How does Osteopathy work?

Osteopaths look at the body as a whole unit, when they treat you and try to find out where there are problems in your frame – your muscles, joints and skeleton. For example, an imbalance in the pelvis following a fall might cause lower back pain. Also stiffness in the shoulders and ribs from poor posture or injury could make breathing difficult.

Tension and inflammation in the spine can affect the whole nervous system. Osteopaths will often focus on posture and flexibility of the spine to overcome such problems. If the whole body framework of muscles, joints and bones is aligned and in full working order then the tissues of the body which includes the nerves and brain will not be under undue pressure. The digestive, circulation, lymph and other systems too will benefit.

What happens during a treatment?

At your first osteopathy session, the osteopath will take a detailed case history of your symptoms, your medical history, and even lifestyle. Only then will they begin to look at your posture, mobility of joints. You might also have your blood pressure taken and reflexes tested depending on your symptoms.

Once the osteopath has begun to build up an overall picture of you personally, they will then begin to look at specific areas of the spine and neck and other joints for particular problems. In particular an osteopath will seek out ‘misaligned’ joints, points of inflammation that may be causing painful pressure on nerves and general stiffness and immobility.

Usually several sessions are required to overcome a problem and as with most forms of medicine it helps to alleviate symptoms but is not necessarily a cure. However, an osteopath will show you how to achieve a better posture, change aspects of your lifestyle, and aid in educating the patient with various simple exercises that can be done at home or even at work which will help the healing process.

The overall aim is often to prevent the problem coming back.

What problems can Osteopathy help?

  • Asthma and breathing problems

  • Back and neck pain

  • Back pain in pregnancy

  • Digestive disorders

  • Foot, calf and knee pain

  • Frozen or stiff shoulders

  • Headache and migraine

  • Hip and thigh problems

  • Insomnia

  • Joint pain, such as arthritis

  • Postural problems

  • Repetitive strain injuries

  • Slipped discs

  • Tennis elbow

  • Nerve entrapment

How Does Osteopathy differ from Chiropractic, Physiotherapy and Massage?

Osteopathy does not believe in using aggressive manual manipulation to bones, joints or tissues. They predominantly use their hands to help restore lost health. Other modalities are used at a minimum. The Osteopath reasons why muscles get tight and sore, and then works to correct the underlying structural imbalances causing the problem.

However, many do support the use of massage and feel it is useful in adjunct to Osteopathic treatment when used at the right time and in the correct manner. Osteopaths work diligently to balance the whole human structure using their understanding of applied anatomy, biomechanics and physiology, which is unique to Osteopathy.

Is Osteopathy Opposed to Drugs and Surgery?

Osteopaths recognize that there are certain times and situations, particularly in emergency and trauma settings, where it is absolutely necessary to use medicine or have surgery. The goal is to minimize the use of drugs and surgery.

The objective is to find the health in the patient instead of focusing on disease, and to improve the quality of life.

History of Osteopathy:

Osteopathy was founded by Andrew Taylor Still, MD, in thought in 1874, and in school in 1892, in the USA. It has since spread throughout the world, taking on a strong drugless manual treatment presence outside the USA. In its ideal form, it is both an art and a science.

The art of Osteopathy is founded on the safe and effective application of the following principles:

A human being acts as a complete dynamic unit of function including the concept and relationship of the body, mind, and spirit.
The body possesses self-regulatory mechanisms, which are protective and self-healing in nature.
Structure and function are interrelated at all levels.
Rational treatment is based on understanding and utilizing these principles