You’ve booked appointments with physios and chiropractors and massage therapists without success. So why should you consider osteopathy? What sets osteopaths apart from other health practitioners?
In this post, I’ll explain what osteopathy is and why it may be the right fit if you’re still struggling with pain or physical limitations despite other manual therapy appointments.
What is osteopathy?
Osteopathy is a type of manual therapy involving massage, stretching, movement, and manipulations to treat pain or stiffness.
As the NHS describes, osteopathy works on the basis that bones, muscles, ligaments and connective tissue must function smoothly for overall health and wellbeing.
During treatment, osteopaths like myself aim to increase joint mobility, relieve muscular tension, enhance blood supply to tissues and generally help the body to heal.
We want to encourage your body to function at its best.
Our bodies do have the ability to heal themselves and work through a lot of different physical issues. But sometimes they get a little stuck. As osteopaths, we understand how your body should work when it’s healthy. We aim to get you as close to that as possible.
So, how is osteopathy different from other types of treatment?
Osteopathy is a varied profession, and each practitioner brings a unique set of skills and experience to their treatments. Some osteopaths are very holistic; others, myself included, take a more medical approach.
Before studying osteopathy, I worked as a sports massage therapist. During my training and practice, I’ve also worked with and learned from strength and conditioning coaches, orthopaedic surgeons, chiropractors and physiotherapists.
Honestly? I just stole the best bits of each and bundled them into my practise as an osteopath.
Your individual needs always guide how I approach treatment. Sometimes that might mean I suggest manipulations or acupuncture. Sometimes I might prescribe some exercises. I may even refer you for a scan or to another practitioner, like a physiotherapist or sports massage therapy.
For me, osteopathy is about connecting the dots between your pain, your history, and the best treatment to get you moving correctly again.
What can I expect from an osteopathy appointment?
When you book an appointment at Excel Therapy, one of the first things we’ll talk about is why you’ve come to see us.
Most people book an appointment because of some pain or physical limitation. I think the most important place to start is why it’s important to you that we improve or remove this pain. We need to pinpoint that, so we can build on a treatment plan and know what we’re working to achieve.
Movement goals create parameters for us to aim for and help us decide what treatment is best for you. I usually find there’s an underlying cause; sometimes it may be something you’ve never really considered.
Maybe it’s the minor car accident that created a niggle in your back, which has forced your body to compensate in different ways. Perhaps you work at a computer all day, and your back pain flares up when you’re particularly stressed.
Our bodies are wired to move in a certain way, so I’ll also work with you to make sure you’re not moving in a way that is exacerbating any pain. That could be improving your squatting technique at the gym, or showing you how to sit better at your desk.
There are lots of exercise programs out there. You’ve probably seen them. They shout things like “the ONE exercise to solve back pain”. Those might work nine times out of ten, but what if you’re the one person it doesn’t work for? That’s why we take such an individual approach and combine such a variety of medical and manual therapy techniques in our osteopathy practice.