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What is Osteopathy?
Osteopathy is a system of therapy that deals with the structure of the body - the bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles and general connective tissues, and their relationship with one another.
Its founder, Dr. Andrew Taylor Still, believed that the human body was self-healing and that an uninterrupted nerve and blood supply to all the tissues of the body was necessary for their normal function. If any structural problem, such as injury or poor posture, interferes with the nerve and blood flow, the self healing power would be interfered with and disease would result.
With this in mind, he worked out a system of manipulation intended to restore healthy function to any structural deviations and abnormalities.
Most people first consult an osteopath complaining of back ache / pain or of pain and discomfort appearing in other joints and muscles.
However, it is not unusual to find that, after treatment for their chief complaint, patients also report improvement in other conditions from which they may have been suffering.
Osteopathy can also be used to help many complaints such
as fibromyalgia, whiplash, sciatica, minor sports injuries, cramp, tennis elbow and arthritic pain. Please note that patients
under the age of 16 will need a chaperone with them for consultations
When you visit an osteopath for the first time a full case history will be taken, followed by an examination which will look at your posture and the way in which you move.
The osteopath will make a detailed examination of the spine, testing the movement of the vertebrae and looking for areas of tenderness, stiffness and increased mobility.
Osteopaths use many of the diagnostic procedures used in conventional medical assessments and diagnosis. If necessary, he/she may also recommend further tests such as X-rays, blood tests or urine tests to help reach an accurate diagnosis.
Osteopathy's main strengths, however, lie in the unique way the patient is assessed from a mechanical, functional and postural standpoint and the manual methods of treatment applied to suit the needs of the patient to restore normal function.
Osteopaths use in depth physiological and clinical knowledge, coupled with keen observation and palpatory skills. The osteopath will combine a detailed health case history with a thorough physical evaluation to diagnose a patient’s condition and treat it. The patient’s diet, work and leisure practices all inform the process.
NHS physiotherapists tend not to have a diagnostic input, the diagnosis and treatment request tending to emanate from a consultant or doctor. As a result treatment will tend to be more specific than integrative.
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