What is Osteopathy?
Osteopathy, a holistic approach to healthcare, has been gaining recognition and popularity for its unique philosophy and diverse treatment methods. Osteopathy, founded by Dr. Andrew Taylor Still in the late 19th century, is a healthcare discipline rooted in four fundamental tenets:
- The Body is a Unit: Osteopathy perceives the body as an integrated whole, with all systems interconnected. Dysfunction in one area can affect the entire body.
- The Body is Self-Healing: Osteopaths believe in the body’s intrinsic capacity for self-regulation and healing. Their role is to facilitate and support this natural process.
- Structure and Function are Interrelated: Osteopathic treatment is centred around restoring proper structural alignment, recognising that the relationship between structure and function profoundly influences health.
- Rational Treatment: Osteopaths employ a patient-centred, evidence-based approach to treatment, customising interventions to the unique needs and circumstances of each individual.
Osteopaths assess, analyse, diagnose, treat, and implement rehabilitation and prevention strategies to manage musculoskeletal disorders. Osteopathy considers and uses advanced medical testing procedures to understand the root cause of the disorder and treat patients with manual techniques. Osteopathy believes that every individual is unique even though they come to a practitioner with the same problem. Osteopaths not only look at the symptomatic area but also consider psychological and social factors contributing to the disorders. After identifying the root cause of the situation, osteopaths can treat it using different modalities. For example, soft tissue mobilisation, lymphatic drainage, myofascial release, joint articulation, harmonic articulation, High-velocity low amplitude (HVLA) manipulation, joint manipulation, muscle energy techniques (MET), and many more. It can help relieve muscle tension and enhance the circulation and nerve supply to tissue. As no two persons are alike, no two osteopaths also employ the same techniques. Our team uses the techniques mentioned above along with yoga, meditation, and hypnotherapy, to achieve quick outcomes and restore health status to improve the quality of life.
Osteopathy treatment modalities
Osteopathy encompasses various specialised branches, each dedicated to addressing specific aspects of health and well-being:
Cranial Osteopathy: Cranial Osteopathy is a distinctive facet of osteopathy near Ashgrove that focuses on the cranial rhythmic impulse (CRI). Practitioners trained in cranial techniques utilise gentle touch to detect and address restrictions in the cranial bones’ movement and their effects on the entire body. This subtle approach has been known to alleviate headaches, improve sleep quality, and enhance overall well-being.
Visceral Osteopathy: Visceral Osteopathy is concerned with the organs and their surrounding connective tissues. Osteopaths specialising in visceral techniques employ gentle manual manipulation to optimise organ mobility, blood flow, and function. By releasing restrictions in these areas, this approach can improve digestion, reduce discomfort, and have many more benefits that enhance overall organ health.
Cranial Nerve Manipulation: This specialised technique focuses on the manipulation of cranial nerves to address various neurological and sensory issues, potentially offering relief for conditions like migraines and chronic pain.
Peripheral Nerve Manipulation: Peripheral Nerve Manipulation involves techniques to release tension and promote optimal function in peripheral nerves, offering potential benefits for conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome and sciatica.
Vascular Manipulation: Vascular Manipulation techniques aim to optimise blood flow and circulation throughout the body, potentially benefiting cardiovascular health and aiding in the resolution of vascular-related issues.
Urogenital Manipulation: This branch of osteopathy near Ashgrove addresses the musculoskeletal and connective tissue aspects of the urogenital system, potentially aiding in the management of urinary and reproductive health issues.
Vestibular Rehabilitation: Osteopaths play a crucial role in Vestibular Rehabilitation by addressing musculoskeletal imbalances and promoting proper blood flow to the inner ear. This can significantly reduce symptoms of dizziness, vertigo, and imbalance, greatly improving the patient’s quality of life.
Other treatment modalities involve :-
The Osteopathic Approach: Assessment and Diagnosis
Osteopathic assessment methods are thorough and comprehensive, ensuring a complete understanding of the patient’s health and well-being:
Patient History: A comprehensive review of the patient’s medical history, lifestyle, and current concerns provides essential insights into the root causes of their condition.
Physical Examination: Osteopaths perform hands-on assessments to evaluate the musculoskeletal system’s alignment, range of motion, areas of tension or dysfunction, and orthopedic testing.
Palpation: Osteopaths employ palpation to identify restrictions, areas of tenderness, and abnormalities in tissues and structures.
Specialised Tests: Depending on the patient’s condition, osteopaths may conduct specific tests to gain deeper insights into underlying issues, facilitating accurate diagnosis and treatment planning.
- Diagnostic Imaging: Osteopaths may utilise X-rays, MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging), CT (Computed Tomography) scans, or ultrasound to visualise the internal structures of the body, such as bones, joints, muscles, and organs. These images can help confirm or rule out specific conditions and guide treatment planning.
- Electromyography (EMG): EMG measures the electrical activity of muscles and nerves. It can help identify muscle imbalances, nerve compression, or other neuromuscular issues that may contribute to a patient’s symptoms.
- Computerised Gait Analysis: This technology assesses a patient’s walking and running patterns using specialised sensors and software. It can reveal abnormalities in gait mechanics that might be contributing to musculoskeletal problems.
- Thermography: Infrared thermography can detect variations in skin temperature, which can be indicative of inflammation, nerve dysfunction, or circulatory issues. It can provide additional information to aid in diagnosis.
