What is Osteopathy?

Osteopathy ...

  1. is an approach to healthcare that emphasizes the significance of the musculoskeletal system in health and disease.
  2. is drug-free and non-invasive.
  3. provides relief from pain and disability.
  4. is all about bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles and nerves, and how these relate to each other.
  5. is a specialised system of physical examination, treatment and management developed over the last 130 years.

Osteopaths ...

  1. are expert at finding the causes of physical problems and treating them.
  2. are skilled in getting you better you quickly and effectively.
  3. are hands-on.
  4. have completed a thorough and detailed programme of medical training that includes much of what a doctor has to learn, and use many of the same diagnostic procedures used in conventional medical assessment and diagnosis.
  5. must be registered with the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC) and undergo 30 hrs of continuous professional development (CPD) annually.

Osteopaths are mainly concerned with the structure of the body and how it functions. For the vast majority of physical problems, osteopathy is a very effective form of treatment that affords relief from pain, stiffness and disability.

Osteopathy is different from conventional medical treatments because osteopaths believe that each patient’s history of injuries, accidents and illnesses is written into his or her body’s structure. The balanced functioning of our bodies is essential to good health. Any change in the way one part of the body works may affect the nerve supply and flow of blood to other parts of the body. As well as the muscles and joints, the internal organs may be affected.

Osteopaths understand that as we go through life, our bodies are susceptible to injuries and traumas. Whenever an injury occurs, the body does its best to heal itself, but if unable to do so fully, it compensates for the rest by adjusting the alignment of joints and/or posture. Gradually, such injuries accumulate until the body is unable to compensate any further. This is when symptoms such as pain and stiffness develop.

As an osteopath, I have a highly developed sense of touch that allows me to ‘palpate’ or feel the patient's "living anatomy" (the quality of the tissues and the alignment of the joints). I also use various tests, including orthopaedic tests, to assess the problem. I treat the body, rather than the condition. Therefore, two people who experience similar symptoms will receive different treatment if the cause of their respective problems is not the same. I provide treatment to improve the mechanics of the body so that it can heal itself effectively. I apply a precise amount of force, which can be very gentle, in order to increase movement of the joints and eliminate strain within the tissues. This helps to improve the alignment of the affected areas and promotes the return of normal function.

Though they are often associated with the treatment of back problems, osteopaths have studied all the joints of the body and therefore are able to treat any part of the musculoskeletal system. By improving the mechanics of the body, osteopathic treatment also has a beneficial effect on the blood supply, nerve supply and internal organs.

Osteopaths take a holistic approach to diagnosis and treatment, which is particularly valuable for the patient. As part of this approach, osteopathic treatment may include recommendations of changes in posture, movement and habits, or some exercises to prevent the recurrence of a particular problem. I aim to relieve each patient’s immediate symptoms and to improve the underlying health of their body’s tissues as far as possible, so that those symptoms do not recur.