Dr Oliver Thomson PhD is a leading London osteopath. Using the latest research, he provides effective treatment for back pain and sciatica, incorporating osteopathy, manual therapy, exercise advice and education. He has extensive experience in helping patients with acute, recurrent or chronic back pain, where other treatments and 'quick fix' approaches have not been successful.

Based in Belsize Park, his extensive clinical expertise and evidence-based approach will meet all your musculoskeletal healthcare needs, no matter how complex.

Choose us for effective relief for your back pain and sciatica:

  • Leading London osteopath

  • Persistent chronic back pain and acute episodes

  • Detailed clinical examination, explanation and diagnosis

  • Modern approach using the latest research

  • Exercise and rehabilitation

  • Professional, friendly and supportive approach


A leading London osteopath, Dr Thomson has extensive expertise and experience in treating and managing a range of musculoskeletal conditions, particularly back pain and sciatica. Using the latest research he puts the individual patient at the heart of any treatment plan so that you'll be involved in all the decisions regarding your care.

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Dr Thomson is an experienced researcher and academic. He collaborates with researchers worldwide and has published extensively in the areas of clinical reasoning, biopsychosocial model of back pain, qualitative research and grounded theory.

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Dr Thomson is currently an Associate Professor at the University College of Osteopathy in London, and he has held several teaching and lecturing positions at educational institutions in the UK and Scandinavia. He regularly holds seminars, workshops and CPD courses for osteopaths, manual therapists, healthcare professionals.

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Book your appointment

If you're experiencing back pain, sciatica or another musculoskeletal problem or have been failed by 'quick fix' treatments and promises, Dr Oliver Thomson can provide effective evidence-based treatment and advice. He is based at BodyMatters Clinic, located at 1 McCrone Mews, Belsize Park, London, NW3. With free on-site parking, it is easily accessible via car or public transport (Jubilee and Northern tube lines) from central London, Camden, Hampstead, Golders Green, St John’s Wood, Primrose Hill, Swiss Cottage, West Hampstead and Chalk Farm.

Appointments can be booked online or calling 0207 419 7900.

Recent Blog Posts

NEWS FLASH! (Great) expectations of recovery from back pain are associated with recovery from back pain

Recent research confirms our previous intuitions, that expectations of recovery predict recovery from low back pain. See the full paper by Eklund et al here My suggestions for managing patient expectations. Explore patients’ expectations at the first visit (before setting them!) & explore underpinning beliefs. Ask the patient flat out, for example “What are you…
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Osteopathy and evidence-based practice- getting there, but challenges still ahead

Whilst NOT perfect (and continually under evolution and refinement- e.g. Greenhalgh et al 2014), evidence-based practice (EBP) is the OPTIMAL and ETHICAL approach to clinical healthcare practice. The now familiar definition of EBP is the integration of best research evidence WITH clinical expertise AND patient values & preferences.. EBP was developed in the early 1980s,…
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WE TALKED evidence, WE SHARED ideas and experiences, WE QUESTIONED practice knowledge, WE PRESSURE-TESTED our own beliefs, HECK we even ATE Mrs Crimble’s macaroons…

WE TALKED evidence, WE SHARED ideas and experiences, WE QUESTIONED practice knowledge, WE PRESSURE-TESTED our own beliefs, WE SCRUTINISED our back pain language and HECK we even ATE some of Mrs Crimble’s finest macaroons…   I really enjoyed the language & communication workshop on Sunday, lots of critical discussion, learning together, and coming up with…
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CPD Course on Effective language and communication when managing low back pain- how to help and not harm

CPD for musculoskeletal therapists Patients with back pain who consult a musculoskeletal healthcare professional expect and desire a diagnosis and information for their problem. However, the words we use to shape our responses and convey messages to patients in pain, have the potential to heal (facilitate recovery) or have the capacity to harm (delay or…
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Your back IS strong…even if you (or someone else) doesn’t think that it is

When we’re experiencing back pain is easy to feel that our spines are fragile and vulnerable to damage. It can really feel like any ‘wrong’ movement or position will be harmful to our backs. As a consequence, we often modify our behaviour and change how we move. For example, maybe you decide to skip a…
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Evidence-based practice in osteopathy- results from a UK national survey (and clearing things up!)

