Big thank you from

Jenny Munro talks to Kieran Ryan

Kieran Ryan KIERAN Ryan, 29, is a manipulative therapist at W M Ryan and Son back clinic in Dunmurry. The family firm has been running for around 108 years.

The Maghaberry man went into the business with his father Michael, who has since retired, and became a fully qualified partner.

Manipulative therapists work with the bones, muscles and connective tissue using their hands to diagnose and treat abnormalities of structure and function.

The use of manipulation has been around since ancient times, and has its origins in the art of bone setting.

On a day I am working an early shift I drive to the practice in Dunmurry for around 8.45am and the first thing I do is check the appointment book and start to prepare the treatment rooms.

There are four therapists including myself but we work on a rota system. There is also a sports therapist and a member of staff who specialises in reflexology and massaging as well as two receptionists.

The first patient arrives at 9am. I try to discover the cause of their pain so I need to know about their general health and medical history I then examine them for mechanical imbalances causing or interfering with their structure. Painful conditions from back pain, neck pain, joint pain, arthritic pain. sciatica to headaches are all commonly treated successfully with manipulative therapy.

I explain what I am doing and give advice on posture and exercises, which could help improve the patient's condition. A normal session will last between 15-20 minutes.

Once the treatment is finished I write up their notes and advise if any more sessions are required. Usually most people only require a couple of treatments depending on their condition.

I treat a lot of people with general back complaints that have resulted from whiplash, bad posture and sports injuries.

My work involves restoring a healthy structure - this is essential to avoid chronic conditions developing and to keep in peak condition.

If your structure is faulty - like the foundations of a house - it will affect everything. This is why manipulative therapy is so good for so many conditions.

Manipulative therapists understand about muscles - often the most ignored part of the body and realise that mental, physical and emotional stresses often contribute to injuries by affecting the muscles.

We use a variety of 'Manipulative Therapy' techniques some may cause clicking sounds, others are more like stretching and specially applied movements.

Once the treatment is finished the patient pays at reception whilst I get the room ready for the next person. I'll do much of the same work until lunch-time when I stop for about an hour. I like to unwind and enjoy having some time to myself.

In the afternoon I treat more patients - if I have a free slot in the diary I work on the administration and general running of the business and talk to the staff.

I'll look at the rotas and find out how things are going at reception. Occasionally my father drops by. Although he is retired he still likes to keep an eye on how things are going. Some days I work a short shift and others I work late - just depending on the rota system. The clinic is open on Saturdays as well so I might have to work then too. If I am there until closing time I tidy up the rooms and make sure all the equipment is switched off. I'll file away all the medical notes and then head home.

When I get there I make dinner and chill out for a bit. I have a new fish tank so I feed the fish and then maybe do some DIY about the house.

In my spare time I like to relax with my friends and family as well as catching up on TV programmes.

I have recently developed an interest in gardening and at the weekends I have been working on a vegetable patch in my back garden. As well as this I enjoy playing darts and going fishing with friends. Generally in the evenings I like to relax before heading to bed.

Ulster Star