In this new section we outline research and presentations that are given at health professional conferences. This information is not often published and rarely filters down to the public!

Conference presentations

Is there a role for a McTimoney chiropractor in the treatment of vulval pain?

Break out session. Nunns D, Lopes R, Annual McTimoney Chiropractic Association Conference, Hilton Hotel, Basingstoke, 7 – 8 November 2010

This breakout session focused on vulval pain assessment and management and was chaired by David Nunns, Medical Advisor of the VPS, to an audience of McTimoney chiropractors. Chiropractic is a straightforward method of adjusting the bones of the body to improve the alignment of the skeleton, and through this process help the nervous system to work more efficiently. The purpose of chiropractic care is to realign and rebalance the body to relieve pain and discomfort, and increase mobility. A misalignment of the joints can occur for many reasons; some of the most common are incorrect lifting, car or sporting accidents, falls, stress, and poor posture. This can lead to pain, numbness, pins and needles, or restricted mobility. The McTimoney method of chiropractic was developed by the late John McTimoney over 50 years ago and is taught only at the McTimoney College of Chiropractic in Abingdon, near Oxford. It is well known for being a precise, whole body approach to chiropractic care. The gentle holistic nature of the McTimoney method makes it especially suitable for people of all ages.

The background to the session was to explore McTimoney chiropractic treatments for vulval pain. There is evidence of benefit for women based on the results presented (but not published) at a medical conference in 2006 by Robyn Lopes, a McTimoney chiropractor from Plymouth. She treated 80 patients with vulval pain referred to her from the local Department of Genitourinary Medicine using a combination of standard McTimoney chiropractic adjustments which includes general postural realignment. Some of these 80 patients underwent internal coccygeal manipulation to correct the position of the coccyx bone. This involved a short finger examination of the anus, to contact the coccyx. Of the 80 patients, many had significant improvement in symptoms, with benefit felt with background pain and sexual pain. The average number of treatments needed was 3 (range from 1 – 14) and of the 25 patients where internal coccygeal manipulation was used, 21 had complete relief. This was a selected group of patients and many of the women had a history of injury to the pelvis (falls on the pelvic bone, coccyx injuries, surgery, road traffic accidents and even childbirth). Interestingly, although 54% of women experienced pain at the time of the injury, 29% of patients developed symptoms over a year from the injury. McTimoney chiropractic treatment can be considered for women with unprovoked vulvodynia where there is a history of pelvic trauma (no matter how long before the trauma occurred). There remains however a big gulf between the medical community and referral, therefore, many women are not aware of the benefits of McTimoney chiropractic.

VPS comments

Although encouraging, this treatment is probably suitable for a select group of patients with vulvodynia where there is perhaps a history of a pelvic injury, e.g. a fall. The long term results are not known but it is not unreasonable for women with vulvodynia to explore this treatment. Not all chiropractors will have the experience, expertise or interest in treating this particular problem and we advise you to check with your local McTimoney chiropractor prior to consultation. For more information about McTimoney chiropractic, including locating a chiropractor in your area, visit the MCA website at