What is osteopathy?
Osteopathy is a physical therapy based on a wholistic approach for the treatment of common muscular, joint and visceral disorders, using an established system of clinical diagnosis and manual treatment. You do not need a referral to see an osteopath, and usually there are no waiting lists. Osteopathy has been endorsed by NICE, the Institute of Clinical Excellency as a therapy, for back pain relief.
Most people associate osteopathy with its effectiveness in the treatment of back pain, but this not all. Osteopaths look at the relationship between the different parts of the body. For example the nervous, vascular and muscular systems are interrelated. The function of these systems affect every cell in the body. To help improve function, the osteopath corrects structural, visceral, and postural imbalances, to assist the body’s self regulatory mechanisms in healing itself, or to suggest further investigations, such as blood tests, X-R or MRI scan.
The most common conditions that benefit from osteopathy are:
Frequently asked questions about Osteopathy
Depending on the area being treated, you may need to undress to your underwear. Here we provide a screen, and a towel if needed.
Osteopathic assessment usually includes a series of standard orthopaedic tests. These are for ascertaining the range of motion of the joints, especially those related to your problem. Deep tendon reflexes are taken when necessary. Postural assessment gives valuable information about your body framework. Here we can find areas affected by injury, disease, overuse and long term misuse of muscles, or congenital conditions such as scoliosis. Palpation is another valuable osteopathic tool. Feeling with the hands gives valuable information about the tissues, the position of the joints, and the likely cause of the problem.
After gathering all the information, a diagnosis can be made, and the findings explained as to what may be causing the pain; for example herniated discs, pulled or strained muscles, short or strained ligaments. It is important to understand why the problem has developed, why it has become chronic, and the necessary steps to follow to correct it, by osteopathic manipulation, exercise, and addressing postural, lifestyle issues that may be affecting the body.
If treatment is not indicated, then with the patient’s consent the osteopath would write to their GP for more information about their health, or suggest further investigations such as blood tests, X-R or MRI scans.
Osteopathy is a manual therapy, and the techniques selected are unique to your problem. The choice could be between standard osteopathic techniques such as the traditional osteopathic manipulation or thrust (click) technique for releasing joint problems. The latter is a swift and painless manipulation, which can be effective in freeing a stuck joint on the spine or any joint in the body. In most cases, it reduces the pain and restriction almost immediately.
There are many manual methods to assist and align the body. Soft tissue manipulation, which is very effective in releasing muscles and ligamentous restrictions, articulation techniques, or other forms of manipulation like neuromuscular techniques, muscle energy techniques, traction, strain-counterstrain and harmonic techniques.
After the treatment, it is possible to advise how many treatments may be needed, as well as their frequency.
Based on experience and feedback from the patient the osteopath can suggest a course of treatments to assist recovery. Depending on the severity of the problem, you may need several treatments. It is important to follow the osteopath’s advice to achieve recovery, and prevent recurrence.
In chronic or recurring cases about four to six treatments might be needed, over a period of six to eight weeks. About 20% of new patients need only one treatment.
Some may experience aggravation of the symptoms, usually for a day. Soreness might be felt around the areas where motion was restricted. In cases of concern, telephone the practice.