Osteopathy Guide

Osteopathy is a holistic therapy that has become increasingly popular in the UK due to more people complaining of chronic (last lasting) back pain caused by spending long periods of time sitting at a desk or in a vehicle. Osteopathy uses a number of different techniques in order to manipulate your soft tissue (muscles, tendons and ligaments) in order to provide a diagnosis and treatment for numerous ailments.

Osteopaths see the body as a whole system and osteopathic treatment is known as a holistic therapy as it uses a number of different methods to treat you as an individual and whole person. In this way osteopathic treatment aims to restore the balance between the different mechanisms and systems in your body.

Symptoms That Can Be Treated With Osteopathy Overview

Your GP may suggest that you see an osteopath if you suffer from chronic back pain or have a working environment that encourages bad posture (which could result in pain in the future). Some employers also encourage (or insist on) preventative osteopathic treatment for drivers or people that work at desks for long hours.

Due to the holistic and flexible nature of osteopathy, it can be used to treat a wide range of symptoms including joint pain, muscular pain, arthritis, problems caused by pregnancy or repetitive strain etc. Different osteopaths will include different methods in their treatments so different osteopathy clinics may be more suitable for your particular symptom.

Osteopathic Treatment Methods

Osteopaths use a mixture of massage, joint movement, touch and stretching in order to treat your symptoms. The exact nature of the treatment will be highly personalised and no two people will have exactly the same osteopathic regime. Osteopaths will often ask you to carry out exercises at home between visits and will offer advice on how to alter your posture or change your habits in order to help you reduce your pain. This advice can also act as a preventative if you work in an environment that might encourage symptoms such as chronic back pain. Osteopathy as a preventative measure is often used by people who drive for a living or people who play a lot of sport that acts to wear out the joints or puts a lot of pressure on their back.

A Brief History of Osteopathy

Dr Andrew Taylor Still founded osteopathy in the USA around 1874 although it is thought that the concurrent establishment of bone-setting that was occurring in London around the same time was a large influence. These early “osteopaths” (although the name didn’t come until later) treated all sorts of different illnesses and used spiritualism as well as a number of other alternative treatment methods that were popular at the time (including magnetism). Osteopathy developed when a Scottish doctor met with Dr Still and exchanged the teaching of anatomy with the teaching of osteopathy. This enhanced the practise of osteopathy allowing practitioners to tailor their treatments more to the anatomy and physiology of the human body. Doctors practising osteopathy moved to the UK and set up the British School of Osteopathy in 1915. This has led to the high importance of anatomic teaching that currently lies at the heart of modern osteopathic training. So, it is important to note that osteopathy was developed by medical doctors, illustrating how its methods were developed from scientific and physiological teaching.

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