What is Osteopathy?
In Osteopathy the aim is to seek out the health within rather than find a label of disease. Now although a diagnosis is part of the process the primary focus is on your health.
Many people see Osteopathy as the manipulation of bones. That may be the case for some patients however we also use a gentle approach and medically focused history taking to form a realistic assessment of each patient's current condition. From there we will treat the patient with the appropriate techniques to facilitate their health outcomes.
The four main principles of Osteopathy are as follows:
1) The body works as a whole unit; body, mind, and spirit.
The body works as a whole, this involves many complex interrelationships.
Therefore Osteopathic principles work on many physiological functions at once. The fundamental difference between osteopathic and conventional training is that we work with the unity of the organism, as opposed to breaking the body down into separate parts.
2) The body is capable of self-regulation, self-healing, and health maintenance. This principle is essential to osteopathic medicine, treatment is oriented toward supporting and helping the mechanisms of self-regulation to be restored.
3) Structure and function are reciprocally interrelated. Osteopathy is based upon a thorough knowledge of anatomy (structure) and physiology (function). The understanding of the relationship between structure and function applies to all levels of anatomy, from cellular to tissue, organ and system level.
Osteopathic medicine applies this knowledge of structure and function in both the evaluation of tissue function and the practice of Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (OMM).
4) Rational treatment is based upon an understanding of above three principles.
We aim to facilitate the patient’s inherent vitality and health. This is the core osteopathic medicine. The practice of hands-on treatment applies osteopathic principles in a direct, specific and unique way to relieve suffering and enhance healthy function.
What do Osteopaths treat?
Osteopaths treat many things with lots of successful outcomes.
From sporting injuries, workplace incidents, postural compensation discomfort to repetitive strain injuries. Here is a list of some of the areas we work with:
- Headaches and Migraines
- Neck pain (eg. Whiplash)
- Upper and Lower Back Pain
- Shoulder Pain
- Elbow Pain
- Wrist Pain
- Hip Pain
- Knee Pain
- Ankle Pain
- Nerve problems (sciatica and thoracic outlet syndrome)
- Discomfort associated with the TMJ (clenching,grinding of the teeth)
- Post surgical recovery
- Pre and Post Natal Discomfort
For the most part, Osteopaths are primarily associated with treating muscle, joint, nerve and blood supply problems and we can really help with this.
An IMPORTANT point to note is when we encounter something we cannot treat, we will immediately refer for further tests, or examinations if it’s going to change the course of your treatment and management.
What does an Osteopath do?
When people try to describe what we do as osteo’s it can be like a combination of a Physio, Chiro and massage with a GP that does not prescribe drugs.
Well let me break it down by showing you what an initial consultation looks like, we will firstly:
- We start out by taking a detailed medical case history (this is very important)
- We then go through and assess the body using Orthopaedic tests
- Then using the findings from the assessment and medical history we will provide appropriate manual therapeutic treatment and following on from this
- We may then provide you with recommendations on treatment outcomes, identification of relieving and aggravating factors and just how severe the issue may be.
Now this is what an Osteopath does and on top of this we look deeper!
Looking into how you move on a day to day basis, taking into consideration your posture both passive and dynamic, what your working environment may be contributing, how your lifestyle plays a role and also what your diet looks like. The human body is an amazing and complex entity and Osteopaths recognise this when we approach each patient.
Why see an Osteopath?
Over the years I have seen many patients that have seen other health care practitioners, then after their first or second visit they have commented that they wished that “they saw us first”.
People have given different reasons and here are a few from some of our patients:
- We are not in a huge rush – our appointments are slightly longer.
- We take the time to really listen to you.
- As Osteopaths we use our hands to help you, not machines.
- We look at you as a WHOLE – to help find out WHY you’ve got pain.
- As Osteopaths, we don’t just massage you.
- We don’t just crack your bones and joints.
- We don’t just give you exercises and stretches.
- Osteopaths give realistic treatment programs around your goals and your lifestyle.
- We don’t sell you on unnecessary treatment plans that make you believe that you need to pre pay on a “package”, then see us 3 times a week, for a year.
At the end of the day we are here to help you to get you the results you are looking for and we love what we do.
I can't think of a day that I didn't look forward to come into the practice to help my patients achieve a better quality of life.
What are the 3 main streams of Osteopathy?
These 3 streams allows the Osteopath to adjust their treatment and enhance the healing capacity of the body by promoting increased range of movement, optimal blood flow, healthy nervous system tone, lymphatic drainage, and sometimes a somato-emotional release.
1. Musculoskeletal / Structural
You may be experiencing:
Upper back pain/shoulder pain
Low back pain/sciatica
Hip / knee / ankle / foot pain
Carpal tunnel/wrist forearm pain
Chronic pain management
Rehabilitation pre and post-surgery
This stream includes a range of techniques aimed at restoring mobility to an otherwise restricted part of the body. These restrictions can sometimes create postural concerns that span across multiple parts of the body and also localised pain.
You may be experiencing:
Headaches / migraines
Jaw pain / ear pain / neck pain
Sleeping / concentration issues
Stress / anxiety
The French Osteopath Jean-Pierre Barral developed a system of manual therapy that evaluates and treats using gentle, specifically placed manual forces to encourage normal mobility, tone and inherent tissue motion of the viscera (organs). Factors such as inflammation, infection, trauma, surgery, diet, toxins and emotional stress can cause fascial (connective tissue) strains around the organs disrupting their motion and thus affecting their physiological function.
