Whether you are taking your first, careful steps into holistic therapies or you are looking for a way to address chronic pain, osteopathy can aid in the treatment and prevention of medical issues. In this article, we will answer the most commonly asked questions about osteopathic medicine and how it can benefit you on your wellness journey.
What Is Osteopathy?
Osteopathy is a form of alternative medicine that uses massage, stretching, and physical manipulation to treat and prevent medical conditions.
Osteopathy takes a whole-body approach to health and wellness. Practitioners (or osteopaths) aim to restore patients to health by optimizing the relationship between the musculoskeletal system and a person’s overall health. The idea is to get your skeleton, muscles, ligaments and connective tissues all working as designed.
Are Osteopathic Treatments Safe?
Yes, osteopathy is safe. In fact osteopathic medicine has been in use for more than a century. Dr. Andrew Taylor Still discovered and formalized osteopathy in the late 1800s. Since then, osteopathy has grown as a medical specialty practiced by more than 5,300 osteopaths in the UK alone.
While osteopathy falls under the category of alternative medicine, it is in no wise unregulated. London osteopaths must register with the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC) and renew their registration annually to continue practicing.
Even the title of ‘osteopath’ is protected by law. It is illegal to practice osteopathic medicine or even refer to oneself as an ‘osteopath’ without the permission of the GOsC.
Only registered practitioners who complete the educational requirements, secure the correct insurance, meet professional development standards, and remain in good health can legally call themselves osteopaths.
What Are the Benefits of Osteopathy?
In the UK, as many as 28 million adults may be living with chronic pain, according to Science Daily. The system of techniques osteopaths use is all designed to aid your body in healing itself.
Practitioners use massage to release and relax muscles, joint articulation to improve range of motion, stretching to increase flexibility in muscles and joints, and high-velocity thrusts to adjust (or crack) and realign the spine.
Together, these techniques work well to achieve several important outcomes:
- Minimize and eliminate chronic pain
- Increase blood flow and circulation to the tissue
- Relieve muscle tension
- Encourage pain-free mobility
- Improve flexibility
Osteopathy vs Physiotherapy vs Chiropractic
If you are paying attention, you may notice that osteopathy seems similar to other drug-free treatment options. One of the most frequently asked questions about osteopathy is how it differs from physiotherapy and chiropractic treatment. Let’s discuss the differences between the three.
Physiotherapy focuses on using manual manipulation to treat the specific areas of the body affected by injury or illness. Physiotherapists will usually incorporate exercise as part of the healing process.
Chiropractic treatments focus on using manual manipulation to improve spinal alignment and nerve transition as a way to improve the overall health of an individual.
Osteopathy focuses on using manual manipulation to improve overall health by optimizing how muscles, joints, tissues, and bones work together in the body.
When to See an Osteopath
In the previous section, we briefly explained the differences between chiropractic treatment, physiotherapy, and osteopathy - three holistic therapies specifically designed to treat chronic pain. If you are one of the millions of people suffering from back and neck pain, osteopathy can help treat several serious conditions that are often the source of chronic pain. These include:
- lower back pain
- Shoulder pain
- Sports injuries (including tennis elbow, knee pain, and sprains)
- Workplace muscle and joint pain
- Neck pain
- Headaches and migraines
What to Expect During Your First Visit to an Osteopath
Your first appointment to receive any holistic therapies in London will usually start with a health assessment. In addition to asking you questions about your medical history and your reason for scheduling your visit, an osteopath will use their hands to examine you. The goal is typically to identify any areas on your body where there is weakness, limited mobility, misalignment, tenderness, or pain.
Your osteopath will then discuss a treatment program customized for your health journey. This is the time to ask any questions you may have about the treatment process, including the frequency of your treatments, the length of the program, and how you will measure your progress.
If you are suffering through another day of muscle, joint, or back pain, stop. Osteopathy is a safe, drug-free and toxin free, holistic therapy that can restore your body to peak condition. We have access to a wide network of experienced, knowledgeable osteopaths in London who will provide you with a comprehensive assessment and guide you through the process of total body healing.
Click the link below to see how Osteopathy can work for you.