Osteopathy – it’s about more than just bad backs, you know

1While many people think of osteopaths as back specialists, osteopathy treatments can be used to address a wide variety of conditions and health problems without the need for drugs or surgery. From sports injuries to digestive problems and much more in between, many people of all ages report finding osteopathy beneficial.

Osteopaths ensure that the musculoskeletal framework of the body is physically comfortable and balanced. They take a holistic approach to healthcare in the belief that the whole body will work well if it is in good structural balance. With their detailed knowledge of anatomy and physiology and a highly developed sense of touch, osteopaths can detect and release areas of tension or structural imbalance, treating problems with muscles, ligaments, nerves and joints.

Osteopaths use a wide range of gentle, manual techniques, including massage, cranial techniques (sometimes referred to as cranial osteopathy) and joint mobilisation. Osteopathy treatments are always tailored to the individual, taking into account a patient’s medical history. It’s a safe therapy for people of any age from newborn babies to the elderly.

5 surprising conditions osteopathy can be used to treat:

Headaches

Taking a patient’s medical history will give an osteopath clues as to the cause of headaches. If an osteopath is certain that the headaches have a musculoskeletal cause, treatment may involve techniques such as manipulation of the neck and upper spine joints, gentle soft tissue massage, lymphatic drainage and some stretching exercises.

Digestive problems

Problems with the digestive system can cause a whole range of symptoms: constipation, diarrhoea, nausea, acid reflux, cramps, bloating, gas, hiatus hernia, fatigue, sleep disturbances and gallbladder troubles. Indeed, some problems relating to the digestive tract can manifest themselves as pain elsewhere in the body. Osteopathy treatment can help to improve spinal mobility, boosting nerve and blood supply to the gastro-intestinal tract and encouraging better gut health.

Neuralgia

Some patients find that their neuralgic symptoms improve greatly following osteopathy treatment. Osteopaths use a range of gentle techniques, to take pressure off painful compressed or trapped nerves, including gentle manipulations to reduce the tension in muscles and joints.

Muscle spasms

Painful muscles spasms are the result of uncontrolled nerve impulses stimulating muscles to contract and are often a response to a perceived problem in the body. A muscle spasm can seriously affect mobility, and is often described by sufferers as a feeling that part of the body has ‘seized up’. Osteopathy treatment can help to mobilise structures and balance body mechanics, freeing up the structures that are causing the symptoms.

Tennis elbow & golfer’s elbow

Firstly, the difference between these two conditions: tennis elbow causes pain and tenderness around the outside of the elbow joint, whereas golfer’s elbow causes pain around the inner side of the joint. Both result from repetitive overuse or wear and tear from any hobby, sport or activity, not just tennis or golf as the name would suggest. Most cases ease naturally over time, but some people find osteopathy treatments helpful. Osteopaths use massage and manipulation techniques to gently manipulate the elbow, wrist, neck and upper back joints to bring relief.

Osteopathy can also help pregnant women who experience aches and pains as their bodies change. Read our blog post about how osteopathy can help mums-to-be.

A more natural treatment for hay fever

hayfeverHay fever affects one in five people in the UK. Of these hay fever sufferers 95% are allergic to grass pollen. As we enter the peak grass pollen season from June to August, that means weeks of misery for a lot of people.

Hay fever, otherwise known as allergic rhinitis, is the body’s reaction to a type of pollen – usually tree pollen, grass pollen or weed pollen – recognised by the immune system as a health hazard. In response cells in the body produce the chemical histamine and it is this that triggers allergic symptoms that include a runny nose, sneezing, and itchy eyes and throat. The allergic reaction in hay fever sufferers can affect sleep and cause fatigue, and have an impact on concentration levels too.

Over the counter remedies for hay fever include antihistamine tablets and eye drops. But there is a more natural approach to treating hay fever.

There is some evidence that homeopathy helps in the treatment of hay fever. Based on the ‘like cures like’ principle, homeopathy recognises that a substance that produces certain symptoms when taken in large doses can actually treat those very symptoms when given in smaller amounts, administered in a homeopathic potency.

So homeopathic remedies for hay fever could include allium cepa, ambrosia, euphrasia and wyethia, administered in tablet form or as nasal sprays. Homeopaths treat their patients as individuals and will take time to diagnose the type of pollen affecting someone with hay fever. They will spend time asking questions about a patient’s symptoms and their severity, plus their medical history, before offering a treatment tailored to the individual.

Homeopathy is not a short term treatment for hay fever. It’s a therapy that shows greater results over time and as such a short course of homeopathic therapy at the start of the hay fever season is advisable.

Find out more about homeopathy treatments at Good Health Centre.

There are lots of more practical things you can do to lessen your hay fever symptoms – the Allergy UK website has some useful advice.