Osteopathy focuses on bones, joints, muscles, soft tissues and internal organs and the link between these structures and the way they function.
- What is osteopathy ?
- Who provides osteopathy ?
- What is the evidence for osteopathy ?
- What can I expect ?
- Where to get osteopathy ?
- More information
What is osteopathy?
Osteopaths consider each person as an individual. Utilising their touch, osteopaths identify problem areas of the body. Using gentle stretching and mobilising techniques as well as manipulating joints, an osteopath works with the body to create the perfect conditions to facilitate the healing process.
Treatment usually consists of a combination of soft-tissue releasing techniques, and some specific adjustments affecting joints and soft-tissues (muscles, tendons and ligaments).
Manipulation, mobilisation and massage are types of manual therapy that can also be provided by chiropractors and physiotherapists. For this reason, people often talk about ‘manual therapy’, irrespective if this is provided by chiropractors, osteopaths or physiotherapists.
Who provides osteopathy?
Osteopathy is provided by osteopaths. Some osteopaths work in the NHS in primary care while others work privately. In the UK, osteopaths have to be registered with the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC). You can find out on the GOsC website if your osteopath is registered: http://www.osteopathy.org.uk/
Manual therapy can also be provided by chiroparctors and physiotherapists.
What is the evidence for osteopathy?
Most research in this area has looked at ‘manual therapy’ irrespective of whether this is provided by chiropractors, osteopaths, physiotherapists or other adequately trained professionals.
There is good evidence that manual therapy, including the osteopathy provided by osteopaths, can be effective for the relief of low back pain that has lasted for a number of weeks. It can be especially effective if combined with some exercises and the general advice to stay active.
What can I expect?
On your first visit, a full medical case history will be taken. An examination will be carried out and you may then be asked to perform a few simple movements so the osteopath can assess the problem.
The osteopath will use his/her highly developed sense of touch called palpation to assess areas of weakness, tenderness, restriction or strain within your body.
The osteopath will make a diagnosis and discuss it with you and if osteopathic treatment is suitable it will be offered to you. Treatment will be aimed at helping to restore normal joint stability and function.
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. Other techniques may also be used depending on your proble...