You may have heard the terms Chiropractor and Physiotherapist.. but Osteopath?
Maybe not. This blog post aims to answer the question.. “What is an Osteopath and how can they help me?”
An Osteopath is an Allied Health professional who is involved in the treatment of the musculoskeletal system. Osteopaths believe that the body can heal itself if the right combination of manual techniques such as massage and the manipulation of muscles, joints, ligaments and tendons are used to bring the body back to a cohesive whole.
Osteopaths take a case history of each patient. They observe how the patient’s body functions when they sit, stand and lie down, as well as physically examine the patient by using palpation to determine which areas of the body are functioning well and those that are not.
An Osteopath also observes the spine, shoulders and determines if the pelvis is symmetrical. At the initial consultation, the Osteopath will devise a treatment plan for the patient, if he or she thinks that Osteopathic treatment is suitable. If the Osteopath determines that Osteopathic treatment is not suitable for the patient, they may refer the patient back to their GP for a referral to an Orthopaedic surgeon, or may recommend another health professional.
We seek out problems in your body’s movement and then apply hands-on techniques like stretching, mobilisation or in some cases manipulation to improve the movement. This might mean finding that a tight muscle in the back of your leg is causing the pelvis to not be able to tip forward easily and thus causing the lower back to become strained. In most cases you would only feel the lower back pain, and, be completely unaware of the actual problem coming from the tight muscle in your leg. An Osteopath is always looking for the cause of the problem.
Osteopaths often treat patients who complain of headaches, bad backs, neck pain, sciatica, repetitive strain injuries (RSI), joint pain, and musculoskeletal problems associated with pregnancy. An Osteopath may also be able to assist with arthritic pain and sports injuries.
Osteopaths may assist a wide range of patients, from children to the elderly. They may assist pregnant women by helping to reduce back pain as well as readying the body for childbirth.