symptoms and disease control, as well as an improvement in my immune system and overall health.
It only takes me just over half an hour to get from my home to Ian’s clinic in Tipperary, but some people travel from all over Ireland to see Ian and while he is one of the most expensive osteopaths in the country, he is also arguably one of the best. He provides a lot of training to osteopaths from all over Ireland, he travels regularly to give lectures, workshops or training days and he also has a clinic in the UK, with hopes of opening one in Italy in the future.
Ian has been an osteopath for more than 25 years and he specialises in paediatric care, auto-immune diseases like mine and complex cases. What brings people into Ian’s clinic, tucked away in the beautiful countryside of South Tipperary, is not only Ian’s treatment and what some describe as his magical touch, but his personable manner, easy-going nature and the fact that he can relate to people on a human level.
From that first day when I laid on the bed in the treatment room, my head buzzed with questions, queries and observations. Ian put me at ease, answered each question and made me feel comfortable in the knowledge that I was at the hands of a true professional.
I am not an osteopath or medical professional, so my explanation, or interpretation rather, of what Ian does, will not do the complexity of his work justice, but here is an explanation of what a treatment is like for me: after an initial examination where I stand up and he observes me for a moment, I lie down on the treatment bed and he puts his hands on different areas, such as my ankles, temples or spine and I can feel his hands get warmer, as the areas he touches get colder. A question people often ask me is what I wear during the sessions – you do not have to undress in any way and only remove your shoes. I sometimes wear a tracksuit and comfy clothes, but other times I could be wearing a dress or jeans. Sometimes I feel the urge to twitch or fidget, as I can feel something moving inside my body and other times, I zone out and am on the brink of falling asleep.
Often, I have gone into the clinic in pain, doubled over in agony and in severe discomfort. It often pains me to drive there and sometimes I have to rope someone else in to bring me, as I cannot drive myself. When I leave, I feel like a new person, the pains are all but eliminated and I feel calmer and more relaxed.
I notice that I feel worse and the pain is more severe when I haven’t gone to see Ian in a while and I know that this is much more than a mere placebo effect, there is real evidence of the good work he is doing to be seen in my bloodwork, the reduced severity of my flare ups and the management of my pain.
Even if you have never tried anything like this before, I would urge you to take the plunge, make the decision and pick up the phone to call the Clonmel Osteopath and at the very least, meet Ian, have a consultation and give one treatment a fair go. In my experience, those who go once will return, because they can feel the benefits of Ian’s hands from that very first visit.
* This is a first-hand account from Sandra Quinn, who is a patient of Ian Wright’s, and a journalist and writer. This is not sponsored content and the content contained is opinion only, as Sandra is not a qualified medical professional, nor does she claim to be.