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

Sep 4 2019

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

Sep 4 2019

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…

May 1 2019

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

Apr 24 2019

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

Jan 4 2019

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!)

Dec 10 2018

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

Jul 10 2018

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

Jun 26 2018

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

Mar 28 2018

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

Feb 25 2018

  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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🔥 NEW EPISODE OF THE WORDS MATTER PODCAST🔥 . @thewordsmatterpodcast . Podcast 11: What’s in a name? Making sense of ‘sciatica’ with Tom Jesson . On this episode I chat with Tom Jesson, a MSK physiotherapist from Northumberland in the UK who has a special interest in sciatica and has immersed himself in the current literature. . In this episode we talk about: . ❇️ The different diagnostic labels associated with sciatica and the implications of using these terms with patients. . ❇️ The issue of accuracy and precision both from a medical and terminological perspective. . ❇️ The challenge of naming and labelling complex subjective phenomena relating to a pain experience. . ❇️ The sacrificing of precise terms for terms for which are more meaningful and functional for the person with sciatica. . 🎧 Listen online or on iTunes, Google & Spotify. . ✅ SUBSCRIBE. . ✅ RATE . ✅ SHARE . ‼️ And if you like the podcast, you’ll love the @wordsmatter_education online course on effective language & communication to build positive beliefs in people with back pain (‼️use code FBWORDS to receive 25% off this summer). ...

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🔥NEW EPISODE of @thewordsmatterpodcast 🔥 . Episode 10: Right map, wrong terrain- Navigating the many paths of evidence based practice with @mattlow78 . Matt and I continue our discussion on: . 💣 The nature of clinical practice . 💣 How evidence and the patient can help is navigate the Rocky undulating terrain of MSK care. . 💣We also go further into the role of bias and subjectivity in clinical practice. . 💣How we can help manage, understand and incorporate the patient’s values and preferences into clinical decision-making. . 🎙One reason I always enjoy talking to @mattlow78 is the extensive clinical expertise he brings to the conversation. . The clarity with which he is able to verbalise his ‘real world’ clinical reasoning and practice and whilst also drawing upon and situating these aspects in the philosophical, theoretical and research knowledge is both immensely engaging and impressive. 👏🏻 . Expertise such as this are something to behold, and not easily found in MSK care. . 🎧 Listen online @wordsmatter_education , ITunes, Spotify and Google. . Help @thewordsmatterpodcast grow by subscribing and sharing🙏🏼 ...

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💬Are all relationships we develop with patients ‘therapeutic’? . Hmmm....not necessarily. 👇🏻 . 🎙 Snippet from @thewordsmatterpodcast Podcast 09 with Dr Maxi Miciak and me. . 🎧 Listen to full episode online, iTunes, Spotify and Google. . 🙏🏼 Help the podcast grow- Subscribe, Rate and Share. . If you liked this episode, you’ve LOVE the @wordsmatter_education online course in developing communication and biopsychosocial skills is management of back pain. See bio for link 🔥 ...

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🔥NEW EPISODE OF @thewordsmatterpodcast 🔥 . EPISODE 09: Conditions and connections of the therapeutic relationship with Dr Maxi Miciak. . In this episode Maxi and I: . 🔆 Dive into the nature of the therapeutic relationship as both a theoretical concept and also a central component to any interaction between patient and clinician. . 🔆 Talk about what constitutes a ‘good’ and perhaps not so good relationship with patients. . 🔆 Discuss the foundational conditions necessary for a therapeutic relationship to develop and how clinicians can be present with patients to help set the ground work for such a connection to be established. . 🔆Get into how the fall out from COVID (such as virtual or tele healthcare, wearing PPE) might impact the sorts of relationships we want to develop with patients and Maxi offers useful workarounds to mitigate these negative affects. . 🎧 Listen online @wordsmatter_education on iTunes, Spotify, Google. . 🙏🏼 If you like the podcast, help it grow: 🎙Subscribe, Rate and Share. ...

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Sometimes Words just don’t fully capture all that Matters 👇🏻 . 🔆Tacit knowledge🔆 . Philosopher Michael Polanyi compared knowledge which is explicit, teachable, and can be verbalised to knowledge which cannot, termed tacit knowledge. . Artists and professionals operate using knowledge which is unexplainable to others, i.e. is tacit. . Tacit knowledge is that aspect of human action, skill, performance or practice which, for the most part cannot be easily explained and articulated. . In this respect, knowledge is embedded in the doing. . Whilst the complexity of an experienced professional’s knowledge may never be made completely explicit, exploratory methods such as qualitative research can begin to explicate previously hidden or tacit areas of clinical practice so we can develop, enhance and refine it. . So sometimes words just don’t fully ‘do it’! ...

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Clinical reasoning has been described as the bridge between practice and knowledge. . Understanding the linkages between our knowledge, reasoning and action is fundamental to developing our clinical practice. . It then begs the questions: . 🧐 What is knowledge? . 🧐 What is practice? . At first glance, it might seem obvious the answers to these questions (eg ‘knowledge is facts’, ‘stuff about things’ and practice to ‘doing things to people’). . But these are very uni-perspective, unidimensional and superficial descriptions. . By problematising such humdrum, day-to-day aspects of our professional work and asking seemingly obvious questions of taken-for-granted aspects of it, we develop a much deeper understanding and appreciation for the complexity of the nature of clinical practice. . Have a listen to Podcast 7 with @mattlow78 and @droliver_t and stay tuned for part 2 coming soon ‼️ . 🔆 WANT TO GET A BIT MORE FLEXIBLE IN YOUR THINKING & ARTISTIC IN YOUR PRACTICE? . @wordsmatter_education ONLINE course on effective clinical communication and reasoning skills in the management of back pain by @droliver_t . 👩🏻‍🎓🧑‍🎓 Student discounts available- you are the future (DM for code). ...

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‼️ Ask Me Anything episode #1 of @thewordsmatterpodcast 🎙 . Thanks for all your questions, please keep them rolling in for future AMA episodes. 🙌🏼 . In this AMA I discuss: . ❇️ The main barriers that I encounter for musculoskeletal clinicians/osteopaths to adopt a biopsychosocial approach to their practice. . ❇️ Recording diagnoses in clinical notes, and moving away from specific tissues to other factors more salient to the persons' situation and experience. . ❇️ How I got into academia, my PhD journey and suggestions for those wanting to begin to dip their toes in. . ❇️ The main challenges I experienced moving from student to novice and then to a more experienced clinician. . ❇️ My views on how evidence-based practice can and should blur the boundaries of musculoskeletal therapies’, professional identities and distinctiveness. . 🎧 Listen on online, iTunes, Spotify etc. . 🙏🏼 Help the podcast grow and don't miss an episode- Subscribe, Rate and Share. 📲 . ‼️If you liked the podcast, you'l love the @wordsmatter_education online course in effective language and communication when managing back pain - ideal for all MSK therapists and students- see link in bio 👀 ...

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My first Ask Me Anything for @thewordsmatterpodcast drops TOMORROW 🔥🔥 . Here’s a clip on my biggest challenge as a novice osteopath. . Keep the questions coming for future AMAs. 👊🏼 . So: . Listen 🎧 . Subscribe 📱 . Share 📲 . @thewordsmatterpodcast @wordsmatter_education . See you tomorrow 🎙 ...

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