Myths about Osteopathy

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Too many people think of osteopathy as just “another complementary therapy” when it is clear that osteopathy was born from the practise of medicine. Osteopaths are often (incorrectly) thought of as back specialists or glorified masseurs, when in fact osteopathy can be used to treat a wide range of conditions and use a large number of techniques (including massage). Osteopaths will work on any number of different parts of your body depending on your symptoms. This could include your back, arms and head (and this type of head orientated treatment is sometimes carried out by a specific cranial osteopath).

Cranial Osteopathy Myths

Cranial osteopathy is a branch of osteopathic therapy that focuses on the head and neck. A number of people see it as a “mythical treatment” because they are unaware of the anatomy of the skull. The skull is in fact not a single bone. It is made up of a number of plates called cranial bones and cranial osteopathic treatment is based on the movement of these cranial bones.

Osteopathy and Osteoporosis (or Osteopenia)

One of the myths surrounding osteopathy is whether you should consider it if you have osteoporosis or osteopenia (which is when you have the early signs of osteoporosis). Osteoporosis is a disease that causes the density of your bones to reduce which increases your risk of fractures (breaks) by making your bones more brittle. Obviously if you go to an osteopath they may want to carry out some deep massage or joint movement so they would need to know if you have osteoporosis so that can take precautions. Osteopaths are fully trained in anatomy, physiology and pathology (the science of disease) so they are fully qualified and know how to carry out osteopathic treatment without causing you any risk due to your osteoporosis.

So, if you have osteoporosis or osteopenia then you would still be a suitable candidate for osteopathic treatment. However, you must inform your osteopath about your condition during the first consultation. (They will ask if you have any current medical problems so you will be well prompted!)

Cracking Bones during Osteopathy

A number of people have voiced concerns that osteopathic treatment aims to crack your bones back into place. Osteopathic treatment involves a range of different methods that could range from gentle touch to asking you to carry out stretches. However, each treatment will be tailored specifically to your symptoms and you as a person which means that you may experience more pressure if your treatment requires a more pressured massage and your body is capable of taking the strain. If you tell your osteopath that you are worried then they will talk you through everything before they start your treatment. Most osteopaths will tell you what they are doing and why they are doing it during your treatment and you will always be able to ask them to stop at any time during your visit if you felt uncomfortable.

This myth often gets confounded by the myths surrounding the role of a chiropractor who predominantly treat the spine.

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