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What is Osteopathy?
Osteopathy is a drug-free, non-invasive, manual therapy that focuses on total body health by treating and strengthening the musculo-skeletal framework, which includes the joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments and the spine. Its aim is to positively affect the body’s nervous, circulatory and lymphatic systems. Osteopathy considers the wider impact context of the patient including their medical history, medication interactions, diet, occupational and hobby stressors.
What Happens on the Initial Visit?
A full medical case history will be taken followed by an examination during which you may be asked to perform a few simple movements. Some clothing may need to be removed so that the area can be examined and treated. Based upon the findings of your case history you will asked to perform active movements, for instance you might be asked to bend your knee or hip. Then the osteopath will perform certain passive movements. Active movements tend to implicate muscle pain whereas passive movements tend to implicate connective and ligamentus. Where you might complain of a clicking or snapping hip the osteopath would perform special tests to identify the cause of the pain, perhaps arthritic, labral, musculotendinous and joint. To implicate a labral tear your hip would be placed into extreme flexion and internal rotation.
Is There Any Evidence To Support The Work of Osteopaths?
Osteopathy is a graduate profession regulated by Act of Parliament. This in itself lends osteopaths some credibility. The NHS click link for details on which types of treatments have good evidence. Principally evidence supports osteopathy for “effective treatment for persistent lower back pain.” The National Council for Osteopathic Research NCOR researched cervical and Thoracic spinal manual therapy treatments and produced interesting evidence for the use of manual therapies. Link. Osteopathic education requires students to learn research techniques and approaches to be critical in practice. NCOR published up-to-date research on Low Back Pain. Link
Additionally the osteopath will use their highly developed sense of touch to palpate and assess areas of tenderness, strain, restriction or weakness within your body.
After examination the osteopath will discuss their findings with you and advise whether osteopathic treatment is suitable.
Osteopaths usually start any treatment by releasing and relaxing muscles and stretching stiff joints, using gentle massage techniques, rhythmic joint movements and muscle release techniques. The osteopath may also carry out manipulation using short, quick movements to spinal joints. The treatment may be a bit uncomfortable at times as painful areas are being treated but the osteopath will work within your level of tolerance.