WHAT IS OSTEOPATHY?
An Osteopath examines the body’s different structures, such as the skeleton, joints, muscles, fascia, nerves, blood circulation and the lymphatic system, to look for imbalances and strains, which can affect the body’s inner healing capacity. These imbalances can occur from joints affecting nerves, which disturbs the natural and healthy nerve flow to organs, muscles and other tissues. Other causes can be strains within body tissues, which can cause imbalances and thereby affect the body’s function and inner health.
Osteopathy’s main aim is to restore the body’s balance, by correcting these imbalances and strains, and in this way promote healthy nerve, blood and lymphatic function. This helps the body’s organs, muscles, joints and tissues to have more health, helping the body to heal itself.
Osteopathy can be used alone or as a complement to other conventional and alternative medical therapies.
The National Institutes of Clinical Excellence advises that GPs can safely refer patients to an osteopath for treatment.
AN HOLISTIC TREATMENT SYSTEM
Osteopathy looks to the whole person, so takes into account diet and daily habits, the body’s ability to move in a balanced way, our inner stress levels and we are feeling emotionally, as all of this will affect our physical health and wellbeing.
WHEN DID OSTEOPATHY BEGIN?
Osteopathy began in the 1870’s in America by a doctor, Dr Andrew Taylor Still. He lost three of his children to spinal meningitis, and this caused him to be disillusioned with conventional medicine. He started to question how the body’s immune system and inner health could be improved by using natural methods. He studied the body’s different structures and function, and discovered that if the lymphatic system, nerve flow and blood circulation was disturbed due to imbalances and strains within the body, the person’s health deteriorated. When he corrected these imbalances his patient’s health improved. A positive side-effect was that aches and pains from joints, neck and back disappeared, due to improved nerve function and better balance within the joints and muscles.
WHAT HAPPENS IN A CONSULTATION?
Osteopaths are highly skilled in examining and diagnosing the body’s structure, function, movement ability, health and balance.
First, your osteopath conducts a full case history, where you will be asked questions about your symptoms, medical history, diet, exercise habits, emotional balance, stress levels and much more.
A thorough examination follows and the osteopath will check your blood circulation, lymphatic and neurological system, as well as how your spine and joints move. The Osteopath will assess if there are any strains, weaknesses or inflammations within your joints, muscles, ligaments, as well as within other body tissues. At the end you will be given a diagnosis, and told if osteopathic treatment is suitable. The osteopath may refer you for further tests or different treatment.
WHAT CAN OSTEOPATHY TREAT?
Contrary to popular belief, Osteopaths don’t just treat back pain! Osteopathy is an established system for clinical diagnosis and hands-on treatment and is effective in the treatment for aches and pains in joints, muscles and ligamens, such as back and neck pain, headaches, shoulder, knee and ankle injuries. It can also help with digestion problems, arthritic pain and an inability to relax.
It is suitable for all ages.
The following list complies with current CAP and ASA advertising guidelines.
Some of the conditions which Osteopathy can help relieve include are:
- Back and neck pain
- Shoulder and arm problems
- Pelvis, hip, knee and leg problems
- Sports and other injuries
- Arthritic pain
- Muscular aches, pains and strains
- Aches and pains following accidents and falls
- Postural problems caused by pregnancy, driving or work strain
- Other problems associated with pregnancy e.g. breathlessness, pelvic pain
- Restlessness, poor sleeping and digestive problems in babies
However, patients have found osteopathy helpful for many other conditions. If you want to find out more, any osteopath will be happy to talk to you.