I often wish that A T Still, the founder of osteopathy, had thought a bit more about the naming of his new form of medicine. Osteo is from the Greek for bone (osteon) and in that one addition to the naming of osteopathy, he condemned us to being eternally associated with the skeleton, rather than the body as a whole, which is much more in keeping with the philosophy of osteopathy. The ‘pathy’ part is from the Greek word for suffering (pathos).
In truth, osteopathy is much more than the treatment of bones. You are a combination of many parts, including muscles, bones, joints, ligaments etc. and this is all governed and controlled by your good old nervous system. All of these things and more influence your health. This whole body approach is what makes osteopaths so effective, as we don’t just concentrate on the painful bits, although we aim to get those fixed for sure!
When you come to see us at the clinic, we take a full case history to understand all the reasons that have brought you to our door. There are all sorts of reasons why you have pain or discomfort and it’s our job to unravel the reasons behind this as well as treating the bits that hurt.
We address all the things that might be preventing you doing the things you want to (poor posture, poor blood or nerve supply, disturbed gut function, etc.). It’s a bit like playing detective around your body and we aim to unmask the culprits and make them play nicely again. Although we do concentrate on the physical elements of your problem, we will also ask you questions about nutrition, hydration, fitness etc. so we have a better idea how you tick and therefore how we can best help you.
As you can tell, it’s a lot more than just working on muscles!