A question we (the osteopaths here at Natural Balance) are often asked… so here goes…
Osteopathy has evolved a great deal since it was established by Andrew Taylor Still in the 1880s. Osteopathy is now a profession that is fully regulated in the UK, by the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC). Our treatment is informed by the latest medical research as well as incorporating our experience of what types of treatment from our osteopathic ‘toolbox’ are most effective with our very diverse set of patients.
The Institute of Osteopathy defines osteopathy as “a method of assessing, treating and preventing a wide range of health problems”.
One of the key differences in how we, as osteopaths, approach this assessment and treatment is looking at each person as unique, whilst ensuring we capture a very broad understanding of their lifestyle, body, environment and medical history.
Although the body is amazing at regulating itself, it can take only a small change in life to throw up a surprise that means it can becomes overloaded. There is very rarely one factor that is behind any pain a patient is experiencing, so we very much focus on the physical, environmental and emotional factors that are most relevant to each person. Our treatment plans are very much individual and based around helping the body to heal itself.
This means we will ask questions that can appear unrelated to a person’s pain and we may spend time assessing your hip and pelvis if you have neck pain. The structure and function of the whole body are linked, so a painful area may be the result of a change elsewhere.
We also work closely with colleagues within health care, referring patients on to others if appropriate, and vice versa.
Osteopathy as a profession
To become an osteopath we needed to study for at least 4–5 years, but the learning didn’t stop when we qualified. An important part of how we work, and part of our regulation by The General Osteopathic Council (GOsC), is the amount of time we continue to study. We all expand our practice, developing specialisms in different treatment types and symptoms as we keep learning.
We must take part in at least 30 hours a year of Continuing Professional Development (CPD), part of which we do regularly as a team. This involves courses on osteopathic techniques, the latest evidence and research around the areas we treat as well as ensuring we fully stay up to date in our patient screening and assessment. For example Emma’s most recent course was on the diagnosis and management of different types of headaches and Matt has just attended a full day focused on helping people with persistent pain. James has just completed a new course on treating neck pain.
So what can osteopathy do for you?
Osteopathy is an effective treatment for a wide range of conditions, impacting people of all ages. Below are some examples of the types of aches, pains and issues we can help with:
- General, acute and chronic lower and upper back pain
- Some forms of Sciatica
- Uncomplicated/mechanical neck pain (not whiplash)
- Joint pains – shoulders, wrists, hips, knees, ankles etc.
- Muscle spasms
- Minor sports injuries and tensions
- Generalised aches and pains
- Tennis elbow (related to associated musculoskeletal conditions)
- Headaches arising from the neck (cervicogenic)
- Occupational strain
- Arthritic or rheumatic pain
- Digestion problems
So, that is a brief summary of osteopathy and how we work here at Natural Balance Therapies. If you do have any questions please call Emma, James or Matt on 01273 771441 or send us an email.
If you wish to find out more about osteopathy then these links are very useful:
Insitute of Osteopathy http://www.osteopathy.org
When we work
Osteopathy is available 6 days a week (Sunday to Friday) at Natural Balance Therapies:
Emma is available on Wednesdays and Fridays
James is available on Mondays and Thursdays
Matt is available on Tuesdays and Sundays.