Osteopathy 101: The Definition, Benefits, And Osteopaths

An osteopath helps with conditions affecting the bones, joints, and muscles, such as:

  • Lower back pain
  • Uncomplicated neck pain
  • Shoulder pain
  • Elbow pain

Osteopaths treat with their hands, considering all the body parts, are intrinsically linked and the body has its own healing mechanism.

What is Osteopathy?

The osteopathic approach or osteopathy is a hands-on manual therapy treatment method looking at the way the body will function as a whole rather than viewing its symptoms or parts separately. It is based on the philosophy that the body has an innate ability to heal itself when components are in balance. The osteopathy goal restores proper balance and function, which allows the body to heal through its own natural processes.

Osteopathy works by balancing the nervous, circulatory, and lymphatic systems, enhancing the range of motion, and relieving discomfort or other symptoms. Osteopathy is a safe treatment, although you experience minor side effects, such as:

  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Mild to moderate pain or soreness in the treatment area

These effects develop within a few hours of the session and get better naturally in 1 or 2 days. There are also rare cases like serious complications linked to therapies that involved spinal manipulation, including osteopathy. It also includes tearing an artery wall that leads to stroke, which results in permanent disability or worst death. The situations usually happen after spinal manipulation involves the neck.

The osteopath explains the benefits and potential risks associated with treatment.

What condition does osteopathy treat?

There are common conditions that treat osteopathy, which include:

  • Back and neck pain
  • Sciatica
  • Migraines
  • Colic
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Plantar fasciitis

How does it work?

It works to find and release restrictions or barriers that get in the way of the body’s own healing process. Osteopathy uses a variety of hands-on manual techniques promoting self-healing. Osteopathic treatments involve non-invasive techniques and gentle that require minor to no effort from you, to get the benefits. Specific techniques include:

  • Myofascial release
  • Soft tissue manipulation
  • Visceral manipulation
  • Lymphatic drainage
  • Strain-counterstrain
  • Muscle energy techniques
  • Trigger points
  • Neuromuscular techniques

When not to use osteopathy?

Osteopathic treatment is tailoring the individual patient. It isn’t recommended where there is an increased risk of damage to the bones or spines, joints, nerves, or ligaments. It means people with certain health conditions can’t have osteopathy or have gentler techniques. The conditions may include:

  • Fractures
  • Osteoporosis
  • Infections
  • Acute inflammatory conditions
  • Hemophilia
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Cancer

Osteopathy is also not good or not recommended if you are:

  • Having a radiotherapy
  • Taking warfarin or blood-thinning medicines

You may see a therapist during the pregnancy period. But, ensure you seek advice from a general practitioner or midwife about the symptoms before seeing a therapist. You must ensure you see a therapist who specializes in joint pain or muscle pain during pregnancy. Osteopaths are trained to use clinical judgment, identifying patients for whom osteopathic treatment is inappropriate.