Osteopathy

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Osteopathy is a form of manual healthcare that focuses on total body health by treating and strengthening the musculoskeletal framework, which includes the joints, muscles and spine. This section provides information about what osteopathy is, including the principles, practices and benefits of this form of healthcare.

Osteopaths use a broad range of gentle hands-on techniques including soft tissue stretching, deep tactile pressure, and mobilisation or manipulation of joints. Read on to find out more about common osteopathic treatments, and what you can expect at an initial appointment. The page Osteopathy, Health and Wellbeing also provides details about what symptoms and conditions osteopathy is best known to relieve.

How Osteopathy Works

Osteopathy aims to positively affect the body's nervous, circulatory and lymphatic systems. A core principle of osteopathy is the idea that the body is an integrated and indivisible whole, and contains self-healing mechanisms that can be drawn on as part of the treatment. Osteopathy maintains that if one part of the body is restricted, then the rest of the body must adapt and compensate for this, eventually leading to inflammation, pain, stiffness and other health conditions. Osteopaths, therefore, do not simply concentrate on treating the problem area, but use manual techniques to balance all the systems of the body for overall health and wellbeing.

Osteopaths use a broad range of gentle hands-on techniques including soft tissue stretching, deep tactile pressure, and mobilisation or manipulation of joints. Osteopaths believe their treatments allow the body to heal itself. Although they use a range of techniques, osteopaths do not use drugs or surgery.

Most people who see an osteopath do so for help with back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain or other problems related to muscles and joints. There is strong evidence that osteopathy is effective for the treatment of persistent lower back pain. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends it as a treatment for this condition. However, there is limited evidence to show that osteopathy is effective as a treatment for health conditions unrelated to the musculoskeletal system 

Pain Management and Pain Relief

OsteopathyOsteopathy is thought to impact an individual’s health and wellbeing, particularly by making an improvement to the mobility and structural stability of the body. According to the British School of Osteopathy , this form of healthcare can help relieve the symptoms of a range of conditions, including:

  • Aches and pains
  • Joint pains including hip and knee pain from osteoarthritis in association with other treatment for this condition
  • Arthritic pain
  • General, acute and chronic backache and back pain
  • Low back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Headache arising from tension in the neck
  • Shoulder and elbow pain
  • Sciatica
  • Muscle spasms
  • Sports injuries and tensions

Early intervention by an osteopath means you can be aware of potential sources of referred pain, and allows you to make changes to your lifestyle now to prevent pain or injury later on. With modern lives becoming increasingly more sedentary, osteopaths can offer preventative care advice such as stretching exercises, lifting techniques, posture, breathing and stress reduction.

Osteopathic treatment is also thought to positively affect the nervous, circulatory and lymphatic systems, to deliver a more balanced body and better health overall. This combined with good dietary and exercise prescription can enhance an individual’s wellbeing and often leads to a positive approach to individual health responsibility.

Treatment

osteopathic medicineAn osteopath aims to restore the normal function and stability of the joints to help the body heal itself. The initial appointment can generally last up to an hour, after which the osteopath will be able to offer a diagnosis and discuss a treatment program. Further treatments last around 30-40 minutes. Your course of treatment will depend on your specific symptoms.

Osteopaths use a variety of hands-on techniques to treat your body. They may also refer you for blood tests or x-rays to confirm findings, or review existing diagnostic results where available.
Some treatment techniques used by osteopaths include:

  • Massage: to release and relax muscles
  • Soft tissue stretching: to increase blood flow and improve flexibility of joints and muscles
  • Articulation: to mobilise joints by moving them through their natural range of motion
  • High-velocity thrusts: which are short, sharp movements to the spine, designed to release structures with a restricted range of movement
  • Muscle energy: to release tightness on the muscles by alternatively being stretched and made to work against resistance

Most osteopathic treatment is gentle and should not cause too much discomfort. If your injuries require hands-on treatment of painful or tender areas, your osteopath should exercise care to make you as comfortable as possible. Some people experience mild soreness for a day or two after treatment, similar to that felt after mild exercise. If this soreness persists or increases significantly, the Australian Osteopathic Association recommends getting in touch with your osteopath to discuss your concerns.

Because osteopathy emphasises self-healing, an osteopath may also advise dietary changes, home exercise programs and lifestyle adjustments. All treatment programs are highly individualised and depend on the patient's current condition, past history, and ability to adapt to change. If you are looking for an Osteopath in the UAE, check out the Osteopathic Health Centre Dubai or optimalTHERAPY. We have also provided you with a full list of Osteopaths

 

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