Osteopathy

Osteopathy is a branch of medicine based on the simple concept that if the structure of the body is in trouble the body itself cannot function properly.

The osteopath is a body mechanic whose aim is to gently restore the patent’s frame to what functions best for them. This usually involves carefully working on structures such as muscles, ligaments, bones and nerves to relive tension and unlock joints.

Restricted joints can not only produce stiffness, pain and arthritic changes locally but also irritate neighbouring structures such as nerves and blood vessels leading to problems in more distant parts of the body. For instance, low back problems can result in anything from sciatica to constipation, and neck and upper back problems can play a part in anything from headaches to pins and needles in the hands.

Why might I go and see an osteopath?

Even though the first thing that may spring to mind is that “osteopaths treat backs” – which they certainly do very well. However, osteopaths also help conditions such as minor sports injuries, circulatory problems, cramp, frozen shoulder, neuralgia, and rheumatic pain to list just a few.

  • MECHANICAL NECK PAIN
  • ACUTE & CHRONIC BACK PAIN
  • SCIATICA ARTHRITIC PAIN
  • HEADACHES ARISING FROM THE NECK
  • JOINT PAINS
  • POSTURAL PROBLEMS

What about treatment?

The techniques that the osteopath uses depend on the condition and the patient. The approach to a 25-year-old rugby player is likely to be very different to that of a 70-year-old arthritic pensioner.

Structural osteopathy treatment involves gentle, manual techniques - easing pain, reducing swelling and improving mobility. Often, this involves manipulation, which can result in an audible 'crack' which is simply the sound of gas bubbles popping in the fluid of the joints.

Cranial osteopathy is a subtle type of osteopathic treatment that encourages the release of stresses and tensions throughout the body, including the head. Cranial treatment is a gentle yet extremely effective approach and may be used in a wide range of conditions. This treatment can be particularly effective in babies and children.

“Spinal manipulation, in the form of osteopathy, followed by a programme of exercise, provides significant relief of symptoms and improvements in general health”

UK BEAM (Back Pain Exercise And Manipulation) trial, Medical Research Council, 2004