What is Osteopathic Therapy
The Institute of Osteopathy describes it as: Osteopathy is a therapeutic discipline and science that it used for identifying, preventing and helping with a multitude of health ailments.
Its based on the precipice that the way things are positioned and/or move affect how they function and that the body has its own self-healing and regulatory mechanisms. So an osteopath aims to restore the functional relationship between bones, muscles, joints, internal organs [link to visceral] and the nervous system.
What it can affect
Osteopathy being an approach that works with the body’s abilities can be helpful with a wide range of conditions. Conditions such as :
- Generalised aches and pains
- Joint pains including hip and knee pain from osteoarthritis
- Arthritic pain
- General, acute & chronic backache, back pain
- Uncomplicated mechanical neck pain
- Headache arising from the neck (cervicogenic) / Migraine prevention
- Frozen shoulder / shoulder and elbow pain / Tennis elbow
- Digestion problems – Joint pains
- Muscle spasms
- Inability to relax
- Rheumatic pain
- Minor sports injuries and tensions
- Circulatory problems / Cramp
Types of Osteopathic Therapies
Depending on the condition you may receive one of the following specialized treatments.
Cranial osteopathy is a gentle and yet very effective way of providing treatment to the body. It’s the palpation of very precise and subtle oscillations of our tissues. These oscillations are evident in the whole body but are more readily palpated around the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) and that’s where it takes it’s name from. Being very gentle in its application cranial osteopathy is applicable to all age groups.
Cranial osteopathy is not to be separated from osteopathy and thus even only cranial osteopathy might be used a thorough case history and examination will always take place to ensure that the patient is not in need of other medical attention.
During treatment cranial osteopathy might go unnoticed by the patient or they might feel more relaxed to the extent that they might fall asleep. In other cases the patient may feel minor tensions, or slight aching arising and fading away as well as emotions coming to the surface. In most cases though the patient feels different after getting up.
Visceral refers to the internal organs. Our viscera are not solidly fixed inside us but they have a small amount of ‘play’. This motion allows them to move with breathing and to absorb the forces transmitted with walking as well as to perform their function easier, as most of the internal organs require movement, just think about our heart or intestines. When the viscera don’t move as freely as they should, it can have adverse effects to their attachment points through fascia and ligaments that connect them to the body.
In addition to the structural attachments the viscera can have neurological effects on distant parts of the body. One way this can happen is with referred pain (this is the kind of pain that manifests in bodily parts other than the one having the problem). Another way is by affecting the neurological interaction with postural muscles that share neorological origin with particular viscera leading to a persisting secondary structural problem.
Deep Tissue Massage
Deep Tissue Massage is aimed at increasing the circulation of blood around the muscles, break down adhesions and especially to release hyper-contracture of overworked muscles. These may have happened through sports or postural asymmetries or overuse of any kind.
It is similar to massage therapy but the pressure is firmer and deeper in order to get to the inner fibres of the muscles and the fascia (the connective tisue that wraps everything in the body). The massaging strokes are usually slower and more intense, concentrating on the parts of the muscle that need it the most. But several different massage techniques are utilised to also aid drainage and stretch of the muscles as well as trigger point release.
Deep Tissue Massage can be painful for a short period of time but it’s results can be experienced immediately after the treatment.
Trigger point release
A myofascial trigger point ( a.k.a. muscle knots) are parts of soft tissue, most commonly muscle, which becomes overly sensitised and thus painful. Most common causes of trigger points are over-use, incorrect use of the muscle and poor posture which alters the line of action of the muscle putting extra strain on certain parts of the muscle.
Dry needling is the insertion of solid needles (non injecting) into painful parts of the body to relieve pain. Through the use of the tiny needles the body is reprogrammed to let go of the pain associated with a certain area of the body. It can also be used on muscles that are overworked and producing pain to help them relax and desensitise.
This might be very beneficial when used with other manual therapies such as osteopathy, especially in an acute setting.
Dry needling is an independent therapy, different from traditional acupuncture, and can be used on its own.
During the treatment the patient might feel slight aching, or pinching that dissipates quickly.
On rare occasions there may be a small amount of blood accumulating under the skin due to the rupture of one of the tiny capillaries of the skin or a small bruise might appear. These are completely harmless and will disappear a few days after the treatment.