SO WHAT IS OSTEOPATHY?
Osteopathy is a system of diagnosis and treatment for a wide range of medical conditions. It works with the structure and function of the body. A guiding principle of osteopathy is that well-being depends on the skeleton, muscles, ligaments and connective tissues functioning smoothly together. To osteopathy practitioners, for your body to work well, your structure must also work well.
Injuries such as a sprained ankle, for example, can lead the whole body to compensate for a limp. It there is any stiffness or restricted mobility in the pelvis, spine, rib cage, shoulders and neck, this will lead to difficulties in compensating for the limp and can result in aches or pain. Thus osteopaths work to restore your body to a state of balance, where possible without the use of drugs or surgery. However it is relevant to notes that osteopaths are also trained to screen for other medical conditions so will tell you if you need to see another health professional such as your doctor or midwife.
Osteopathy uses a variety of physical techniques to treat various conditions. These will include touch, physical manipulation, stretching and massage. These techniques have a variety of effects. For example, they can relieve muscle tension, enhance the blood supply to tissues, increase the mobility of your joints and help your body to heal. Additionally, your osteopath may also provide you with health information, self-management advice and support, and/or exercise therapy, as determined by your individual needs.
WHO AND WHAT DOES OSTEOPATHY TREAT?
This approach is the art and science of manipulative medicine that focuses on the way your muscles, bones and joints interrelate. It utilise a range of techniques that include gentle soft-tissue and joint manipulations, different types of stretching plus gentle and deeper massage approaches. By using individualised combinations of these techniques, osteopaths can successfully help you with a wide range of problems. These will include:
- Arthritic pain
- Circulatory problems
- Digestion problems
- Frozen shoulder/ shoulder and elbow pain/ tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) arising from associated musculoskeletal conditions of the back and neck
- Headache arising from the neck (cervicogenic)
- Joint pains
- Joint pains including hip and knee pain from osteoarthritis as an adjunct to core OA treatments and exercise
- General, acute & chronic low back pain
- Generalised aches and pain including those related to pregnancy
- Migraine prevention
- Minor sports injuries and tensions
- Muscle spasms
- Inability to relax
- Rheumatic pain
- Uncomplicated mechanical neck pain
This is a safe, gentle, and non-manipulative and often used when treating pregnant mums, babies and young children.
For instance, we know that a woman’s body changes a lot during pregnancy. Some of those changes include the softening of ligaments, weight increase and changes to balance and posture. Additionally, these changes can lead to more pressure on joints in various parts of the body, which can include your spine or pelvis. By using a combination of cranial and structural techniques, we may be able to help to relieve symptoms arising from the effects of these stresses and strains that develop as you progress though your pregnancy.
Finally, once you have given birth, these approaches could be used to help soothe and relax your baby. Since baby’s skeleton is softer than an adult’s, cranial osteopathy and other gentle techniques are ideal; most importantly they are gentle and safe.
OSTEOPATHY – PROTECTION OF TITLE
The title ‘osteopath’ is protected by law. It is against the law for anyone to call themselves an osteopath unless they are registered with the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC). Osteopaths have worked hard to protect their patients from unqualified practitioners. The GOsC main duty is to protect the public. It does this by setting and promoting high standards of competency, conduct and safety of individual osteopaths and colleges that teach osteopathy. The GOsC can, and does, prosecute individuals who practise as osteopaths when they are not on the GOsC’s register of osteopaths.