Can Osteopathy help to reduce to anxiety?

Can Osteopathy help to reduce to anxiety?

Can osteopathy reduce anxiety? Does this seem to be a silly question because osteopathy can only be used to treat conditions affecting the joints and muscles? The simple truth is yes, osteopathy can be used to treat muscles and joints, as well as be used to reduce symptoms of anxiety.

Think of the human body as a well-oiled, well-functioning machine, and if one part breaks down, it has a domino effect on the other parts. For full function to be restored, you will need to identify what caused the initial break down. The human body works the same way, the nervous system, the cardiovascular system and the musculoskeletal system are all connected enabling you to complete your daily functions. Thus, if something goes wrong regardless of whether it is physical, emotional or mental, it will have a negative effect on the rest of your body, and fixing the problem is important for your overall health and wellbeing.

The human body is a fascinating yet complex living thing, because sometimes pain or symptoms manifest in areas of the body that seem to be unrelated to the origin of the problem. For example, a physical pain can indicate a mental condition- if you are someone suffering from anxiety, it could result in you experiencing shoulder pain. Thus, osteopathy can be used to effectively treat the symptoms of anxiety and help you manage the degree to which you experience anxiety.

It is natural to experience anxiety at certain times in your life. Anxiety is your body’s way of responding to stress and varies in intensity from person to person and from situation to situation. While it is common to experience low to moderate anxiety throughout your life, some may have stronger feelings of anxiousness that are harder to control without intervention.

Anxiety can manifest in many ways. You may experience physical symptoms or have extreme difficulties with your emotions. In more severe cases, anxiety may cause mental health issues.

The most common symptoms of general anxiety are:

  • Headaches
  • Difficulty breathing or
  • Rapid breathing
  • Exhaustion
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Digestive issues
  • Muscle tightness, particularly in the chest area
  • Poor posture
  • Increased heart rate.

These symptoms can be effectively self-managed but if they aren’t, the knock-on effect to your musculoskeletal system can be detrimental to your health.

Osteopathy is a holistic treatment option and osteopaths are trained to assess your whole body. They will do a physical exam, while also considering your lifestyle and any external stress factors that can contribute to your wellbeing.

Your consultation will consist of the osteopath taking a full a case history, conducting an osteopathic examination to observe any physical imbalances or irregularities that contribute to your problem area.

For anxiety-related conditions, an osteopath will pay particular attention to the muscles around the thoracic spine, where the sympathetic nervous system is located. This is the system that is responsible for the fight or flight response to stressful situations. By palpating muscles in this region, your osteopath can identify areas of tension or knots in the tissue that cause pain and limit your muscle mobility.

Osteopaths employ a number of techniques to treat conditions linked to anxiety, such as stretching to relieve the tension in the muscle, articulation to improve the movement of the affected joints, the soft tissue massage technique is used to release fluid build-up and relax the muscles and the trust technique is used to improve the range of moment and promote better blood flow to the affected area.

One of the best ways to encourage calm and reduce anxiety is to practice deep breathing. Your osteopath will have a few tips for you and will encourage you to practice breathing exercises regularly at home. Breathing exercises are effective in lowering your heart rate and blood pressure, thereby reducing feelings of anxiety. You can do them anywhere, at any time.

At OsteoVision, our practitioners are trained to treat a wide range of conditions. Please contact us if you would like to discuss your symptoms, book an appointment, or simply require more information.

Call:  03303 904 300


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Bibliography:Tunbridge Wells Chiropractic Clinic. 2021. How Osteopathy Can Help With Anxiety – Tunbridge Wells Chiropractic Clinic. [online] Available at: How Osteopathy Can Help With Anxiety [Accessed 26 September 2021].