Evidence-based practice (EBP) is now considered to be the optimal (albeit imperfect- see here) approach to healthcare practice and decision-making- and all healthcare professionals from art therapists to doctors should be adopting an evidence-based approach. Unfortunately, over the years, EBP has been misinterpreted as ‘EXCLUSIVELY applying research’ or ‘all patients receive the SAME algorithmic treatment…
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Protect your sleep to protect your back

Backs LOVE sleep. Poor sleep (both quality and quantity) is highly predictive of developing and worsening low back pain (see here and here). Sleep patterns influence our psychological an emotional well-being (mood) which can further sensitise back pain and reduce the ability to cope and tolerate pain. Furthermore, worry and anxiety related to back pain (e.g.…
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Re-grounding biopsychosocial back pain research- Introducing Grounded Theory Method

Patients’ and practitioners’ values, preferences and experiences are very much part of modern iterations of evidence-based practice (EBP), and developing a research-based knowledge of these constructs are crucial to the sensible and effective adoption of EBP by healthcare professionals [see seminal paper by Greenhalgh and colleagues here]. Its now widely accepted that evidence derived from…
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“I should be glowing not aching!”- The facts about low back pain during pregnancy

I was recently invited to write a guest blog for social group Hampstead Mums, on the causes, risk factors and treatment options for pregnancy-related low back pain. A real dampener during pregnancy I see lots of mums-to-be in clinic experiencing back pain, and it can be a real dampener on their pregnancy experience. Low back…
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Low back pain: To scan, or not to scan? That is the question

  Many of my osteopathy patients with low back pain (LBP) often ask me whether or not a scan is required, but the decision to scan is not always straight forward, so let’s clear a few things up. Firstly, there are several different types of scanning procedures used to investigate back pain, we’ll focus on…
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Follow @DrOliver_T

Leave a comment below (and/or respond in my story) 👇🏻😊 . (Thanks Nils Oudhuis of @trustmephysiotherapist for the inspiration ✊🏻) . #osteopathy #osteopathicmedicine #osteopatiavisceral #osteopatia #osteopathyworks #osteo #osteopata #osteopathie #osteopathic #cranialosteopathy #osteopathicmanipulation #omt #osteopati #osteopat #osteopatía #osteopatiapediatrica #pediatricosteopathy #osteopaths #visceralosteopathy ...

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🚨 WARNING, OVERLY LONG POST 🚨 🤷🏽 . Really pleased to have our systematic review protocol published (and soon to be registered in prospero)- it’s great to get this project off the ground. . The systematic review is the first stage of our larger study investigating the ‘biopsychosocialness’ of osteopaths across New Zealand. . The project adopts a mixed-methods approach using quantitative and qualitative data collection methods to address related but slightly different research questions on NZ osteopaths’ practice. . After the SR, we will conduct interviews with osteopaths to explore their experiences, beliefs, perceptions and challenges and orientating their clinical work towards a BPS approach. . Combined with the results from the SR, this qualitative data will help construct a questionnaire to collect data on osteopaths’ perceptions of the BPS model as it applies to their practice. ✊🏻 . Whilst the challenges and enablers of adopting a BPS approach have been identified in other professions (eg physiotherapy), and there’s some small-scale qualitative research- there’s limited research in osteopathy, and virtually none in NZ. 🇳🇿 . Given the traditional beliefs, philosophical/theoretical underpinning of osteopathy, combined with a strong emphasis an manual therapy and anatomical/biomechanical knowledge, and the professions’ societal location (largely in the private health sector), our project may identify specific challenges and enablers local to osteopaths (and more specifically those in NZ). . This knowledge will then allow specific educational/CPD interventions to be developed to meet these challenges. . Once we’ve collected the cross-sectional data, and the tool has been validated with some factor analysis/statistical wizardry 🧙‍♂️ it can be used to collect data on osteopaths’ BPS perceptions worldwide, giving a broad perspective. 🇬🇧 🇦🇺 🇨🇦 🇫🇷 🇮🇹 🇪🇸 . I’m delighted to be part of a multidisciplinary team of researchers and chuffed to have Ben Darlow involved who is a real leader in the LBP/BPS field. . Stay posted for regular updates on the project. . #osteopathicmedicine #osteopathy #biopsychosocial #biopsychosocialmodel #mixedmethods #physiotherapy #osteopath ...

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💥 WORDS MATTER MELBOURNE IS ALMOST HERE 💥 . Can’t wait to team up with my good buddy and mover and shaker (for back pain at least 🕺🏼) Ben McChesney from @balanceosteopathy. . When in pain, our words we use to convey messages, frame people’s pain, experience and disabilities is crucial to aiding their recovery; it was the germ of an idea drove me to develop the Words Matter sessions. . But using movement (whether active exercise or more passive manual therapy) in combination with purposeful language can create even more profound experiences, meaning, emotional & psychological responses in patients with back pain. . Can’t wait for Sunday. Still time to sign up in Eventbrite. Stayed tuned for regular updates during the day 📱 . #wordsmatter #cpd #osteopathy #chiropractic #physiotherapy #physio #physioaustralia #chiroaustralia @osteopathyau #myotherapy ...

