What is Osteopathy?


Osteopathy is a well-established system of diagnosis and treatment for a wide range of medical conditions with the main emphasis focused on the structural integrity of the body.

It is based on the principle that an individual’s well-being depends on skeletal, muscular, ligaments, connective tissues and internal organs functioning optimally and simultaneously. Pain and disability result from poor functioning of the body’s structure, including damage caused by disease and trauma.

The unique assessment process, which is tailored to the individuals need, examines the patient from a mechanical, functional and postural standpoint. Along with the understanding of the body’s physiology, osteopaths are able to work with patients as primary care practitioners or in support of other healthcare providers.

What does an osteopath do?
Osteopaths consider each person as an individual. Utilising their knowledge and a highly developed sense of touch, they holistically identify and treat problem areas of the body. Commonly osteopaths are considered to be ‘back specialists.’ This indeed is true but osteopaths are equipped to treat the entire structure of the human body, covering a wide range of ages and presenting conditions.

Treatment techniques consist of gentle stretching, soft-tissue releasing techniques, joint mobilisation and manipulation amongst many others to not only target symptoms of ones complaint but more importantly also treat other dysfunctional areas of the body identified as contributing factors leading to these symptoms.

Osteopaths advise self-maintaining treatments, rehabilitation exercises and recovery programmes after surgery.

Who do osteopaths treat?
Osteopaths treat people of all ages and from all walks of life from office professionals, to pregnant women, to taxi/bus drivers to sports athletes and body-builders.

Patients seek treatment for a wide variety of conditions such as back pain, pregnancy induced postural changes, driving or work related postural problems, arthritic pain and minor sports injuries.

Training
Osteopaths must undergo 4-5 years of rigorous training and registering with the General Osteopathic Council is a fundamental requirement. Training includes the medical sciences of physiology, anatomy, pathology, paediatrics, gynaecology and pharmacology.

The training enables osteopaths to make a diagnosis of the presenting condition and construct an appropriate course of treatment.

The numbers of treatment sessions vary and are dependant on the individuals presenting condition. An acute injury may only require 2 or 3 treatments, whereas a chronic injury may require a minimum of 6 treatments.

 

Sources:
British Osteopathic Association – www.osteopathy.org
General Osteopathic Council – www.osteopathy.org.uk