29 Mar WHAT COMMON CONDITIONS DO OSTEOPATHS TREAT?
Osteopathy believes that when the body’s musculoskeletal system is improperly balanced and/or misaligned, the functioning of the circulatory, lymphatic, or nervous systems is inhibited which can reduce the body’s natural ability to heal itself after trauma or injury.
Unlike conventional western medicine, osteopathy takes a more holistic approach to treatment and focuses on the whole body (muscles, joints, and soft tissues) rather than a specific illness or area in isolation.
WHAT COMMON CONDITIONS DO OSTEOPATHS TREAT?
HEADACHES AND MIGRAINES
The severity and frequency of headaches and migraines can often be decreased with osteopathic treatment. The body is constantly working to maintain eye and ear level so as to avoid experiencing dizziness. This means that any strain further down the body can potentially lead to a compensatory strain in the neck and tightening of muscles which may result in a headache.
An osteopath works to reduce strain in the neck, decrease postural strain and improve the functioning of the spine and limbs to help release muscle tension in the neck and reduce symptoms of headache and migraines.
Upper back pain is typically caused from postural strain. Maintaining a slouching or very rigid position throughout the day will put strain on the joints and muscles. Placing too much emphasis on your strong arm when lifting weights can also cause upper back problems.
The lower back is easily strained, and pain is commonly caused by inflamed joints or muscles in the spine or pelvis which may have resulted from injury or functional adaption over time from repetitive sprains or strains to the spine, pelvis or hips.
Your osteopath will use manual techniques reduce your back pain, increase the movement in your joints and relieve muscle tension.
The main techniques used may include:
- Massage and manipulation.
- Muscle energy technique involves the patient and osteopath pushing against each other and aims to increase the range of motion in the affected joint.
- Functional technique which involves the gentle movement of the patient’s joints into positions that reduce tension and pain then slowly working them back to the original position.
- Myofascial release therapy which is a deep massage technique aimed at releasing tension and tightness in the muscles.
- Lymphatic pump techniques aimed at aiding the movement of fluid known as lymph, around your body and correcting any blockages.
Given that the knee structure comprises a number of bones, ligaments, tendons, cartilage, muscles and bursas, there are many elements that can be the cause of knee dysfunction and pain. Knee pain is one of the most common musculoskeletal complaints, ranging in severity from a slight ache to debilitating pain which makes weightbearing activities or walking exceedingly difficult. An osteopath will determine the cause of your knee pain help to correct the mechanical imbalances of your knee and other associated areas to enable you to move around freely and comfortably.
Sciatica refers to an irritation of the sciatic nerve caused by pressure on the nerve and presents itself as a “shooting pain” running down the back of the leg. Pain may be in the hamstring region alone or go through the calf muscle to affect the ankle. Weakness, numbness, and tingling in the leg and foot is often associated with the condition.
An osteopath will begin treatment by trying to establish whether there has been any previous injury, repetitive strain, surgery, illness or emotional stress that may have impacted the biomechanics of the spine, pelvis and hips. The osteopath will carefully examine how the joints and muscles in the spine are working and identify where the tension and tenderness is. This helps establish which joints or muscles are inflamed and what type of biomechanical imbalance or misalignment is present.
The aim of the osteopath is to relieve or reduce the patient’s pain restore to allow for normal or improved movement and function through hands-on treatment. The osteopath may also recommend the patient do other things after treatment to help in the management of main such as rest, exercise and stretching, and improved postural changes to reduce repetitive strain.
Sports injuries are strains or impact traumas that occur during physical activity as a result of the body being pushed beyond its physiological limit. The severity of injury can range from a mild strain or bruising, to a severe tear, fracture, or dislocation.
An osteopath can work to realign joints and reduce muscular strain to improve the body’s circulation and lymphatic drainage which aids in pain reduction and healing. Body alignment is also important to ensure that the healing muscle or joint will have well-aligned scar tissue to keep you strong and flexible through recovery.
DISCOMFORT DURING PREGNANCY
The female body goes through significant alignment and postural changes during pregnancy. Some common strains include pain in the lower ribs, back, pubic joint and hips. An osteopath can work with an expectant mother to assist in the realignment of her body and the reduction of muscle tension and joint strain to increase her level of comfort during the pregnancy. Given the gentle nature of osteopathic treatment, it is a safe treatment option for a pregnant woman.