Osteopathy is a hands on approach to healthcare. It recognises the important link between the structures of your body your and the way it works. Osteopaths focus on how skeleton, joints, muscles, nerves and circulation work together to improve your health & well-being.
Osteopathic therapists understand the body’s interrelated parts and the dynamic relationship between them. We can explain how a stiff hip can cause a sore shoulder or how knee pain can be traced back to a tight back. We also acknowledge that the interrelated nature of the body also applies to the interrelated nature of the person. Osteopathic therapists can help explain how stress from work or home affect your body’s ability to heal. This holistic approach allows Osteopaths to diagnose and treat a wide range of issues. Osteopaths combine their intellectual knowledge of anatomy along with what they feel through their hands to understand your personal story being told by your tissues. The therapist then uses gentle manipulation –alignment, mobilization and stretching to free restricted joints, tight muscles, tethered nerves and blockages around organs. The release of tension allows healing to occur.
There is no one, protocol-based technique that Osteopathic therapists use. Instead, several techniques such as cranio-sacral therapy, visceral manipulation, and musculoskeletal techniques may be used and often combined depending on which issues are being addressed. Your treatment is much more custom and versatile to best address your issues and provide you with the most effective long term results.
The word “osteopathy” comes from two Greek words meaning “bone” and “dysfunction”. The founder of osteopathy, Dr. Andrew Taylor Still, chose this name to highlight how the structure of the skeleton is vital to the proper function of the body’s systems. Misalignment of bones can cause dysfunction. Therefore manual osteopathic therapists assess, diagnose and treat disorders of the body’s structure as it relates to any of the body’s systems: muscular, skeletal, respiratory, cardiovascular, digestive, nervous or reproductive.
Osteopathic Therapy takes on a hands on approach to treatment, using their hands to diagnose and treat restrictions in the body that are preventing optimal body function. It helps to recover from pain and injury and provides a personalized treatment plan optimized to give you the most effective results.
Osteopathy is a form of drug-free non-invasive manual medicine that focuses on total body health by treating and strengthening the musculoskeletal framework,
which includes the joints, muscles and spine. Its aim is to positively affect the body’s nervous, circulatory and lymphatic systems. This therapy is a unique holistic (whole body) approach to health care. Osteopaths do not simply concentrate on treating the problem area, but use manual techniques to balance all the systems of the body, to provide overall good health and wellbeing.
Dr. Andrew Taylor Still established the practice of Osteopathy in the late 1800s in the United States of America, with the aim of using manual ‘hands on’ techniques to improve circulation and correct altered biomechanics, without the use of drugs.
The philosophy of Osteopathy is what sets it apart from other medical disciplines. The key principles are based on all parts of the body functioning together in an integrated manner. If one part of the body is restricted, then the rest of the body must adapt and compensate for this, eventually leading to inflammation, pain, stiffness and other health conditions. When the body is free of restrictions in movement, Osteopathic treatment assists the body with pain minimization, reduced stress and greater mobility providing the body with the opportunity to heal itself.
Osteopaths use a broad range of gentle hands-on techniques including soft tissue stretching, deep tactile pressure, and mobilization or manipulation of joints.
Osteopathic treatment in itself is not ‘preventative’. Osteopaths respect the body’s natural ability as a self-regulating mechanism and only intervene when pain or discomfort is present. The benefits of osteopathy are the general improvement in mobility and structural stability of the body. In turn, other systems of the body such as the circulatory, nervous and lymphatic systems function more effectively and for a number of general conditions, minimal treatment is required.
With our lives becoming increasingly busy, yet more sedentary, Osteopaths can offer prevention advice such as stretching exercises, lifting techniques, posture, breathing and stress reduction which is a great way for individuals to maintain their own health. In addition some lifestyle changes including diet or workplace ergonomics can dramatically improve ones health and reduce ongoing health costs. Early intervention by an Osteopath means you can be aware of potential sources of referred pain, and how you can make changes to your lifestyle now, so you won’t have to deal with the pain later on.
The first visit to an osteopath will run along the same lines as an initial visit to a GP. A complete medical history is taken and questions asked about lifestyle, diet and emotional status. The osteopath will want to hear about all symptoms, as well as details of any past accidents or traumas, even if they may seem unrelated to the patient’s current problem.
The patient may be asked to remove some outer clothing and to perform some simple movements. This is so the osteopath can observe how the patient is using their body, identify any obvious mobility impairment and evaluate posture. Neurological and orthopaedic tests help the osteopath to eliminate possible underlying pathologies and differentiate the basis of the patient’s complaint.
Osteopaths are highly trained to manually locate points of restriction or excessive strain in various parts of the body. Using a finely tuned sense of touch or palpation, the osteopath will assess the spine, joints, muscles and tendons.
Initial appointment will take about 60 minutes to complete including full assessment and treatment. Treatment could include such techniques as soft tissue stretching, to increase blood flow and improve flexibility of joints and muscles; articulation to mobilize joints by being passively taken through their range of motion; and muscle energy, to release tightness on the muscles by alternatively being stretched and made to work against resistance
Because osteopathy emphasizes self-healing, an osteopath may also advise dietary changes, home exercise programs and lifestyle adjustments. All treatment programs are highly individualized and depend on the patient’s current condition, past history, and ability to adapt to change. Most simple problems often require only 4-6 treatments.
If you ignore the signs of back pain, this can develop into other forms of referred pain around the body, such as neck, shoulder or leg pain. Longer term this can have deep psychological ramifications which makes it harder for a patient to accept recovery as an achievable goal and like most long term health conditions can lead to depression.
According to osteopathic philosophy, all parts of the body are interconnected and affect each other. However, if someone experiencing back pain does visit an Osteopath, this means the back pain can be treated and potential referred pain can be avoided. Of course, this improves your overall health and wellbeing, allowing you to lead a more active and healthy lifestyle.
Osteopaths treat more than you think. Many patients present with complaints of aches in the head, back, neck, and heel/ foot pain; sciatica; shin splints; tennis elbow and repetitive strain injury. Other patients suffer from arthritis; digestive problems; carpal tunnel syndrome; whiplash, postural problems and many other conditions.
Osteopaths also deal regularly with patients who have been injured in the workplace, at home or while playing sport.
OsteoMed clinic is located in Toronto (Etobicoke) and we practice Osteopathy, Massage Therapy and Acupuncture. An experienced Registered Massage Therapist and Osteopathic Manual Practitioner are at your service in our Toronto (Etobicoke) location – please call or contact us for an appointment.