Several years ago, as an Osteopathic student, I struggled with debilitating pain behind my right shoulder blade. I couldn’t recall any injury, nor could I work out a reason for it.

I started seeing an Osteopath who advised me I had an irritated rib. Great I thought! Now that I have a diagnosis, things will improve. I saw the osteopath a number of times, feeling great after the appointment, but invariably the pain and discomfort returned. With things not improving, I sought a second opinion from another Osteopath and had the same results. Becoming disillusioned with my chosen profession, I decided to give Physiotherapy a go. Despite strengthening and stretching the area, nothing changed. I also tried chiropractic, but nothing seemed to ‘fix’ it.

One day, about three years after it began, I was shopping and I threw my beautiful, bright yellow, oversized Jimmy Choo handbag over my right shoulder and felt that familiar sharp stabbing pain. I had my lightbulb moment! I couldn’t believe it; it was my handbag!

This experience completely changed the way I view injuries and practice Osteopathy. On reflection, not one of the health professionals I saw told me I was the problem. I also realised that they were never going to be able ‘fix’ me. The key to my recovery was working out what I was doing to cause the rib irritation. Needless to say, once I ditched the stupidly heavy handbag the rib complaint completely resolved.

So I implore you to think about what could be the cause of your complaint, especially if you fall into the same pattern as I did. As an Osteopath I can make you feel better, but my real job is to help you identify the cause.