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  • Writer's pictureIan Thornley

Why see an osteopath?

Simple - Osteopathy is a fantastic approach to healthcare! Ok, I may be a little bit biased but the impact that osteopathy can have is significant and what I want to explore with this blog is how osteopathy can help you and why you should consider osteopathy amongst all the options that are available to you.

Osteopathy is a very holistic approach to health and is based around a number of principles, the main ones being:

  • The body functions as a whole. This means each part affects or influences each and every other part and the body is more than just a sum of the individual parts.

  • Structure governs function, and vice versa. If the structure of the body is compromised (for example through injury, overuse, strain, etc.), then it is very likely to have an adverse affect on its function (for example manifesting as pain, stiffness, instability, etc.). The opposite can also be true. How the body is used can affect the structure for example lifting heavy weights can increase the size of the muscles used.

  • The body has it's own 'medicine chest' and will work to heal itself. This can be stimulated and supported by removing restrictive barriers which usually allows the body to heal all but the most serious conditions.

  • The 'Rule of the Artery is supreme'. A bit of a strange term, this one but simply a principle that recognises that every cell in the body needs to have effective supply of nutrients and effective removal of waste products in order to be healthy. Having an effective blood supply to each cell facilitates this.

So the question is - what does this all mean in practice.

Firstly osteopaths, including myself are trained to degree level, and registered with a professional body, the General Osteopathic Council. What this means is you can have a high degree of confidence in osteopaths in the UK.

When you come to see me I have your health as the priority. As you can see from the principles I will look at more than just the part that is sore or not working well. I will want to understand how the issue came on, what makes it better and worse, and how your health in general is.

Why so much information? One of the first things I am looking for are any red flags. These could be signs or symptoms which may indicate the possibility of something more serious going on. Musculoskeletal pain can sometimes be symptoms of other body systems not working well. For example pain into the left shoulder can be one of the symptoms associated with a heart problem.

While clearly not all left shoulder pain is heart related I will ask questions to help me understand the likelihood of this and therefore determine how we proceed. If we think there is anything of concern present then I will refer you on to your GP or other specialist for further investigation.

So back to the main question: Why see an osteopath?

There is a long list of 'issues' that I see people for which includes back and neck pain, headaches, issues in the lower leg including hip, knee and ankle pain, issues in the upper limb including shoulder elbow and wrist pain to name but a few.

I'm sure you can see though, that due to the holistic nature of osteopathy it is likely that more than just the immediate area of the problem is likely to be addressed. In fact the aim of treatment is to have you functioning well and back to your life as soon as possible.

Here are just some of the benefits you can look forward to:

Pain Relief: I commonly provide osteopathic treatments alleviate various types of pain, including back pain, neck pain, joint pain, and headaches. I use manual techniques such as massage, stretching, and manipulation to reduce muscle tension, improve joint mobility, and relieve pressure on nerves, which can effectively reduce your pain.

Improved Mobility and Function: Osteopathic treatment aims to restore balance to the musculoskeletal system, which can enhance overall mobility and function. By addressing restrictions in movement and improving circulation, osteopathy can help individuals move more freely and perform daily activities with greater ease.

Enhanced Healing: Osteopathic treatment techniques can stimulate the body's natural healing mechanisms. By manipulating soft tissues and working with the musculoskeletal system, osteopaths can facilitate the body's ability to repair and regenerate damaged tissues, leading to faster recovery from injuries, aches and pains.

A Holistic Approach to Health: Osteopathy considers the interconnectedness of the body's structure and function. I assess not only the specific area of your pain or dysfunction but also the underlying causes and contributing factors, which may involve lifestyle habits, posture, and emotional well-being. While the most common request I get is to help people out of pain, pain is often a symptom of the issue, rather than the problem itself. This holistic approach aims to address the root causes of health issues rather than just treating symptoms, with the aim of giving you lasting resolution of the problem.

Preventative Care: Osteopathic treatments are not only used to alleviate existing symptoms but also to prevent future health problems. By maintaining good function of the musculoskeletal system, such as mobility, strength and balance, osteopathy can help prevent injuries, reduce the risk of chronic conditions, and promote overall wellness. Regular osteopathic sessions may contribute to long-term health and vitality,. keeping you doing the things you love.

My patients overwhelmingly find osteopathy to be a very well tolerated approach to treatment. In many cases some relief will be experienced after the first appointment It's important to note though that the amount of treatment needed will depend on you, the individual, and your own set of personal experiences and goals. Side effects from osteopathic treatment are rare and where experienced will usually be limited to some soreness in the 24-48 hours following treatment.

If you're not sure if osteopathy is right for you why not give me a call on 07738017206. We can have a chat about your symptoms and I will give you an honest indication of whether I think I will be able to help. You can also book an initial appointment online where we can go into things in more detail and develop a treatment plan for you.

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