Thanks for asking a great question and one that we could answer by reeling off a list of conditions, without really offering any reasons or rationale as to why osteopathy can treat these problems. So maybe the question is really Why does osteopathy treat…? (fill in the blank)
As osteopaths we treat a wide range of problems and it would be fair to say that most of these are of a musculo-skeletal nature (muscles, bones, ligaments and other soft tissues). But osteopathy is not limited to just these tissues alone. The reason is because the osteopathic philosophy of treating the body as a whole and not as isolated bits, means that we will address and have the ability to influence the way the body works as an integrated whole. In other words, not only is your knee bone connected to your thigh bone, your thigh bone connected to your… (you get the picture, right?), but your organs and body systems are all inter-related and therefore will influence each other, to a greater or lesser extent. So when we are working on your painful low back, we will be influencing other organs and tissues that are related through physical and neurological ways.
Our bodies are fantastic at compensating when things aren’t working 100% and whilst this might be good in the short term, it may lead to problems in the longer term. It’s a little like playing the game of Jenga: you can only remove so many bricks (compensating pieces) before the whole stack comes crashing down. In much the same way, our body can compensate and adapt over a period of time, but eventually it will run out of compensatory mechanisms and bigger problems may arise. These could be very obvious physical problems i.e. the painful hip and low back because of a previous unresolved ankle strain, or they could be at a deeper/constitutional level. i.e poor natural tissue healing, due to lack of rest, poor sleep, poor hydration, poor nutrition or an over-reliance on anti-inflammatory medications. So whatever the compensations are, the osteopath’s job is to deal with the factors that are obstructing your return to health.
So it’s not about reeling off a list of conditions we can or can’t treat, but more about pushing all those Jenga bricks back in line and letting the body restore its health. We do this by applying a sound rationale to your treatment and facilitating the body’s self-restoration processes to take place, whatever the ailment may be. But, for those of you who prefer a list:
Commonly treated conditions:
Low Back and Neck Pain
Pre and post-natal muscle and joint pain
Headaches and Migraine
Hip and Knee and Ankle Pain
Generalised Aches and Pains
Shoulder Injuries including Frozen Shoulder
Tennis and Golfer’s Elbow
Arthritic and Rheumatoid Pain
Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI)
Whiplash and car accident trauma
This list is by no means exhaustive and our approach means that we treat the person, not the problem, addressing all of the factors that contribute to or prolong your problem.