Osteopathy is an established, recognised system of diagnosis and treatment that lays its main emphasis on the structural integrity of the body. Osteopathy is used to successfully treat a range of conditions varying from headache, facial pain and migraine, to repetitive strain injury (RSI) and tennis elbow and for many other sports and disc injuries. As well as providing pain relief osteopathy can be used simply to maintain general well being.
Osteopathy uses many of the diagnostic procedures used in conventional medical assessment and diagnosis. Its main strength, however, lies in the unique way the patient is assessed from a mechanical, functional and postural standpoint and the manual methods of treatment applied to suit the needs of the individual patient. The focus on postural assessment makes osteopathy an obvious choice for the treatment of back and neck pain. Less obviously osteopathy is also very effective for the treatment of, for example, pain during pregnancy which sometimes arises from underlying mechanical and functional causes.
Osteopaths use their hands both to investigate the underlying cause of pain and to carry out treatment using a variety of manipulative techniques. These techniques range from muscle and connective tissue stretching (for instance, to ease sciatica and trapped nerves) to high velocity thrust techniques designed to improve the range of movement of a joint. Gentle releasing techniques are often used particularly when treating children or elderly patients.
Osteopathy can be performed across the whole age spectrum from babies, where osteopathy can assist infantile colic and sleeplessness, to the elderly, to treat arthritic pain and stiffness.