Osteopathy is a safe and natural therapy, which focuses on the framework of the body consisting of the bones, ligaments, muscles and connective tissues, which support the ‘soft bits’ inside that keep you alive.
Osteopaths assess the condition of this musculo-skeletal supporting system looking for areas of weakness, imbalance and excessive strain. Any potential ‘weak points’ will determine how well the body functions and they will have an influence on the general health of the whole body.
Osteopaths have become well known for treating people with back and neck problems because they are so good at it, however, many other problems can be treated very successfully with osteopathy. The musculo-skeletal system forms the framework that carries the body’s network of nerves, blood vessels and lymphatics. It also physically supports the internal organs. The health of the musculo-skeletal system therefore has a direct effect on the health of the rest of the body.
Osteopathic treatment aimed at improving the mechanics of the body automatically influences such things as blood and nerve supply as well as activity of the internal organs. It is because of this that osteopathy, as well as treating people with the more obvious headaches, joint problems, sports injuries and postural strains, can also be used in the treatment of adults, children and babies with less obvious conditions such as asthma, digestive disorders, menstrual problems, chronic fatigue syndrome and a number of infant and childhood problems.
Osteopathy is now recognised as an effective treatment for people with a wide range of painful disorders. It helps the person restore a healthy function of the musculo-skeletal system (joints, muscles and ligaments).
The aim is to relieve pain and get you going again as quickly as possible.
Patients of all ages can obtain benefit. The treatment is tailored to suit.
The body is so important to health
The body’s framework is the largest system in the body and consists of the bones, joints, muscles and ligaments. It uses the largest amount of energy in the body. Human life is not represented by the activity of our internal organs. We do not live our lives just to eat, breathe, sleep and breed (at least not most of us!), instead we walk, have fun, drive, build, speak, write. Everything we undertake and achieve is expressed by the activity of our musculo-skeletal system. The other systems in the body are there to nourish, repair, and serve its demands. When a body is healthy, all its body systems work together, automatically changing to adapt to its needs. The osteopath’s job is to diagnose and treat faults that occur in this mechanical system due to injury or stress and to ensure that it functions as efficiently as possible. When our bodies are in harmony and balance, we function with the minimum of wear, stress and energy use, leaving more energy available for living.
The scope of osteopathic treatment
Although backache, which affects 4 people out of 5 at some time in their lives, is the most common complaint treated by Osteopaths, many other conditions affect the body frame. Headaches, neck and shoulder tension can be treated and any joint strain, such as in the hips, knees, ankles, feet, wrists, elbows, shoulders and ribs may also respond.
During pregnancy, when the change in posture is giving rise to pain and discomfort, many women find great relief from osteopathic treatment. This has the added advantage of avoiding drugs.
Sports men and women at all levels can benefit too. Some are anxious to get back to their sport as quickly as possible after injury, others may have a problem which is not giving symptoms but which is preventing them from functioning at their best and they are recording poor performances; they require fine tuning to reach their peak of fitness.
Osteopathy can help people with mechanical problems associated with every age from the trauma of birth to the arthritis of the elderly.
The training of an osteopath
Osteopaths and orthodox medical practitioners have received a similar basic medical education. GCSE and A level science passes to university entrance level are required before acceptance to accredited colleges.
Anatomy, physiology and pathology are all studied and the pre-clinical course, similar to that at orthodox medical schools, teaches students to examine all the systems of the body in order to make a conventional clinical diagnosis. The osteopathic student however receives more advanced training in the detailed examination of the musculo-skeletal system and in the mechanics of the body and he/she develops the manual skills necessary for diagnosis and treatment.