The hidden perils of alternative therapies

Related Topics

Virginia Ironside is not the only one on the paper who gets problem letters from readers (I wish she were), so today I am going to enlist the help of my readership to tackle the quandary of a reader who has written to me for help, following a visit to an osteopath. Here is what he says.

Dear Mr Kington,

As I had recently started to limp with ankle pain, I went to an osteopath, and he recommended exercises, starting with a simple one which involved standing on the first step of my staircase, then raising myself on tiptoes with my good leg and lowering myself on my bad leg to strengthen the muscles - well, the details don't matter. What matters is the sequence of what happened thereafter, and luckily I kept the following diary.

DAY ONE Today I start the exercise on the stairs, using good foot to raise myself and bad foot to lower myself. There is immediate improvement! I can feel my foot getting better.

DAY TWO Improvement is so quick that good foot is now not as good as bad foot, so I swap over and make the good foot the bad foot and vice versa.

DAY THREE When I come to do the exercise, I cannot remember which is the bad foot, so I do it both ways. While changing over, ie making good foot bad foot and vice versa, I slip and fall off step, getting a limp in the leg which I had not limped with so far.

DAY FOUR I am now limping in both legs, which makes me look drunk. The solicitor across the road inquires after my health, and when I tell him, he gets very excited. "I smell a malpractice suit!" he tells me. "Why not let me help you sue your osteopath?" I tell him it is out of the question. He tells me there would be a lot of money coming to me. I change my mind, and ask him to initiate the action.

DAY FIVE Bad news from the solicitor. He phones from his office to tell me that, to get the details straight, he tried the osteopath's exercise himself, and managed to fall off a slippery brass-edged step. He says he has hurt himself quite badly and is now determined to sue.

"Won't it look a bit funny, both of us suing the osteopath?" I say.

"I'm not suing him," he says. "I'm suing you! You were the one who introduced me to this wretched exercise!"

Can a solicitor sue his own client? I did not know that.

DAY SIX The matter has become more complicated. Apparently my solicitor went to his doctor to show him the results of the fall, and get evidence for his case against me. The doctor asked the solicitor to show him the exercise, so the solicitor did.

"I really don't see how that could have caused you to tumble," said the doctor, and he repeated the exercise to show how safe it was. Unfortunately, a piece of carpet slipped under him and he fell heavily against his desk, breaking a rib.

The doctor is now suing my solicitor.

DAY SEVEN It seems that the doctor was due to go away on holiday the next day, but cannot go because of his broken rib. If it were just a case of a ruined holiday it might be an insurance matter, but apparently his marriage was going through a shaky period, and this holiday was meant to bring them back together again. And although the doctor cannot go, his wife has gone by herself. Well, not by herself. She has gone off with another man, who, it seems, was her secret lover all along.

DAY EIGHT Well, if nothing else, I have been keeping up my exercises, and my ankle is now much better. I went back to see the osteopath. However, he was not there. He has gone away on holiday, it seems. "But not alone," winked the receptionist. "He has taken a doctor's wife with him, just to be on the safe side."

Well, Mr Kington, you see the dreadful chain of events I have set in motion. Can you suggest what I should do about it?

Anyone got any ideas?

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Yvette Cooper campaigning in London at the launch of Labour’s women’s manifesto  

I want the Labour Party to lead a revolution in family support

Yvette Cooper
Liz Kendall  

Labour leadership contest: 'Moderniser' is just a vague and overused label

Steve Richards
Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine