What is Osteopathy?

The institute of Osteopathy describe Osteopathy as ‘a method of assessing, treating and preventing a wide range of health problems. Osteopaths use a combination of movement, stretching, targeted deep tissue massage and manipulation of a person’s muscles and joints to improve function, relieve pain and aid recovery.’

Osteopaths take a holistic approach to your health care and through an individual case history and assessment of your lifestyle and mechanism of your presenting complaint, we assess the cause and maintaining factors limiting you from making a full recovery. By addressing areas for improvement in your posture, muscle, skeletal and fascial structure we aim to get you even better than before.

Osteopaths believe in ‘patient centred care’ this means we discuss with you our diagnosis and treatment options and likely outcomes. We aim to involve patients in ongoing management of their symptoms.  Its far easier to help yourself when you understand what’s going on!

Osteopathy is recommended by the NHS NICE guidelines for back pain, however we do not just treat backs as people often believe, please check the list below of conditions treated by Osteopaths.

  • Postural problems and generalised aches and pains
  • joint pain, hip, knee, ankle, foot
  • arthritic pain management
  • Pre and post-operative joint rehabilitation
  • general, acute & chronic backache
  • sciatica
  • frozen shoulder and shoulder pain
  • tennis/golfers elbow
  • minor sports injuries and muscle spasms
  • mechanical neck pain often caused by poor posture or previous injury
  • headache arising from the neck (cervicogenic)
  • TMJ (Jaw and teeth grinding)
  • migraine prevention – See my ‘back story’ for more information about this.
  • circulatory problems, cramp and muscle spasm
  • Pre and post-natal treatment
  • neuralgia
  • fibromyalgia
  • Chronic fatigue due to stress
  • rheumatic pain
  • Osteopaths also treat babies and children.

With every new patient treatment, we start by taking a history and conducting our assessment, we make our diagnosis and base our treatment plan on our findings.  It’s important for you that we take the time to understand you as an individual as this helps provide you with the best treatment.

The Osteopathic techniques:

Osteopathy is a manual therapy which means none of our techniques are invasive. We can tailor our treatments to suit you and alter and adjust position, technique or pressure to suit your preference. We have many approaches we can take to your treatment and you’ll likely find each Osteopath has their own personal style of treatment too. If you already know you respond better to some treatments than others, please tell your practitioner. The main techniques we use are listed below:

SOFT TISSUE TECHNIQUES

A type of massage that uses light or firm, direct pressure to relax hypertonic (tight) muscles and stretch tight fascial structures. We also use various directions of massage (cross-fibre) techniques to break down any scar tissue. ‘Trigger point’ therapy is where we locate ‘knots’ and pinpoint areas within your muscle tissue which have become chronically contracted. We directly press these points to release them. It is thought that in doing this the neural signals are interrupted therefore removing the trigger point and associated pain.

MUSCLE ENERGY TECHNIQUE

Muscle Energy Technique (MET) this is a stretching technique whereby the practitioner uses the muscle contractions of the patient to relax and lengthen tight muscles and improve joint range of motion.

ARTICULATION TECHNIQUES

This is a passive mobilisation of the spine or a joint, meaning the practitioner moves the joint for you, to improve range of motion. The is a great technique as it allows your joints to move without you needing to contract any muscles or weight bear. Its particularly beneficial after injury or surgery to allow greater mobility range, blood flow and drainage.

Myofascial release:

These techniques are performed on the fascia (the membranes which envelope all structures in the body), including the fascia of the head (also called cranial techniques or cranial osteopathy). The fascia is a connective tissue and considered to have a structure of it’s own, which create restrictions and pulls upon the muscles when it does not function correctly. Fascial techniques are gentle and non-manipulative. They are often used when treating young children and new-born infants.

Cranial Osteopathy – The aim of this technique is to promote healing and relaxation by subtle use of the body’s inherent rhythms and fluctuations of cerebrospinal fluid. Developed by William Sutherland, it’s thought that tissues in the body rhythmically change shape, this is known as cranial rhythm or involuntary movement. An increased level of stress and tensions in daily life can disrupt the cranial rhythm, these pressures restrict the optimal movement of the body tissues. The body will eventually show symptoms for example, headaches, neck pain and back pain, even though the initial stress may have seemed minor. Treatment aims to restore balance and allow the body to heal itself.

Lymphatic Drainage MLD – This manual procedure is designed to promote circulation of lymph and can be used to relieve upper and lower respiratory infections. The lymphatic system is part of the circulatory and aids the immune system. The lymphatic system helps maintain fluid balance in the body by collecting excess fluid and particulate matter from tissues and depositing them in the bloodstream. It also helps defend the body against infection by supplying disease-fighting cells called lymphocytes, ridding cellular tissue of toxins, bacteria, dead cells and waste. It eventually drains back into the circulatory system via the right lymphatic duct to the right subclavian vein. The thoracic duct (left) drains into the subclavian vein. The lymphatic system does not have its own pump and relies upon muscle contraction for movement of lymph, this can be aided manually using gentle techniques to encourage lymph flow.

HVT

High velocity trust is a technique where you may hear a 'pop' or 'click' of a joint. People will often call it being 'cracked'. This is great for improving the joint mobility where it is required.  Though people are often concerned that the clicking noise is a moving bone or grinding bone on bone. Studies suggest that the sound comes from the release of gas bubbles, mainly carbon dioxide as the joints ‘cavitate’. This is due to changes of air pressure within the spaces between your joints as that as stretched.

Manipulations of this kind can only be performed by qualified practitioners. Osteopaths have extensive training in this technique, however HVT techniques do have some risks involved and won't be performed unless you feel comfortable with it and have been deemed a ‘suitable’ (low-risk) patient for this treatment

SPORTS (KT TAPING)

Many patients visiting the clinic are professional or serious sports people or heavy- gym trainers! As they return to training and competition, many benefit from taping to support the injured or recovering joint/muscle. As they begin strengthening and resuming activities again, there is less restriction and compression from support bandages.

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