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Osteopathy

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What is Osteopathy?

 
Osteopathy is as a wholistic manual therapy, based on biomechanical principles, which seeks to treat underlying causes and not just symptoms. Osteopathy treats musculo-skeletal problems and other body disorders, emphasising the relationships between body structure and function and the ability of the body to heal itself.
 

How Does Osteopathy Work?

 
The Osteopath will use a highly developed sense of touch, called palpation, to identify any points of weakness or excessive strain throughout the body. Osteopathic treatments are tailored to the requirements of the individual patient and techniques are selected which are appropriate to the patient's needs. For some acute pain, one to two treatments may be all that is necessary. Chronic conditions may need ongoing maintenance, averaging six to eight sessions.

 
Osteopaths use a broad range of manual treatment techniques which are tailored to the patient, including:
 
  • Soft tissue techniques that apply rhythmic stretching, pressure and traction to the muscles and connective tissue around the spine to help with suppleness and motion
  • Release techniques that apply sustained pressure to tight muscles, ligaments and tendons to relieve pain and restore motion
  • Muscle energy techniques where the patient stretches and relaxes muscles against a counterforce applied by the osteopath
  • Movements to stretch connective tissue around a restricted joint and improve range-of-motion
  • Joint mobilization using slow movements within or at the limit of the joint’s range-of-motion
  • Manipulation is sometimes used by Osteopaths. Manipulations are done using minimum force
  • Counterstrain techniques in which the patient is moved away from the restricted position toward one of greater comfort
  • "Osteopathy in the Cranial field" - a gentle release technique suited to use with young children or the physically frail.

For new patients an Osteopath will take a full case history as well as conducting an examination. This generally involves removing some clothing and doing a simple series of movements. Depending on the acuteness of the condition or pain, one to two treatments may be all that is necessary, though chronic conditions may require more treatment sessions.

How Can Osteopathy Help Back Pain?

Once the relevant areas of weakness, strain or impaired function leading to the back pain have been identified, an Osteopath works to relieve the pain generally by:

  • Muscle spasm relaxation
  • Stretching the muscles and supporting tissue of the back
  • Restoring normal motion to the vertebrae of the back
  • Promoting free movement of the musculo-skeletal system
  • Improving blood flow and drainage.
An Osteopath may also advise a patient on ways of avoiding and relieving back pain, including:
  • Proper posture
  • Stretching & excercise
  • Stress management
  • Diet
  • Lifting techniques
  • Workplace ergonomics

References and Terms & Conditions

 

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