- Pressure Mapping: Pressure sensors embedded in a mat or chair can assess the distribution of pressure on a patient’s body when sitting or standing. This can be valuable for identifying postural issues and pressure-related problems.
- DEXA Scan: Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) measures bone density and can help diagnose conditions like osteoporosis or assess the risk of fractures.
- Laboratory Tests: Although osteopaths do not typically order laboratory tests themselves, they may refer patients for blood tests, urinalysis, or other diagnostic tests to rule out systemic issues or monitor specific health markers.
- Vestibular testing goggles: These are specialised eyewear used in vestibular testing. They feature lenses that block external visual input, allowing a tester to observe and record a patient’s eye movements during tasks like the caloric test or evaluation of nystagmus. These goggles help diagnose balance and inner ear disorders.
Osteopathic Treatment Methods
Osteopathic treatment encompasses a wide range of techniques designed to restore balance and function:
- Soft Tissue Manipulation: A variety of soft tissue mobilisation techniques are unique to osteopathy. Osteopaths employ hands-on techniques to manipulate and mobilise muscles, fascia, and connective tissues. Our team of osteopaths uses those methods in combination with other techniques such as acupressure, trigger-point therapy, and many more. These techniques can help to manage sports-related injuries, back pain, chronic overuse injuries, loss of range due to postural compensation, and many other musculoskeletal conditions and alleviate pain, reduce muscle tension, and improve range of motion.
- Joint Mobilisation: Osteopaths use gentle and controlled movements to restore proper joint function. This is particularly beneficial for conditions such as arthritis or joint stiffness.
- Muscle Energy Techniques (METs): METs involve the patient actively contracting specific muscles while the osteopath provides resistance. This technique can improve joint mobility and muscle balance.
- Manipulation:These are quick joint release techniques. During the application of these techniques, the patient may hear a “popping sound.” These are effectively used to improve the range of motion and reduce pain. Our practitioners are well-trained and have long experience using these techniques, and they can work with you so the application will make painless and bring about positive changes.
- Myofascial Release: It is a gentle massage mainly to release tense or tight areas of joints, muscles, or ligaments. It is helpful for the acute type of pains and also for chronic or long-standing pains associated with tight muscles or joints.Osteopaths apply sustained pressure to release fascial restrictions, promoting improved blood flow and tissue health.
- High-Velocity Low-Amplitude (HVLA) Thrust Techniques: HVLA techniques involve quick and precise movements to realign joints and alleviate pain, commonly associated with chiropractic adjustments.
- Counterstrain Technique: This is also known as “positional release.” In this technique, joints, ligaments, muscles, or tendons are brought into the position of comfort by manipulating passively and then held in that position for a due period of time to release spasms and pain.This technique involves identifying tender points and positioning the patient in a way that relieves tension, promoting relaxation and pain relief.
- Osteopathy in the cranial field:During severe jerk to the head (whiplash injury), either during an accident or a fall, the movement can cause certain injuries and lead to headaches, jaw problems, tinnitus, and neuralgias or nerve pain. Restoring normalcy is done by certain gentle techniques applied to the structures around the sacrum, head, face, and jaw which has a profound effect on the body.
- Functional technique: It involves re-educating the central nervous system. As a result, muscles and ligaments are reset to a normal level of functioning. It involves gentle techniques useful in both acute and chronic conditions. It is a hands-on approach that involves precise movements and stretches to improve joint mobility and alleviate musculoskeletal issues, promoting the body’s natural healing and function. These techniques have very promising results in reducing stiffness around the spine and joints, thus being very effective in acute and chronic pains. These techniques, in some way, can provide complete and permanent solution to recurring pain conditions.
- Exercise Prescription: Osteopaths design personalised exercise programs to enhance strength, flexibility, and posture. These exercises complement the overall treatment plan, supporting the patient’s long-term well-being.
- Articulation:This technique is helpful for mobilising stiff joints and chronic areas of stiffness and improves blood circulation. These are specific repetitive gentle techniques. Various articulation techniques can be used to enhance the range of motion of joints.
- Lifestyle and Nutritional Guidance: Osteopaths often provide recommendations related to diet, exercise, and stress management, empowering patients to make positive lifestyle changes that promote health and healing.
- Muscle energy techniques:This is so named because this technique uses the coupling of our gentle techniques and the patient’s muscle strength. The patient will control the amount of force used. These are techniques aimed at realigning and restoring the balance of the body. These techniques are also helpful in mobilising joints, restoring a range of motion, reducing muscle tightness, and strengthening the muscles.
- And many more…
Osteopaths facilitate the healing of various conditions by applying osteopathic techniques along with some other techniques. Treatment modality differs from patient to patient as well as from condition to condition and duration of the progress of success. Unique osteopathic manipulative techniques are chosen to bring about healing from the condition wholly and gently. Many times osteopaths change the sequence of techniques depending on patient feedback, preference of choice, and tissue response to the treatment. As we encounter a variety of patients ranging from elite athletes to people with a sedentary lifestyle, various age groups from babies to geriatric age groups, and pregnant ladies, we need to approach quite differently to various types of patients. Thus, some patients need a gentler approach, whereas others need another approach, like a firm treatment. Firm treatment means more deep soft tissue mobilisation and joint manipulation. Feel free to discuss; with your feedback and experience with osteopathy management techniques, we can design the best approach tailored for you.
Book an appointment or contact us to discover how our Doctors of Osteopathic medicine can help improve your health with a wholistic approach.