Osteopathy has played a long-term role in helping people recover from a range of injuries and conditions related to bone, muscle, ligament or joint problems.
As it doesn’t involve the use of drugs or surgery, it is a very non-invasive solution that treats physical conditions with the gentle manipulation, stretching or realigning of the affected area.
Many people find it to be appealing for this reason, though the benefits are usually best felt after a series of sessions with a skilled osteopath.
Here are some of the common conditions that osteopathy can treat.
Lower Back Pain
Lower back pain is defined as an ache, tension or stiffness in the lower back. It is common for people who have largely sedentary jobs, whether working, studying, driving or simply sitting. It can also be caused by poor posture, lifting incorrectly, or bending uncomfortably for a long period of time.
Lower back pain rarely has a more serious cause, but is sometimes diagnosed as sciatica if it affects the lower pelvis, buttocks and/or legs. It can be treated or controlled with specific exercises done regularly; taking ibuprofen to remove any inflammation, and adjusting one’s posture. An osteopath can help with this.
Neck pain (or a stiff neck) is very common and not usually anything to worry about. It can be caused by something as simple as sleeping in an awkward position; using a computer for too long, or from sitting in a drought. It can also be a symptom of anxiety or stress.
This condition can normally be treated at home by taking painkillers, using an anti-inflammatory gel or heat pack on the area, and/or gentle neck exercises. However, if the problem persists or keeps returning as a result of bad posture, it can be useful to visit an osteopath to see what they could do for you.
Shoulder pain is often a symptom of another problem such as poor posture; a frozen shoulder; shoulder instability; osteoarthritis (see below); a broken or fractured bone in the surrounding upper body, or a rotator cuff disorder (common in older people).
It can be treated with ibuprofen/paracetemol and applying heat or ice packs to the affected area, and it advisable to avoid any activity that may irritate the problem. Osteopathy can very often help to treat shoulder pain by manipulating/stimulating the area. In severe cases, surgery or cortico-steroid injections would also be options.
There are two types of arthritis, the most common of which is osteoarthritis. This affects around 8 million people and is a result of the weakening of the cartilage lining in the joint(s).
The other type is rheumatoid arthritis, which affects more than 400,000 people nationwide. This is caused by the body’s immune system attacking the cartilage of certain joints, which leads to pain and swelling.
There is no cure for arthritis, but the onset of the condition can be slowed down with medication; regular osteopathy/physiotherapy, and generally staying active. In severe cases, surgery may be available on the NHS including joint replacement and bone re-alignment.
Sports injuries are the reason many people seek osteopathy and are caused by straining muscles during training; overtraining; not warming up properly before exercise or pushing oneself beyond one’s fitness level.
The injury can be sudden (resulting from a strain or an accident) or develop over time. The latter is known as an overuse injury and is caused by poor technique or training intensively over a long period of time.
Osteopathy is usually used to treat overuse injuries, or from tired/aching muscles that bring chronic pain or discomfort. Severe or sudden injuries such as broken bones, fractures, dislocations or head injuries will require emergency medical attention.
Surprising Uses for Osteopathy
Liverpool Osteopaths believe that many conditions or ailments are caused by underlying problems in other parts of the body.
The benefits of osteopathy in the ways outlined here can therefore also be used to treat problems such as:
• Recurring headaches/migraines
• Severe period pain
• Digestive disorders
• Colic in babies
• Restricted mobility
• Restlessness/muscle twitches.