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What is Osteopathy?

Osteopathic medicine is a unique system in natural medicine developed in America by Dr. James Taylor Still, which has spread worldwide. On 1st July 1993, Queen Elizabeth signed the Osteopaths Bill, making Osteopathy the first alternative health care system to achieve statutory recognition in Europe. Combining joint manipulation, physical therapy, and postural re-education, Osteopathy is effective in treating spinal and joint pathologies, arthritis, digestive disorders, menstrual problems and chronic pain.

Osteopathy considers and treats the patient as a whole rather than narrowly focusing on a specific ailment. Doctors of osteopathic medicine believe that the structure of the body is intimately related to function and are subject to a wide range of disorders. In treating patients, osteopathic doctors utilise various forms of gentle physical manipulation, which allow the body’s innate self-healing mechanism to operate more efficiently.

Although Osteopathy is very effective in treating pain and chronic illness, it typically looks for the deeper causes underlying serious health conditions. One example is coronary heart disease. Osteopathy views this disease as having a muscular skeletal component, and with appropriate manipulation substantial benefits can result.

Conditions that benefit from osteopathic treatment:

Research has confirmed what has already been observed through practical application, viz. that there are few health concerns that cannot benefit from Osteopathic care. Osteopathic treatment can help resolve conditions that previously failed to respond to medication and surgery.

Who can benefit from osteopathy?

Osteopathy aids patients suffering from:

  • Spinal and joint conditions
  • Arthritis
  • Allergies
  • Cardiac diseases
  • Hiatus hernias
  • High blood pressure
  • Headaches
  • Sciatica and various other disorders.

What to expect during an osteopathic consultation:

A thorough case history will be taken that will be followed by a clinical examination with primary attention to body mechanics. Be prepared to undress ass muscular skeletal function can be properly assessed only with the body exposed.

The usual clinical examinations will be done, which may include:

  • Body mass and length.
  • Blood pressure.
  • Urine analysis.
  • Ear, nose and throat inspection.
  • Fundoscopy.
  • Auscultation of heart and lung sounds.

Osteopathic diagnosis includes the screening and evaluation of:

  • Posture and gait - how a person holds him- or herself while standing and sitting, and during activities such as walking.
  • Motion- testing evaluates all moving parts for restrictions, hyper-mobility, pain and abnormalities, e.g. crepitation in the joint. For example, a patient may be asked to complete various body movements such as bending, side-bending, extension or rotation for both specific and general areas of the body.
  • Symmetry - to notice one-sided use of any part of the body and subsequent stress. Physicians also look for increased or decreased curvature to the normal spinal pattern.
  • The soft tissues - by inspection and palpitation for skin changes, hardening of muscles, temperature changes, tenderness, reflex activity and excessive fluid retention.

Patient re-education is an integral part of osteopathic treatment and provides important tools for self-care.

Classical osteopathic practitioners will use the full-body adjustment as originally used by Dr. A T Still. This is a holistic full-body therapeutic treatment with adaptation for the individual case.

Special investigations may be requested in certain conditions, e.g. if there is suspicion of deeper pathology, like X-rays, bone density tests, MRI or CT scans, sonar and blood tests.

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