The philosophy of Osteopathy is that improvement in the function (mainly mobility and strength) of the body reduces pain and increases well being. An important idea is that all parts of the body work together in a coordinated way. This means that poor functioning in one part can cause pain somewhere else. Thus Osteopaths consider the whole body when looking for the cause of patient’s problems, a holistic approach.
Osteopaths believe that each patients symptoms arise from the unique circumstances of that individual. There are no standard treatments because there are no standard patients. For instance back pain can be affected by previous injuries (both to the back and other areas), activity patterns (both past and current), body tissue type, past medical procedures such as operations, existing or previous illness, congenital malformation of vertebrae or lower limbs, psychological stresses, hydration levels, the list is potentially endless. This is why when you visit an Osteopath you may be surprised by the range of questions they ask when making their assessment. The job of a good Osteopath is to find from this blizzard of possibilities the most significant factors underlying your problem. Understanding the root causes of a problem is essential to a satisfactory solution.
Osteopaths vary their treatments appropriate for each patient. A 120kg 25 year old male body builder with a stiff neck will need different techniques to a frail 85 year old lady with neck stiffness. The training we get equips us with a vast library of procedures so there is always a way to treat safely and effectively. Sometimes the most appropriate treatment is no treatment and referral to a doctor. Osteopaths know the limits of their therapy and are trained to recognise rare conditions where treatment is either unhelpful or dangerous. This is the reason why Osteopaths always take a verbal case history and do a physical examination before starting a course of treatment
Osteopathic care is about self-help as well as treatment. Patients receive advice on simple measures such as exercises or realistic life style changes that can speed up recovery and also help prevent recurrences. Osteopaths empower their patients by helping them understand the reasons behind their condition.
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