Osteopathy is an established and recognised healthcare profession that utilises a patient centred, physical approach to diagnosis and treatment. It emphasises the role of the body structure (somatic / musculoskeletal system) in restoring, maintaining and promoting physical and psychosocial health and wellbeing. This approach ensures that symptoms of musculoskeletal disorders are considered in the context of a patient’s medical history, as well as their lifestyle and personal circumstances.
Osteopaths have been regulated by statute since the Osteopaths Act 1993, which requires all Osteopaths to be registered with and adhere to the standards of practice and conduct decreed by the General Osteopathic Council. Osteopaths are subject to a structured training (normally 4-5 years full time) and continued professional development to ensure that the highest standards of patient care are maintained.
Osteopathic assessment uses highly developed palpation skills as well as observing functional mobility in both the symptomatic and non-symptomatic areas of the body to identify the presence of at least one of four diagnostic criteria: tissue texture abnormality, asymmetry, restricted motion and tenderness.
This assessment forms the basis for the diagnosis, treatment, prevention and rehabilitation of musculoskeletal pain, dysfunction and disorders. Dysfunction commonly presents as pain. It can come from compromised posture, injury, occupational strain, muscular imbalance, restricted joint mobility, general illness, or as part of the normal ageing process.
In the presence of musculoskeletal (somatic) dysfunction, treatments primarily take the form of a manual therapy involving direct techniques such as soft tissue massage, mobilisations, articulations and muscle energy techniques, as well as indirect techniques such as myofascial and positional release. When indicated, spinal manipulation or High Velocity Low Amplitude Thrust techniques are also used.
Uses for Osteopathy
Andrew Beacham uses Osteopathy in conjunction with Medical Acupuncture as part of his package of care – predominately for the treatment of musculoskeletal and myofascial pain in order to help relieve the presenting symptoms and to encourage the patient’s body to heal and repair itself.
Common Presenting symptoms:
- Back Pain and stiffness including sciatica
- Neck pain and stiffness that is uncomplicated and musculoskeletal in origin
- Headaches especially related to neck conditions (cervicogenic) and migraine prevention
- TMJ and Jaw Pain
- Some Arthritic and Rheumatic conditions including Osteoarthritis (as an adjunct to usual care and exercise)
- Shoulder, Hip Knee and Elbow Pain
- Minor Sports Injuries and Work Related Disorders causing muscular strains, stiffness and spasm
- Rheumatic Pain and some neuralgia
- Generalised musculoskeletal aches and pains
- Circulatory Problems and Cramps
“The philosophy of treating the body as a whole, the person centred approach to patients, the knowledge that the body can heal it self, especially in true alignment which can be accomplished by manipulation of the musculoskeletal system…this is osteopathic medicine”
M.A. Wager, DO