What is Osteopathy?
The osteopathic approach aims to treat the cause rather than the symptoms. Structural relationships within the body play an important role in regards to its function. The osteopath adjusts the framework of the body to improve the ability of the body to heal itself. There are many ways to do this and many styles of osteopathy, like Classical Osteopathy or Cranial Osteopathy. Often the manipulation will involve using gentle pressure to work a bone and its associated ligaments and muscles into a correct position, sensitively integrating it back into the whole system.
For example; imagine the right arm is twisted at the shoulder, common with postural and work-related strains. The blood supply to and from that arm will be impeded, the nerves in that area will be irritated and sensitized, the muscles and ligaments will be imbalanced; some shortened and others stretched. Other areas of the body will have to compensate for the movement imbalance, causing stress to tissues. These compensating area may become symptomatic later, but not be the original strain. Despite all this you may simply feel a pain in your arm and be unaware it is even twisted, why it hurts, and what caused it. Once the arm sits evenly on the shoulder its mechanical function is restored.
In some cases the osteopath is aiming to reduce pain in an area, and may use gentle massage, or pressure to relax and area and calm down the reactivity of the irritated nerves. Acupuncture is very effective in such instances, and has a profound effect on myofascial (muscle and connective tissue) contraction and pain.
What conditions does Osteopathy treat?
Osteopathy is used to treat a wide range of medical conditions, back pain is only one.
- Arthritis / Osteoarthritis
- Low back pain
- Slipped disc
- Postural problems / Scoliosis
- Joint pain and dysfunction; hip, knee, ankle, shoulder, elbow, wrist, pelvis
- Postural problems with pregnancy
- Post-operative rehabilitation
- Repetitive strain (RSI)
- Nerve entrapment / Sciatica
- Muscular tension and pain
- Shin splints
- Sleeping problems and restlessness
Osteopathy treats patients not conditions. Treatment protocols differ for two people with the same condition. Osteopaths refer patients to GP's for Ultrasounds, X-rays ands MRI's when the presence of pathology or serious injury is suspected.
The scope of medical conditions that can be successfully treated by Osteopathy is controversial. There is a distinct lack of evidence for many of Osteopathy's claims. Traditionally, Classical Osteopathy has been used to treat most types of illness and disease. If the patient is unable to be cured, treatment was intended to reduce symptoms and create comfort in the body. Used with Naturopathy it is used to detoxify the body and support the healing process.
Feel free to discuss your condition with us prior to booking a treatment. 01394 386866 All patient information is regarded as confidential.
What Evidence is there that Osteopathy Works?
There is good evidence that Osteopathy is effective for the treatment of low back pain and osteoarthritis. The National Institute for Clinical Evidence (NICE) recommends manual therapy for these conditions.
There is no statistical evidence it can treat conditions such as asthma, colic, IBS, painful periods. However, there is plenty of clinical and anecdotal evidence suggesting it is highly effective.
Is Osteopathy Safe?
All treatment procedures carry some degree of risk/benefit. The Osteopathic profession is regulated by the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC). Visit their website for more information regarding regulation and safety.