What does an osteopath do?
An osteopath is a qualified health professional, who uses a variety of techniques to help treat various disorders of the body that normally relate to the musculoskeletal system. The techniques used tend to involve spinal manipulation, massaging of various muscle tissues and stretching and loosening muscle groups.
Osteopaths rely heavily on the use of what is known as biomechanics. This refers to how the different parts of the muscular systems within the body relate to each other and interact with each other.
In this sense, osteopathic therapy is considered a holistic technique in that osteopaths believe that any injury or damage to any part of the body has an effect on other parts of the body, and as such, the whole body needs to be treated.
Osteopathic therapy is considered a fairly gentle approach to dealing with structural problems of the body and is considered less invasive than the work that other practitioners, such as chiropractors, often do.
Osteopathic Therapy Treatments
Before undertaking any type of treatment, an osteopath will take a detailed medical history that should include any illnesses or ailments, as well as any ongoing medical issues. People often approach an osteopath with a muscular system problem, such as ongoing pain in the back or neck, arthritis or sciatica.
In order to provide effective treatment, the osteopath needs to understand the person and their lifestyle in order to decide what type of therapy is most appropriate. An osteopath will often be able to give additional advice in terms of lifestyle in such areas as diet and exercise that may help deal with any current issues and help prevent future problems.
It is worth bearing in mind that after any type of osteopathic therapy treatment, the individual may feel quite tired for a day or two. When the body has been out of order, it tends to overcompensate, and when corrected, the increased tension in the body will need to be let go of. This release can sometimes manifest itself as lethargy or headaches, but it should be temporary and pass quickly.
Osteopaths are often involved in both helping to prevent and to deal with all types of sporting injuries that involve any type of manipulation of the muscular system. These can be specific injuries that are caused by an incident or more subtle types of injuries that may be developed over time by bad posture or habits.
One of the most common ones is with people who play golf or tennis, often recreationally, yet in different ways manage to distort their physical posture over time. An osteopath will be able to help reset the body, both by gentle manipulation of the muscles and ligaments and also by giving advice on how to prevent future damage.
When consulting an osteopath, it is important to make sure they are properly trained, and of registered with the appropriate professional body and abide by its code of conduct.
The standard training for an osteopath normally a five- or six-year university degree, coupled with a set number of hours of practical experience. A qualified osteopath will also know when not to treat a person.