What is Osteopathic Medicine?

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Osteopathy is a healing art & science which involves the diagnosis and treatment of structural and mechanical dysfunctions of the body. Osteopathy recognizes that the body is an intrinsically self-healing, self-regulating and self-correcting organism. But there are times when our bodies need a helping hand... and that's where Osteopathy comes in.

 

Osteopaths have found that physical imbalances and strains can impair the ability of the body to maintain itself in a state of health. Osteopaths do not simply concentrate on treating the problem area, but use manual techniques to balance interrelated systems of the body to improve health and wellbeing.

 

Osteopaths consider that health is not simply the absence of disease or pain. It is a state of balance and harmony between the body, mind and spirit of a person. In health a body should be able to deal with health challenges and restore itself to optimum health afterwards.

Trauma, Circulation & Your Body

Most of us have been exposed to stressful physical or emotional events at some stage in our life, and the effects of these events can accumulate. Gradually our body may find it more and more difficult to cope, and symptoms can start to show. Patients may say that they feel their body has “got stuck”, and is unable to work properly.

The whole body is connected, being largely made of connective tissues (bones, muscles, ligaments, fascia, blood vessels, even internal organs are also specialised connective tissue) and water. The connective tissues are continuous throughout the body, and are maintained in a state of balance rather like a giant mobile. Any area of restriction or tension will change the balance throughout the connective tissue system, ie your whole body. Imagine a tangle in a mobile which causes the whole mobile to hang crooked, or if someone was hanging on to your t shirt, you would feel that your whole shirt was uncomfortable and twisted. So for example, a limp will change the balance of the pelvis, lower back and neck, and this has to be accommodated by the pelvis, spine, rib cage, shoulders and neck. Stiffness or restricted mobility in any of these areas can make it difficult to compensate for the limp, and symptoms such as aching or pain in the low back or neck, or tension headaches may result.

Good circulation is essential for health Another fundamental principle of osteopathy is that mechanical imbalance in the musculoskeletal framework of the back and spine can disturb related circulation or nerves. Osteopaths have found that restricted blood flow into or out of any area of the body, or restricted lymphatic drainage will adversly affect the health and healing ability of that area. For example, in treating areas of inflammation it would be important to restore good circulation to clear the build up of chemicals and waste products and improve the supply of your body's building blocks into the damaged area... and this helps your body to heal naturally.

What happens in your Osteopathy Consultation

Each person is unique and this is important in Osteopathicy because treatments are individualised. For example, loads of people have the same diagnosis of ' sciatica', 'migraine' or 'reflux' but when looked at in detail, their component parts, and therefore their succesful individual treatments are different.

The consultation begins with a detailed case history that involves discussing:

  • Current symptoms and how they have developed, what makes them better or worse
  • Any other symptoms or areas of concern even if apparently unrelated
  • The health review of all major systems of the body (digestion, heart and lungs, etc)
  • Previous accidents or injuries, even if apparently unrelated to the current problem
  • Lifestyle, including diet, exercise, stress.
The case history is followed by a thorough examination. This may involve observing the posture, testing ranges of movement in joints, standard diagnostic procedures and a detailed palpatory examination.

Many patients present with symptoms that they have had for a very long period of time, or that keep recurring. I am interested in understanding why a problem has developed, and treatment is aimed at trying to prevent it from recurring. So an osteopathic diagnosis is in two parts:

  • The cause of the symptoms (eg muscle tensions, ligamentous strain, pinched nerves etc)
  • Why the problem has developed. This may involve linking significant events in the past with current areas of tension or restriction in the body.

Osteopaths like to involve the patient in maintaining their own health, and I like you to understand what is the matter with you or your child and why. The treatment plan will be explained, and may include recommendations for lifestyle changes, diet, nutritional supplements like vitamins, or exercises that may help.

Osteopathic Treatment

Osteopaths are known for their highly developed sense of touch or palpation. We have an extensive knowledge of anatomy and physiology and can detect very subtle physical imbalances in the body. As an osteopath I use a very wide range of techniques throughout the body, many of them very gentle and subtle to ease out areas of tension and restricted mobility, help improve local circulation and help the body to return to a better state of balance and health. I maintain good working relationships with medical practitioners and may refer the patients to GP's, or Consultants. Osteopaths may have different specialities including minor sports injuries, paediatrics, visceral (related to the internal organs of the body) or cranial osteopathy.

Cranial osteopathy is known for its very subtle and gentle techniques applied throughout the body using osteopathic principles. Osteopathy is an art as well as a science and as an experienced osteopath I work intuitively and with empathy. Osteopathy is suitable and safe to treat all the family. Osteopaths are true family practitioners, and I can help people with mechanical problems associated with every age from newborn babies to the elderly.

Osteopath's treatment is geared to support your body’s own self- healing ability and this applies also to helping with specific complaints. Osteopaths are best known for treating the spine, discs, nerves and joints related to the back. Our experience is that patients also report improvements in very many other problem areas too. These are outside the scope of this web-based information, but you are welcome to call me to discuss your particular concerns.

Osteopathy is known to help

    • Aches and pains
    • Arthritic and joint pain
    • Tension headaches
    • Back and neck pain
    • Sciatica
    • Postural adaptation to pregnancy
    • Babies and children
    • Circulatory problems, local and minor
    • Muscle tension
    • Digestion problems
    • Minor sports injuries
    • Prehabilitation & post surgical rehabilitation of sports & other injuries
    • Stress and tension
    • Fatigue
    • much more, call me to discuss whether treatment may help