Osteopathy is a manual approach to diagnosing and treating all kinds of pain, discomfort, and immobility.
Osteopathy runs on the practice of treating the body as a whole and use manual techniques to heal the pain, stiffness, and immobility in the body and ensure its proper functionality.
In other words, osteopathy involves using drug-free, non-invasive practices for strengthening of musculoskeletal framework of the body.
Osteopathy can provide relief from arthritis, headaches, back pain, tennis elbow, postural problems as well as digestive issues. It also provides relief from insomnia, nerve problems.
In the initial session, the osteopath listens to the patient’s problem, and later during the examination, the patient is asked to show simple stretches and movements. It helps the osteopath to get an idea about the patient’s physical health, like mobility issues and postures.
Techniques of osteopathic treatment
- Soft tissue techniques: In this method, light or firm direct pressure is used to relax tight muscles and stretching of tight facial structures.
- Dry needling: In this technique, a fine filament needle similar to the one used in acupuncture is used. The needle is placed on a trigger point or tight muscle band, which provides instant relief in the area. The treatment technique is ideal for patients suffering from tennis elbow, lower back pain, sciatica, hip and groin pain, headaches, and other sporting injuries.
- Cranial- Sacral Osteopathy: It is a gentle therapy aiming at balancing and strengthening the flow of cerebrospinal fluid responsible for nourishing the spinal cord. During the treatment, the osteopath uses a gentle hand that helps the tissue to relax and unwind. During the treatment, the patient experiences deep sense relaxation, fluid flow, and relaxation from pain.
- HVLA: High Velocity, the low amplitude, aims to improve joint motion in special cases. In this method, a popping or cracking sound is heard when the joints are slightly pulled, and a cracking sound is created due to the formation of a cavity. When this technique is used, a slight pain occurs; thus is not recommended for all.
- Muscle Energy Technique: It is a kind of manual therapy that focuses on muscle contraction for relaxing and lengthening of tight muscles of the patient.
People rush to an osteopath when they are suffering from chronic back pain. An osteopath could gently massage and stretch the soft tissues of the affected area and provide relief from back pain.
Osteopathic treatment can benefit the nervous, lymphatic, and circulatory systems of the body.
Sometimes osteopathy is an ideal rescue from invasive surgical treatments.
Uses of osteopathy
Osteopathy can offer relief and treatment for a vast range of conditions. These comprise:
- foot, hip, ankle, and knee pain
- neck pain, back pain, and sciatica
- elbow, shoulder, and hand pain
- tennis and golfer’s elbow
- postural problems due to sports injury, pregnancy, work strain or driving, or digestive problems
Osteopathic physicians can also point out conditions that are not treatable via osteopathy, to refer patients to other experts.
Things to expect
Individuals visiting an osteopath must make sure that their doctor is licensed to practice. Check this documentation if it is not on display in their practice already. A person can have a referral from a primary care physician, or they can refer themselves. Self-referring patients must inform their regular doctor, to make sure that ongoing care is constant. Osteopathy is patient-centered. The first consultation will occur before any active treatment or management starts.
During this consultation, the osteopathic physician will talk about the patient’s health issues, listen, and take notes. The session will last just about 45 minutes.
Examining the patient physically
The osteopathic doctor will examine the patient physically, who might need to eliminate some clothing to carry out the diagnosis. Patient confidentiality must be respected during this procedure. This may take for a couple of hours.
The patient will be asked to show simple movements and stretches to assist the osteopathic physician make an exact analysis of their mobility and posture. The doctor will also evaluate the health of the ligaments, joints, and tissues, using a highly qualified method of touch referred to as palpation.
The osteopathic doctor will recommend a treatment plan to meet the patient’s requirements.
This will comprise the number of sessions expected to be needed, even though this number can change based on the patient’s response to treatment.
Osteopathy highlights self-healing, so an osteopathic doctor can recommend dietary changes, home exercise programs, and lifestyle alterations. The manipulation and practical work are mild, but because of the physical work being carried out, a patient of osteopathy can feel sore for the first 2 days.
The cost will differ, based on the clinic, the insurance plan the patient has, and the state in which they stay. Several insurance plans will fund osteopathy for suitable conditions. It is worth asking the insurer if there is a limit per session or an overall limit for complementary therapies.
Osteopathy can advantage the musculoskeletal framework and other systems.
- Pain and discomfort can result in restless nights or a lack of sleep. This can make it difficult for the body to function in the right manner, and lessen the capability to cope with pain. Osteopathy has been found to reduce insomnia and sleeplessness resulting from chronic pain. This treatment can decrease sleep apnea in infants below 4 months old as per a research.
- Most people get in touch with an osteopathic physician with back pain, but precautionary treatment is also possible. These days most of the people need to spend 10.5 hours per day in front of a screen. This can result in poor posture and musculoskeletal issues. Treatment comprises subtle and gentle manipulation, particularly of the soft tissues and muscles. The doctor can massage or stretch the muscle. An osteopathic physician can pinpoint potential sources of pain. He/she can suggest dietary modifications and changes to workplace ergonomics, such as desk position and seating. Prevention advice can comprise:
- lifting techniques
- stress reduction
- stretching exercises
These techniques can assist enhance posture and decrease pain. Lifestyle changes can improve health and decrease constant health risks and costs dramatically. Preventing injury means less time off work, more time keeping active, and freedom to enjoy the advantages of healthful living.
- Osteopathic treatments can impact the lymphatic, nervous, and circulatory systems positively to improve overall health and body function. Some osteopathic techniques can improve lymphatic health and bring about internal improvements in the body without requiring invasive surgical treatment.
After treatment, most of the patients feel stiff for 24 to 48 hours. A few patients can have a headache for a short while. Older patients can go through less common side effects, such as rib fracture, severe pain in patients with numbness, osteoporosis, and tingling.
If these take place, the patient must consult with their osteopath. More severe adverse effects can require emergency medical treatment. These comprise prolapsed disk, stroke, nerve damage, pain radiating to a limb, bladder or bowel problems and muscle weakness.
Most of these risks are uncommon, but patients must be aware of them before they start treatment.
What kinds of procedures and tests can an osteopath carry out?
Osteopaths can carry out the same tests and processes a medical doctor can, including blood and urine tests, diagnostic tests, and biopsies. They can also recommend medications, carry out surgery, and treat patients of all ages using a vast range of treatments that include both allopathic and osteopathic medicine.
Difference between Chiropractor and Osteopathic Physician
A chiropractor can treat the back, but their focus is more likely to be on the spine and joints position, with the aim of enhancing nerve function and healing capability. An osteopathic physician does not usually do this. A chiropractor will pay attention on a particular problem area, while an osteopath looks at the body all together. An osteopathic physician is a medical doctor with dedicated training in the fast-growing approach to wellness and healing.
The Bottom Line
Muscle strains, Joint pains, or frequent stiffness, these are the regular things of the daily lives, now. Osteopathy deals with such kinds of health conditions associated with our musculoskeletal system. If you are suffering from repetitive injuries or chronic joint pains, a good osteopath is what you need. An osteopath is a licensed physician who practices medicine using both osteopathic manipulative medicine and conventional treatments, which focuses on relieving tension and pain in the musculoskeletal system. Even though more research is required confirm the efficiency of osteopathy, several people find it to be safe and efficient in treating their conditions.