You feel stiffness in your neck, pain when you turn your head one way or the other and have a hard time looking up. You feel a sharp pain in your lower back after you sit for a long time. Furthermore, you have also been experiencing headaches, and can’t seem to find relief from them. If any of these sound familiar, it might be time to visit an osteopath.
What is osteopathy?
Osteopathy is the practice of treating injuries through the use of physical manipulation of a person’s skeletal structure. Osteopaths focus on the musculoskeletal system and believe that all the body systems are interconnected. As such, osteopaths can help with other conditions aside from injuries, such as digestive issues and migraines.
Osteopathy was founded in the late 1800s by Dr. Andrew Taylor Still, an American physician who practised medicine with conventional medicine of his time—bloodletting and mercury ingestion among others – but found little success using these methods. He is considered the ‘father of osteopathy’ because he not only advocated the principles behind the practice but also helped establish it as a regular medical field.
How does osteopathy work?
Osteopathic manipulation works by massaging soft tissues to improve blood flow and ease pain in specific areas of the body. There is also a strong emphasis on working out any tension in the muscles. If you are looking for a clinic, and you live in Brisbane, you should look for a Brisbane Osteopath clinic that will be near you. Finding a specialist is a very important thing, and you should always look at other people’s reviews. While osteopathic manipulation does not follow the general principles of conventional medicine, there are studies out there that show it can help patients who have had no results with other treatments.
Now, here are some reasons you might need to visit an osteopath.
- You have neck pain. People who experience neck pain with whiplash, trauma, arthritis, muscle strain, or athletes who want to prevent future injury to the neck area, often visit osteopaths. Osteopaths often treat people with neck pain by making adjustments with their hands to the bones in the neck. They may also use massage techniques and stretches, as well as work on soft tissues.
- You have back pain. Back pain is one of the most common forms of body pain for people today. Much like neck pain, back problems can be treated through osteopathic manipulation that focuses on the lower part of the spine, the lumbar region, as this area links to legs and feet, which are responsible for providing support to standing up straight. Many treatments vary depending on sources of discomfort; however, some include deep tissue massage, stretch exercises for specific muscles, chiropractic treatment (although many will not advise this due to the conflicting views of osteopaths and chiropractors), and ultrasound therapy.
- You have migraines. Migraines are often treated through conventional medicine, such as medications; however, there is increasing evidence showing that osteopathic treatment can significantly reduce or even prevent migraines in some patients. Osteopaths focus on the muscles around the neck, shoulders, head, and face to provide a full migraine treatment plan.
- You have digestive issues. Many patients who visit an osteopath have ongoing digestive issues (like constipation or diarrhoea) that can significantly affect their daily routines. A combination of physical manipulation and stretching techniques helps alleviate these problems by easing the muscles that run along the digestive tract. Sometimes, additional therapies like massage and stretching may be used to provide even more relief.
- You have any other condition that conventional medicine cannot help. As osteopathy focuses on the musculoskeletal system, it can provide relief for many issues even when conventional medicine does not work. Osteopaths use massage techniques and stretching to ease pain in soft tissues throughout the body, which is especially helpful when other treatments or medications do nothing for you.
- You want to prevent future injuries. Having an osteopath check your posture often provides great indications of where you need to improve—or if there are weak points that could cause problems in the future. Muscle groups that are too tight or too loose may be easily adjusted with just a little physical manipulation before they become bigger problems down the road. Visit an osteopath when you feel the need for a sports tune-up, before you go on long hiking trips, or before any other activity that may put a strain on your body.
How does visiting an osteopath relate to leading a healthy life?
Osteopaths believe the body’s muscles and skeleton work together as a whole unit, which makes it easier for them to find solutions for patients’ problems. This holistic approach often helps alleviate long-term conditions that are hard to treat with medications alone. Visit an osteopath if you are looking for something different from traditional medicine or just seeking a tune-up before world travelling or participating in other physically challenging activities.
Osteopathic manipulation, as well as other techniques and therapies, can benefit practically anyone who has pain in their body. Migraines, digestive problems, injuries from sports or strenuous activities; all of these can be helped by visiting an osteopath. If you feel any of these symptoms, maybe it’s time for a visit.
Ellen Diamond did her degree in psychology at the University of Edinburgh. She has an ongoing interest in mental health and well-being.