Osteopathy

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Osteopathy is a primary health care system that is complementary to standard medical care.

Osteopathy begin in 1874 when Dr Andrew Taylor Still, a medical physician, became interested in enhancing nature’s own ability to heal. He discovered and developed ways to manipulate tissue and restore function to dysfunctional tissue in order to recover normal physiology.

The key principle behind osteopathy is that the body contains self-healing mechanisms that can be utilised as part of treatment and is based on all parts of the body functioning together in an integrated manner. If one part of the body is restricted, then the rest of the body must adapt and compensate for this, eventually leading to an imbalance between central and sympathetic nervous systems potentially resulting in inflammation, pain, stiffness and other health conditions.

Osteopaths primarily work through the neurological, muscular and skeletal systems, mostly on muscles and joints, using holistic and patient-centered approaches. They also offer prevention advice such as stretching exercises, lifting techniques, posture, breathing and stress reduction to help individuals to maintain their own health. In addition some lifestyle changes including diet or workplace ergonomics can dramatically improve health and reduce ongoing health costs.

What is it for?

Osteopathy can be used to relieve the symptoms from a wide range of conditions, including:

  • Aches and pains
  • Back pain or ache of a general, acute or chronic nature
  • Neck pain
  • Headache arising from the neck
  • Shoulder and elbow pain
  • Joint pains including hip and knee pain from osteoarthritis in association with other treatment for this condition
  • Arthritic pain
  • Lumbago
  • Sciatica
  • Muscle spasms
  • Sports injuries and tensions

Osteopaths treat the person rather than specific conditions – for example, an injury to your knee might also affect the foot, hip and spine.

Who is it for?

Osteopathy is suitable for almost anyone. Patients may be referred by a doctor or can choose to see an Osteopath independently.

What happens in a treatment?

Osteopathic diagnosis includes listening to your medical history, your current general health, observation of posture, movements and examination of muscles and joints. Physical, psychological and social factors are considered in the diagnosis. For examination you may be asked to undress to your underwear as this allows the osteopath to examine you properly, so bring some sports shorts if you feel uncomfortable .

Osteopathic treatment includes a wide range of gentle, non invasive manual techniques applied therapeutically such as:

  • Deep massage
  • Joint articulation
  • Joint and vertebral manipulation
  • Muscle energy techniques
  • Visceral techniques
  • Functional/Positional release techniques
  • Strain counter-strain techniques

Osteopaths mostly work on the muscles and the joints of the body using manual hands on treatment aiming to positively affect the nervous, lymphatic and circulatory systems.

In the United Kingdom, Osteopathy is a statutorily regulated profession. In 1993 the Osteopaths Act was passed by Parliament.

Please note: In cases of injury or accident it is advisable to seek advice from your GP in the first instance.

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