How do osteopaths work?

Osteopathy is a manual therapy which aims to improve health and wellbeing by affecting the structure and function of the body. Osteopaths work by treating the whole person, not just the condition, and treatment is tailored to the individual.

Improving health through function

Osteopaths work with the principle that health and wellbeing are directly related to the structure and function of the body’s framework (bones, muscles, ligaments etc.).

We work by identifying those parts of the body’s framework that are likely to be causing or leading to the patient’s symptoms. Our treatment aims to reduce pain, encourage movement and mobilise restrictions within the body.

Treatment will also aim to increase blood flow to, and drainage from, the damaged or compromised area of the body, thereby facilitating the body’s own healing processes.

A ‘hands-on’ manual therapy?

Osteopaths are manual therapists who employ a range of non-invasive techniques such as massage, stretching, joint manipulation and articulation in order to reduce areas of pain and increase overall mobility and flexibility.

Most of our osteopaths are also qualified to perform acupuncture (or ‘dry-needling’) techniques.

Osteopaths may employ high velocity thrust techniques (known as HVTs), where joints are mobilised with a ‘popping’ or ‘clicking’ sound. These techniques are safe and effective however the osteopath will only employ them if the patient is happy for them to do so.

Prior to commencing treatment, the osteopath will discuss with the patient the types of treatment that he or she has assessed will best benefit them, taking into account any preferences of the patient. Treatment is a two-way process and the osteopath will not do anything that the patient is unhappy with.

Adopting a ‘holistic’ approach

Osteopaths are sometimes referred to as ‘holistic’ therapists. This simply means that we treat every patient as an individual, looking at the ‘whole’ person and not just the condition.

For example, the back pain that a patient is complaining of may be the result of a pre-existing ankle problem or restriction that the patient is unaware of – the injured or restricted ankle having a knock-on effect with respect to the function and mechanics of the patient’s spine.

If the osteopath simply treated the patient’s spine without treating the ankle then the symptoms may keep recurring, however if both the back and the cause of the problem (the ankle) were treated, the symptoms would be far less likely to re occur.

Tailored and personalised for you

Osteopaths understand that every one of us is different. Patients may come to us with similar complaints however these complaints may have very different causes.

Osteopaths treat the patient, not the condition and therefore don’t simply adhere to a prescribed set of guidelines for a particular condition. Instead, their treatment will be tailored to you and your specific circumstances.

When putting together the management plan for the patient, the osteopath will take account of any physical, social or lifestyle factors which may have had or be having a causative or contributory effect to the patient’s condition.

In addition to any ‘hands-on’ treatment, the osteopath may also give advice on specific exercises or stretches to perform, or offer other lifestyle advice such as tips on general posture or workstation set-up in the office.

Want to find out more?

If in doubt then why not give us a call? For those unfamiliar with what we do we offer a free 15-minute pre-consultation chat with an osteopath for you to discuss your problem and help you decide if it is something that we may be able to help you with.