Bilateral arm pain, numbness that wont go away? T4 Syndrome is more common than you think.

Where is T4?

The spine is made up of three sections; seven cervical vertebrae in the neck, twelve thoracic vertebrae in the mid back and five lumbar vertebrae in the lower back.

T4 is the fourth thoracic vertebra in the midback.


What is the significance of T4?

Location! Location! Location! T4 is situated right in between the shoulder blades, many muscles attach to it, making it a crucial landmark of tension in the back. It also plays a big role in the tension held in the autonomic nervous system. The sympathetic (fight or flight) nervous system’s control centres (ganglia) lie along the rib attachments of the thoracic spine. The sympathetic network interacts with the nervous supply that effects the heart, abdominal organs, skin, muscles and tissues of the upper/ mid body and the head.

What are the symptoms of T4 Syndrome?

Symptoms include:

  • Numbness in either one or both hands (usually all five fingers)
  • Numbness in the forearm
  • Coldness in the hands and arms
  • Hand clumsiness
  • Heaviness in the upper limb
  • Hands may feel or be swollen
  • Pain in Hands with or without upper back/ neck pain
  • Pain between the shoulder blades

T4 syndrome is often missed or misdiagnosed resulting in incorrect treatment; leaving sufferers with reoccurring symptoms.

Who does T4 Syndrome affect?

Any occupation or hobby that has prolonged stooping, working on computers, bending forward and looking down can predispose you to T4 syndrome. A study showed the prevalence is high in electricians, surgeons, assembly line workers and office workers.

What can City Osteopathy do for you?

Osteopathy is very beneficial for T4 syndrome. Our Melbourne osteopaths offer a variety of safe, effective and therapeutic manual techniques that will provide you with relief. We can assess your posture to ensure that the root of the causative problem is addressed and resolved. Book in with our amazing team of Osteopaths today!


Dr Stephanie Norton-Smith (Osteopath)

City Osteopathy

CLICK HERE to make a booking




We treat Pregnant Office workers

In this day and age working till late term pregnancy is quite normal. Working is stressful enough but also having your body change with pregnancy can make your occupation uncomfortable and your pain unremitting. We can help with pregnancy pains such as unstable pelvis, lower back pain, sciatica, immobility and we can increase your day to day function.

An Important fact of Pregnancy: Hormones

Relaxin is a hormone released to make your joints more flexible in preparation to give birth during pregnancy. It’s very useful but can also cause muscular pain as muscles have to overwork to stabilise your joints.

Prolactin is involved in milk production causing the breast to enlarge potentially putting strain on your upper back and neck.

Symptoms associated with pregnancy can be:

  • sore lower, mid and upper back
  • Sore pelvis and Sacroiliac joints
  • Referred Pain down legs and in the hips
  • Tiredness and fatigue
  • Breathlessness

What are some things I should consider as a pregnant office worker?

1: Sitting for too long: we already know sitting for long periods of time is not good for us but sitting for long periods of time whilst being pregnant can be more harmful than you think. Considering your office chair is moving further away from desk and your centre of gravity is ever growing forward due to a growing belly; therefore putting stress on you back, pelvis, neck and shoulders.

2: Stress and pregnancy: Some research suggests ergonomic stressors whilst being pregnant can cause preterm delivery, spontaneous abortion, low birth weight and still births. It’s important to be aware of this to ensure a safe delivery and healthy baby and mother.

What can City Osteopathy do for me?

Here at City Osteopathy we can offer safe pregnancy specific treatment programs that will give you the relief you deserve. We use a variety of manual therapy techniques to release off problematic muscles and joints in conjunction with safe and mindful stretches and exercises. We can give you helpful advice to keep you comfortable whilst working during the pregnancy. Book in online with any of our Osteopaths via this link CLICK HERE to make a booking

Dr Stephanie Norton-Smith (Osteopath)

Osteopathy for Back Pain Problems – Here’s What You Need to Know

Image of a young woman with back pain sitting on the bed at home

Are you looking for the best treatment for your chronic back pain? It’s time to stop ignoring this unbearable symptom and visit an osteopath for proper treatment. Utilising the science AND art of osteopathy in back pain management is becoming increasingly popular. Even those who typically seek chiropractic services now lean towards osteopathy for effective and quick  pain relief.

How can osteopathy treat back pain issues?

In essence, osteopathy is a discipline that focuses on the detection, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of joints, soft tissues, and muscle conditions with the use of massage therapy, stretching exercises, mobilisation, and movement techniques. It is considered an alternative or complementary medical discipline and is included as part of more comprehensive treatment.

Osteopath exercise for lower back pain has been proven to be effective in that it specifically treats the problem at hand. The manual therapy involves proper alignment of the musculoskeletal system resulting in immediate healing from injury or trauma. It is a non-invasive, drug-free therapy that has minimal side effects, so you can resume doing activities you were accustomed to prior to back pain symptoms.

What are the standard treatment strategies for lower back pain?

Osteopaths can take a more holistic approach to treatment of lower back pain when compared to some Chiropractors.. Here are some of the most common techniques that are used to deliver back pain relief.

