While 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.