Osteopathy was devised by an American doctor, Andrew Taylor Still, in 1874 and is now an established system of diagnosis and treatment that emphasises the importance of maintaining harmonious relationships between the body’s muscles, bones and joints.
According to Still, the pressure of maladjusted bones, especially the vertebrae of the spinal column, causes the obstruction of arteries or nerves. This, in turn, causes disease. Osteopaths take the view that if the body can be manipulated to correct these abnormalities, pain and disease can be eliminated.
Osteopaths focus on the musculoskeletal system, (especially the spine), working with their hands and using a wide variety of treatment techniques. These may include soft tissue techniques, rhythmic passive joint mobilisation, or high velocity thrust techniques designed to improve mobility and the range of movement in a joint.
Gentle release techniques are widely used, particularly when treating children or elderly patients. These forms of manipulation are intended to help the body to begin functioning normally and efficiently.
At the first visit to an osteopath a full case history is taken and the client is examined. Clients are normally asked to remove outer layers of clothing and perform a simple series of movements such as bending forwards and backwards.
The osteopath then uses a highly developed sense of touch, called palpation, to identify points of weakness or excessive strain in the body. The practitioner may also require additional investigations such as x-rays or blood tests to allow for a full diagnosis and the creation of a suitable treatment plan.
Back, shoulder and neck pain are the most common problems treated by osteopaths. But osteopathy can also help with asthma, constipation, RSI, glue ear, arthritis, sports injuries, pain and posture changes during pregnancy, and can even be used for babies with colic or sleeplessness.
The key benefits of osteopathy are pain relief and improved mobility. The key benefits of osteopathy are pain relief and improved mobility
Osteopathy should be avoided by anyone suffering from severe osteoporosis, joint inflammation, bone infections, tumours, circulatory problems or a recent fracture. Severe manipulation should not be used if you have a prolapsed (slipped) disc.
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