Osteopathy is a holistic form of manual therapy that specialises in detecting, treating and preventing health problems via a range of different techniques such as massage, articulation and manipulations (high velocity thrusts).
One of the founding principles of osteopathy is that the body has its own medicine chest. When the bodies structure and function is compromised, so is its ability to heal, and an osteopath's role is to try and put the body into a more optimal position so that it is capable of healing itself.
Osteopathy differs from other forms of complementary alternative medicine (CAM) by its preventative approach. When treating a patient, an osteopath will not only treat the site of pain, but will seek to find the cause for why the pain has arisen, therefore reducing the chances of the injury reoccurring. The cause of each complaint differs from person to person, ranging from biopsychosocial factors such as stress, work set up (ergonomics), posture, injuries incurred through trauma or perhaps a pathology such as asthma. Osteopaths are medically trained, with detailed knowledge of anatomy, physiology, biochemistry and pathology, and therefore have an ability to make a diagnosis and help with treatment, or, if needs be, refer on to a more suitable health care practitioner.
Osteopathy was founded in the USA by Dr Andrew Taylor Still in the late 19th century. It was intended to be used as an alternative approach to the drug based medicine of the time, that had failed to save his wife and four of his children from spinal meningitis. Still found that by combining different manual techniques, his patients recovered from a wide range of ailments. Osteopaths today still approach their patients in the same way. Whilst the advancement of modern medicine means that drugs are more effective than they were in the time of Still, they can still be prescribed too early, with a preference for painkillers over fixing the cause of the complaint, often resulting in reocurrence of injuries. By working with the body, osteopaths promote our inate ability for self-healing. However when appropriate, an osteopath may refer a patient to their GP or pharmacist if progress is not being made.
What do osteopaths treat?
Osteopaths do not treat particular conditions. Instead, our aim is to help make minor adjustments to the body in order to allow it to heal itself. Because of this patients go to see osteopaths for a diverse range of complaints. Here is a list of some of the most common problems:
What to expect at your appointment
1 Case History
Here we will take a thorough case history. This includes asking about your current symptoms as well as information on your past medical history.
If you are on medication, or have had any examinations from another healthcare practitioner such as an X-Ray, please bring this information along with you to the session.
During the examination the osteopath is likely to ask you to dress down to your underwear. If you're not comfortable with this, please bring along some appropriate clothing like a sports bra/shorts/leggings. We do this to have a look at your posture and get a global picture of your body to work out what might be contributing towards your complaint.Depending on what your complaint is, the osteopath will then get you do some active movements, and may do some medical and/or orthopaedic tests to come to a diagnosis.
After completing an examination the osteopath will then form a diagnosis and explain this to you, along with a recommended treatment plan. Within the treatment plan they will tell you how long they think the complaint will last and how many more sessions you may need (if any).
4 Treatment & Rehab
At AT Health we use a variety of different techniques to give your body the best change of recovering, these include manipulations, articulations, soft tissue (massage) and dry needling to name but a few. Whilst the practitioner will always recommend what they believe to be the best approach, you are in control of what techniques we use, and we will never use a technique that you don't want us to use. Once the treatment is done, we will then give you some exercises and advice to make sure your pain doesn't come back again in the future.