Osteopathy focuses on the diagnosis, treatment, prevention and rehabilitation primarily of musculoskeletal disorders.
An osteopath looks at the body as a whole when treating, in order to find causes and maintaining factors of a patients presenting problem.
Tension and inflammation in the spine can affect the whole nervous system. Osteopaths focus on posture, structure and flexibility of the spine to overcome such problems. If the entire musculoskeletal framework of muscles, joints and bones is aligned and in good working order, other parts of the body will not be under undue strain. The digestion, circulation, lymphatic and other systems will benefit too.
Osteopaths use massage, muscle stretching, and articulation of joints to relax and loosen muscles & free up stiff joints. The more well-known ‘thrust, mobilisation techniques, which involve applying high velocity low amplitude thrust to a particular joint to realign it, are reserved for specific problems. Thrust techniques often cause joints to pop or click, the action itself can be quite liberating as joints that have been seized up for long periods are once again free to move.
Osteopaths are now building trust with conventional medicine on the basis of the 1993 Act of Parliament and the establishment of the General Osteopathic Council in 1996. The council maintains high standards for its members and cooperates with the medical profession on research and practice. The Royal College of General Practitioners recommends that doctors consider osteopathy for back pain and other relevant problems. The introduction of statutory regulation has given assurance to the medical profession that registered osteopaths are working to professional standards under a code of conduct.
Osteopathy is recommended by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE, 2009) for the treatment of low back pain.