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Counting down the days until Words Matter hits Melbourne 🇦🇺📅 . Super excited to team up with good buddy and osteo/movement wiz Ben from @balanceosteopathy to incorporate therapeutic movement and exercise into the successful Words Matters sessions at @victoriauniversity. . Together Ben and I will help develop musculoskeletal therapists’ skills and knowledge in language and communication as they relate to all areas of the clinical interaction with people with low back pain. . The full day workshop will help orientate your clinical reasoning frameworks to utilise contemporary biopsychosocial approaches to back pain. . Drawing upon the latest research evidence, we’ll discuss strategies for effective and therapeutic communication with patients experiencing back pain, in conjunction with matched movement and rehabilitation strategies. . For tickets and full details of the program search Eventbrite (Australia). . #osteopathy #physiotherapy #chiropractic #movementismedicine #movementislife #movementtherapy #myotherapy #physiotherapyaustralia #osteopathyaustralia #chiropracticaustralia @osteopathyau @myotherapyassociationau #biopsychosocial #evidencebasedpractice #lowbackpain ...

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There’s something about self-efficacy. . Developing a patient’s self efficacy puts them on the right track. . High self efficacy includes self-confidence, accurate self- evaluation, willingness to take risks, and sense of accomplishment. . Self efficacy is related to self-management (physical exercise) and treatment adherence. . Higher levels of self-efficacy are associated with lower levels of pain and disability in patients with chronic pain. . In contrast, low SE includes fear of risks and uncertainty, low aspirations, feelings of fear of failure, and impression management (aware of peoples’ perceptions). . Low SE associated with worse outcomes from LBP. . Clinicians’ language and communication strategies can influence a patient’s self efficacy. So move from saying “Be careful exercising”, or “I think that’s took much for you” or “your back is just not made to do those types of exercises” ❌ . To . “This exercise is hard, but you’ve done hard things before- I believe in you” or “It’s ok, you’re safe, you’re strong” or “your back is strong and stable, just a little sore/sensitive” ✅💪🏼 . #selfefficacy #backpain #biopsychosocial #lowbackpain #confidence #osteopath #physiotherapist #chiropractor ...

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What’s in a name? . ‘Osteoarthritis’ is unlikely to strike fear in the heart of most MSK health professionals- it’s a common ‘humdrum’ term that is etched in the cortex of students during their professional training. . However, a term that appears to be benign, boring and everyday, can have quite a different interpretation by people experiencing pain and whose life and experience of that life, is intertwined with the distress, helplessness and fear that is part of persistent back pain. . Our words matter. . Genuine quote from a study participant with LBP from the paper below 👇🏻 . Thomson, O.P. and Collyer, K., 2017. ‘Talking a different language’: a qualitative study of chronic low back pain patients' interpretation of the language used by student osteopaths. International Journal of Osteopathic Medicine, 24, pp.3-11. . Check out my Words Matter workshops on Eventbrite- providing evidence based and practical strategies to utilise language to optimise the recovery of patients with back pain. . #physiotherapy #phsyiotherapist #osteopathy #osteopath #spondylosis #scoliosis #arthritis #chiropractor #wordsmatter #lowbackpain #backpain #cpd #chronicpain ...

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The numbing familiarity of common clinical terms means we’re often totally blind as to the emotional, psychological and behavioural impacts that our day-to-day language can have on people with back pain. . Clinicians, therapists and physicians cannot afford for one second to be clumsy, lazy and uncaring with our language when interacting with people in pain and might be distressed, anxious or scared. . “Words are like toothpaste; once out of the tube, they are impossible to put back in” (Stewart & Loftus, 2018). . Genuine quote from a study participant with LBP from the paper below 👇🏻 . Thomson, O.P. and Collyer, K., 2017. ‘Talking a different language’: a qualitative study of chronic low back pain patients' interpretation of the language used by student osteopaths. International Journal of Osteopathic Medicine, 24, pp.3-11. . Check out my Words Matter workshops on Eventbrite- providing evidence based and practical strategies to utilise language to optimise the recovery of patients with back pain. . #physiotherapy #phsyiotherapist #osteopathy #osteopath #spondylosis #scoliosis #arthritis #chiropractor #wordsmatter #lowbackpain #backpain #cpd ...

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Telling people with back that they’re weak, vulnerable or fragile can have a dramatic impact on their lives, as exemplified by this interview quote from Darlow et al (2013) study exploring the enduring impact of what clinicians say to people with low back pain. . Musculoskeletal clinicians and therapists often use words and phrases with the best intentions, however we’re frequently unaware of the unintended consequences of these terms (which are often part of common professional language). . The wrong word, at the wrong time, said in the wrong way, to the wrong patient can have a profoundly negative impact on recovery from low back pain. For example, “you’re spine is weak”, “your body can’t handle that”, “be careful with your back” 🤕 . The right words, said at the right time, in the right way, to the right patient can have a liberating, reassuring and positive impact on them. For example, “you can do this”, “you’re strong, you’re safe”, “it’s difficult, but you’ve done hard things before”. 💪🏼 . Words Matter workshops running in London, Portugal, Dubai and Melbourne. See bio for link. . #wordsmatter #physicaltherapy #physiotherapy #osteopath #chiropractor #biopsychosocial #backpain #evidencebasedmedicine #qualitativeresearch #cpd #coreworkout #corestrength ...

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