This in turn sets up abnormal patterns of tension throughout the vast fascial network, the effects of which are often seen far from their sources, as well as detrimentally impacting upon the integrated systems of the musculoskeletal, vascular, nervous, urogenital, respiratory, digestive and lymphatic systems.
By treating the movement dynamics of the fascial system your Osteopath is able to increase proprioceptive communication within the body, thereby relieving patients of symptoms of dysfunction, pain and even poor posture.
3. Osteopathy in the Cranial Field
The central nervous system also has its own involuntary rhythmic motion.
The essence of cranial motion is evident even in single celled organisms and is maintaining our vitality from conception to the grave.
There is also a movement of the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) around the brain, within the meninges. Brain cells require circulation of the CSF so cells can receive nourishment and oxygen.
At Elements Osteo our Osteopaths have a special interest in this field. It requires many hours of dedication to fine tune palpation skills and a high level of patience including post graduate training that is expensive and time consuming. It requires a special passion to pursue its high demands.
A high degree of discipline and humility is required to tune into the cranial mechanism. A balance and intention that requires many hours of specialty training in this field. We work with the bones of the cranium, the fascial coverings (meninges), the fluids, and especially the central nervous system (the brain) as well as any other area the body indicates, to access the whole person.
The intricate anatomy of the human skull is actually designed for motion. This motion is very slight and the trained Osteopath can feel this slight motion. By synchronising with this slight motion, the Cranial Osteopath can help treat the whole body, not just the cranium.
There has been much controversy around the validity of Cranial Osteopathy, yet those who have experienced its potency appreciate and value this method. There has also been extensive research into Cranial Osteopathy. Some of the references are listed below.
- Mills MV, Henley CE, Barnes LLB, et al. The use of osteopathic manipulative treatment as adjuvant therapy in children with recurrent acute otitis media. Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. 2003;157:861-866.
- Steele KM, Carreiro JE, Viola JH, et al. Effect of osteopathic manipulative treatment on middle ear effusion following acute otitis media in young children: a pilot study. J Amer Osteopath Assoc. 2014;114(6): 436-447.
- Pizzolorusso G, Turi P, Barlafante G, et al. Effect of osteopathic manipulative treatment on gastrointestinal function and length of stay of preterm infants: an exploratory study. Chiropractic and Manual Therapies. 2011;19:15.
- Cerritelli F, Pizzolorusso G, Ciardelli F, La Mola E, Cozzolino V, Renzeti C, D’Incecco C, Fusilli P, Sabatino G, Barlafante G. Effect of osteopathic manipulative treatment on length of stay in a population of preterm infants: a randomized controlled trial. BMC Pediatrics. 2013;13:65.
- Shi X, Rehrer S, Prajapati P, et al. Effect of cranial osteopathic manipulative medicine on cerebral tissue oxygenation. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2011;111 (12):660-666.
- Jäkel A, von Hauenschild P. Therapeutic effects of cranial osteopathic manipulative medicine: a systematic review. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2011;111(12): 685-693.
- King HH. “As the twig is bent, so grows the tree”: part 2 [review of Lessard S, Gagnon I, Trottier N. Exploring the impact of osteopathic treatment on cranial asymmetries associated with nonsynostotic plagiocephaly in infants. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2011;17(4):193-198]. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2012;112(1):11-12.
- Zubcevik N. Cranial palpation pressures used by osteopathy students [letter]. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2009;109(7):379-380. http://www.jaoa.org/content /109/7/379.2.full. Accessed December 29, 2011.
- Frymann V. Learning difficulties of children viewed in the light of the osteopathic concept. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 1976;76(1):46-61.
- Frymann VM, Carney RE, Springall P. Effect of osteopathic medical management on neurologic development in children. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 1992;92(6):729-744.Magoun HI. Osteopathy in the Cranial Field. 3rd ed. Kirksville, MO: Journal Printing Co; 1976.
- Lopez D, King HH, Knebl JA, Kosmopoulos V, Collins D, Patterson RM. Effect of comprehensive osteopathic manipulative treatment on balance in elderly patients: a pilot study. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2011;111(6):382-388
A brief history of Osteopathy.
Hi, I'm Andrew Taylor Still, but you can call me AT Still. I developed Osteopathy in 1874 and some say I pioneered the concept of “wellness” and recognized the importance of treating illness within the context of the whole body. Osteopathy was originally developed as a Complementary Therapy by a doctor, for doctors. It involves hands on methods to help the body heal disease. The first school of osteopathic medicine opened in Kirksville, MO in 1892.
What is Dry Needling?
Dry needling is a technique where a fine needle is inserted into the skin, tissue and muscles with the intention of stimulating and disrupting the tissue.
The needles are “dry” which means no fluid in inserted into the body. The insertion of the dry needles should produce a reaction, resulting in muscle relaxation.
The treatment is often used to treat myofascial trigger points, which are spots (commonly known as “knots”) in the muscle that are hypersensitive and irritable and are usually responsible for tenderness and referred pain.
Dry needling is a neurophysiological evidence-based treatment technique that requires effective manual assessment of the neuromuscular system.
Research supports that dry needling improves pain control, reduces muscle tension, normalizes biochemical and electrical dysfunction of motor end plates, and facilitates an accelerated return to active rehabilitation. Treatments focus on the musculoskeletal and nervous systems.
Dry Needling is able to stimulate neural pathways which blocks pain by disrupting pain messages being sent to the central nervous system.
Dry Needling has been shown to help the following conditions:
- Acute and chronic tendonitis
- Post-surgical pain
- Chronic pain conditions
- Lower back pain
- Athletic and sports-related overuse injuries
- Post-traumatic injuries, motor vehicle accidents, and work related injuries