The basic principal of Osteopathy/Osteomyology is to restore the normal
healthy function of a traumatized area.
Massage, articulation and stretch to restore mobility, re-align posture and enhance well-being. Treatment sometimes involves manipulation, recommendation of exercises, ergonomics and lifestyle advice.
Main Uses of Osteopathy
Osteopaths provide over 7 million consultations a year for musculo-skeletal problems. Osteopathy offers treatments for the whole body including arthritic conditions, minor strains and sprains, postural and chronic problems. Some people come with aches and pains while others come with more severe and acutely painful conditions.
Frequently treated conditions include:
- Back and neck pain
- Joint ache such as arthritis
- Sciatica, minor sports injuries and repetitive strain injuries
- Headaches arising from the neck (cervicogenic)
- Digestion problems
Osteopathy was developed by Dr Andrew Taylor Still, an army doctor in the American Civil War, who devised a system to stimulate the body’s self-healing powers. It is one of the most respected and most widely used complimentary therapies. In the US, osteopaths have been licensed as doctors since 1972; in the UK, the Osteopathy Act of 1993 granted the official recognition.
Osteopaths believe that the musculo-skeletal system – bones, joints, muscles, ligaments and connective tissue – plays a vital part in maintaining health. Any disturbance of this system not only causes pain locally but can adversely affect the vital organs, and the respiratory, circulatory, nervous and digestive systems. Stress, injury or poor posture can all damage the musculo-skeletal system.
Does Osteopathy work?
There has been considerable research into Osteopathy, and a research body called NICOR is providing further research on an annual basis. Some GP’s are quite willing to recommend osteopathic treatment as it provides a similar service to physiotherapy, the main difference is that osteopaths use palpation (the sense of touch) as a major technique for both treatment and diagnosis. Physiotherapy often involves more exercise routines and use of devices such as ultrasound and tens machines.
Consulting a Practitioner
An osteopath will ask about symptoms, medical history, past injuries, lifestyle, work, and emotional health. Osteopaths examine the body framework (be prepared to undress to your underwear) and standard medical tests may be carried out, to assess breathing, heart rate etc. On each consultation patients have a thorough structural assessment. Treatment may then include soft tissue massage, joint stretches and articulation and in some cases joint manipulation. These techniques help to correctly align the body, release tight muscles, improve blood flow, maintain flexibility and improve posture and strength. Occasionally more vigorous manipulation is called for (but only with patient consent), including an abrupt high-velocity thrust that, although painless, can cause the joint to ‘click’. Manipulation is not usually painful, although some soreness or stiffness is common for a day or two following treatment. Sessions are from half hour to 1 hour.
Do not have osteopathy if you have bone cancer or any other bone or joint infection. Osteopaths are well trained to spot contra-indications to treatment and will advise you to consult a medical specialist if necessary. For badly prolapsed discs or if pregnant only gentle osteopathic techniques should be used.
Cranial osteopathy is a branch of osteopathy. It is most commonly associated with treatment of babies and children, although it is in fact used for people of all ages. Practitioners are specifically trained to use cranial techniques.
Whitethorn Fields Mediclinic