Treatments at Osteopathic Health Centre
Osteopathy is the science of human mechanics. An Osteopath uses various manual techniques to diagnose and treat musculoskeletal problems.
Musculoskeletal imbalances often manifest as back pain, neck pain or as pain in other parts of the body. Osteopathic treatment focuses on restoring balance and correcting alignment. Once the balance has been restored, the body begins to heal itself. In this way, Osteopaths facilitate the natural healing process of the body. This is achieved by a combination of techniques such as neuromuscular, fascial, craniosacral, visceral, indirect techniques and direct Osteopathic manipulation.
Once treatment is complete, appropriate exercises can help maintain postural integrity and hopefully reduce the possibility of future episodes of the same condition.
Who would benefit from Osteopathic treatment?
- People suffering from back pain or pain in the neck and shoulders
- People suffering from chronic headaches
- People suffering from work related injuries
- People suffering from sports injuries
- Pregnant women suffering from back pain
- People who are suffering from a whiplash type of accident
- Elderly people with age-related back pain
- Babies and children with sleep disturbance patterns and colic.
What will a first session with the Osteopath involve?
When you visit an Osteopath for the first time, a full medical history will be taken and you will be given an examination.
You will be asked to perform a series of movements so that the mobility of your body can be evaluated. Your Osteopath will assess the range and quality of movement of the joints to note whether the movement is restricted or excessive. He will also examine the condition of the soft tissues, the muscles, ligaments and connective tissue to see whether they are normal or stressed. Any areas of concern will then be identified for treatment. Along with the musculoskeletal assessment, lifestyle factors such as work and sporting activities, sleeping positions, posture and stress levels will also be taken into consideration.
What does Osteopathic treatment involve?
After a full assessment, an Osteopath will begin treatment. Osteopaths work with their hands but there is no fixed way for treatment. Every Osteopath will develop his/her own style of treatment. Treatments will often include some soft tissue techniques, with passive mobilisation of the joints, to stretch and improve the range of movement. Most Osteopaths will use Osteopathic manipulation techniques to mobilise specific joints. The joint may 'click', and the patient usually experiences relief when this happens.
The session can last for approximately half an hour.
How many sessions are needed and how frequently?
It is difficult to predetermine how many sessions are needed, as each patient is different and will experience different symptoms. Generally speaking, chronic back pain with a history of recurring incidents may take longer to treat, but a difference should be felt in 3 to 4 sessions and treatment will end when the patient feels better. With relatively "new" strains and sprains, fewer treatments are required. Most Osteopaths like to leave a space of 3-4 days in between treatments to allow for any reaction to the treatment to settle down.
What reaction can I expect after Osteopathic treatment?
Sometimes after the first treatment, a patient might experience some soreness as a result of the manipulation. This is quite normal, and is to be expected. A painkiller will help but mostly it is better to just treat it like muscle soreness after strong exercise. Rest and hot showers help.
What's the difference between Osteopathy and Chiropractic?
Interestingly, 'Osteo' and 'Chiro' both refer to bone in Greek and Latin respectively. The differences between the two disciplines lie in the philosophy behind the practice of Osteopathy and Chiropractic, the former having a more European approach, the latter more American. Some of the manipulative techniques are similar, and equally beneficial, but the basic philosophy, as in European and American approaches to medicine, though similar is where the difference lies. Choosing between which approach to follow for a patient is purely personal and depends upon individual experience.
Another difference between Osteopathy and Chiropractic work is the frequency with which treatment is administered. Osteopathic practitioners lean toward minimal intervention with a three or more day gap between visits to facilitate the body's own healing process. Chiropractors may want to treat patients more frequently.