WHAT IS OSTEOPATHY?
Osteopathy is a form of drug-free, non-invasive, manual medicine that focuses on total body health by treating and strengthening the musculoskeletal framework, which includes the joints, muscles and spine. Osteopathy aims to positively affect the body’s nervous, circulatory and lymphatic systems through the manipulation and massage of the bones, joints and muscles.
What does a treatment involve?
The first visit to an osteopath will run along the same lines as an initial visit to a General Practioner. A complete medical history is documented and questions asked about lifestyle, diet and emotional status are documented as well. The osteopath will want to hear about all of your symptoms, as well as details of any past accidents or traumas even if they may seem unrelated to the patient’s current problem.
The osteopath will then evaluate the patient’s posture and how they are using their body to identify any obvious mobility impairments. Typically, the osteopath with then conduct a series of neurological and orthopaedic tests to eliminate possible underlying pathologies and differentiate the basis of the patient’s complaint(s).
The initial consultation will take around 45 minutes to complete, after which the osteopath will be able to offer a diagnosis and discuss a treatment program. Treatment could include techniques ranging from soft tissue stretching (which increases blood flow and improve flexibility of joints and muscles) to articulation which mobilizes joints by being passively taken through their range of motion.
Because osteopathy emphasizes self-healing, an osteopath may also advise dietary changes, home exercise programs and lifestyle adjustments. All treatment programs are highly individualized and depend exclusively on the patient’s current condition, past history and ability to adapt to change. Most simple problems often require 3-4 treatments.
If the diagnosis is one that requires further investigation or specialist intervention, an osteopath will suggest a referral to an appropriate practitioner. Osteopaths often treat in conjunction with General Practioners, Dentist, Podiatrist and other health care professionals.
WHAT KIND OF AILMENTS CAN BE TREATED OSTEOPATHICALLY?
Osteopaths treat more ailments than you probably think. Many patients present a variety of complaints that range from aches in the head, back, neck and foot to sciatica, shin splints, tennis elbow and repetitive strain injuries. Many other osteopathic patients suffer from asthma, arthritis, digestive problems, carpal tunnel syndrome, whiplash and/or postural problems. Osteopaths also deal regularly with patients who have been injured in the workplace, at home or while playing sports. If you have a general injury, pain or body aches you are a candidate for osteopathic treatment.