  • Muscle energy technique
  • Cranial osteopathy
  • Spinal manipulation
  • Massage

Besides lower back pain, osteopathy techniques provided above treat the following conditions, too:

  • Pregnancy-related back pain
  • Sciatica pain
  • Rheumatic pain
  • Joint pain
  • Generalised aches and pains
  • Postural issues
  • Mechanical back pain
  • Neck and shoulder pain

If you are in dire need of pain relief, schedule an appointment with us by calling 03 9663 5450. Visit our website by clicking here to know more about our organisation and the services that we offer.

How to Treat Sports Injuries among Melbourne Athletes

Image of a Woman runner got sports injury running on forest trail

Osteopathic treatment is beneficial among athletes across all sports and at all levels. Suffering from a sports-related injury can affect one’s overall performance. If you’re looking for a way to heal your injuries quickly, we highly suggest giving osteopathy a try.

Should you treat sports injuries?

First-aid treatment for sports injuries is typically performed by athletes themselves. Although they deliver pain relief and improve comfort levels, it is a must for athletes to seek professional help for more comprehensive and specific treatment and to develop a  pain management plan. You may not consider an osteopath as your first solution for treatment, but in most cases, the services they render are found to be some of the most effective.

Why should you go to an osteopath in Melbourne for sports injuries?

To reach your peak level of fitness and performance, you need to include osteopathy as part of a holistic treatment plan. Injuries undeniably prevent you from performing at your best. Osteopathy is the perfect complementary medicine as it targets the injuries as well as improves your level of performance, too!

The most common sports-related injuries that athletes suffer from are as follows:

  • Shoulder pain
  • Elbow pain
  • Wrist pain
  • Shin splints
  • Ligament sprains
  • Rolled ankle
  • Muscle strains such as those of the groin, calf, and hamstrings

With the best osteopaths in Melbourne, you will be prescribed a specific sports injury therapy that will work to support fast recovery and prevention. A sports injury therapy usually starts by facilitating the bodies healing process through improving blood supply to the affected areas via techniques such as ultrasound therapy, cross friction massage and joint/soft tissue mobilisation. Injured sections of the body then undergo various techniques such as stretching and sports massages and rehabilitation advice. Specific guided rehabilitation exercises, and alignment via osteopathic treatment  need to be performed to ensure a balanced body.

Using osteopathy to manage sports injuries is effective in that it addresses all phases of healing and treatment; from the moment an athlete sustains an injury to rehabilitation and restoring peak functioning.

Call us now on 03 9663 5450 to book your very first osteopath session. To know more about our clinic and the services that we render, click here.

A Standing Cure to Chronic Lower Back Pain

What is a standing desk?

A standing desk can be either an attachment to your regular desk or as a complete desk on its own that allows you stand up comfortably whilst you are working.

Why is sitting so bad?

Sitting for prolonged periods of time can exacerbate chronic lower back pain because the spine is in an unbalanced position that can compress joints and aggravate them. Additionally a sedentary life style can increase your risk of diabetes and heart disease.

How can a standing desk benefit me?

1: Standing desks reduces chronic lower back and neck pain

Back and neck pain are one of the most common complaints of desk workers who do tend to sit all day. Studies have shown a dramatic improvement of symptoms over a four week period, with 32% improvement in lower back pain and 54% in upper back and neck pain.

2: Standing desks increases energy levels and productivity

Standing seems to have in overall positive affect on our general constitution. A study showed that participants that used a standing desk felt less stressed and had increased vigour and energy throughout the day. This in turn increased productivity of workers and showed a decreased number of clerical errors.

3: Standing may help you live longer

Standing desks allow you to burn more calories decreasing your risk of obesity and diabetes. It’s also reduces your blood sugar levels from spiking after meals. A small study showed that standing for 180 minutes after lunch reduced your sugar spike by 43% compared to workers that sat at a desk.

Here at City Osteopathy, our team of Osteopaths can help choose the right desk for you.

Dr Stephanie Norton-Smith (Osteopath)

The importance of a good nights sleep

Sleep is something that we focus on a lot. Why we’re not getting enough, how we can get more, how much is too much? As many people enter the world of parenting, it is even more important and borders on obsession for some of us! Explorations of children’s sleep patterns, co-sleeping arrangements, nap times seem to dominate conversations and dictate a good day or not so good.

We have a lot of patients who come to us with back pain who have been sleeping on the same mattress with a sore back for years. This is also an area that is gaining interest among parents, on finding the right children’s bed and mattress that will ensure a good night’s sleep for the entire household!

We speak with Elise Heslop from Melbourne furniture design company Plyroom, about choosing the right bed for your child, and some of the things to think about when choosing a bed:

The right bed will depend a lot on your requirements, so have a think about these questions before you start the hunt for the perfect bed for your little one.

  • How much space do you have? For smaller rooms or shared rooms, think about a low profile bed that appears to take up less space in the room. If you are short on storage, a trundle drawer that can be used as storage or for the occasional sleepover are a great idea.
  • If your children share a room, a bunk bed or loft bed in single or king single size are going to be a practical solution. Loft beds allow space underneath for another bed or study area, which can be great for children as they get older, and also allows a bit more flexibility if you think your children may want to sleep in separate rooms down the track.  Shared rooms are also great for children’s play, and increase social and community awareness which is helpful for later life skill.
  • Think about choosing a simple bed frame that will last beyond their current age. Buying well in the early days will save you from wanting to change everything in a year or two.  One that is ECO friendly would be a good idea, less varnish and MDF which can emit some fumes could be better to avoid.
  • Choose a medium firm mattress, this could be memory foam or a sprung mattress.