Because an osteopath works with other medical professionals providing conventional medical services, osteopathy is considered a complementary therapy. Using manual manipulation and physical therapy techniques designed to strengthen the body’s musculoskeletal structure, osteopathy seeks to improve an individual’s overall health so the body is better able to help heal itself.
Centering on the spine, joints, and muscles, osteopathy works to improve the patient’s lymphatic, circulatory, and nervous systems in addition to the organs. This improves the chance of a successful response to the medical treatment being provided. As a non-invasive set of services, it focuses on improving the overall health of the body as opposed to limiting treatment to an injury or illness.
Although osteopathy is largely drug-free, an osteopath is trained to serve as a primary care doctor, including paediatrics and internal medicine, and is authorised to prescribe drugs as needed. An osteopath is qualified to perform surgery, as required, when it’s necessary as part of the holistic treatment. They are also able to provide information on pain management and injury prevention. A doctor of osteopathy is qualified to make referrals.
Osteopathic treatment can be especially helpful in treating ailments like headaches, digestive problems, poor posture, arthritis, sciatica, neck and back pain, tennis elbow and other sports injuries, repetitive strain injuries, tendinitis, vertigo, as well as headaches and sleep problems. Treatment can include developing exercises that can help improve strength as well as relaxation practices that can help a patient become more self-aware as part of an overall approach to healing the body. Some of the specific treatments offered include stretching muscles and joint capsules, spinal manipulation to ensure proper alignment, rhythmic joint manipulation referred to as articulation, visceral manipulation which involves moving the pelvic and abdominal regions, applying gentle pressure where appropriate, the use of resistance which helps muscles work properly, and soft tissue massage.
The osteopath’s hands are an important part of diagnosing and treating a patient’s complete medical condition. Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (OMM) is the practice of using these techniques and treatments to diagnose and treat medical problems and improve health.