What Is an Osteopath?
An osteopath is a manual therapist who has undertaken a five year university degree. They have studied the anatomy and physiology of the body and learned in detail how the structure of the body determines its function. Osteopaths learn how to use their hands in a careful and appropriate way to address pain or dysfunction in the body in order to allow you to take on life without being held back by injury.
Osteopaths use these manual techniques to improve the function of the musculoskeletal system. These techniques may include massage, joint manipulation, stretching, myofascial release, dry needling or cupping. We refer to these techniques as our ‘toolbox’! As osteopaths we aim to have a wide and varied toolbox of techniques at our disposal. This means that we can vary the choice and pressure of these techniques to suit the individual person and their individual complaint.
How Often Should You See an Osteopath?
Osteopaths believe that the body has an intrinsic ability to heal itself. Our job is to help it along that pathway.
The frequency of your visits will be determined by a variety of factors. Your osteopath will make a diagnosis based on the description of your complaint that you give us and a physical examination of your body. Most acute injuries have a predictable timeline to healing. This may be a matter of two to four treatment sessions. Chronic or long-standing conditions can be a little harder to determine. It will depend on whether your condition is caused by or aggravated by an activity that you are performing regularly and whether we can adjust how or how often you are doing this.
Our aim is always to be your helper. By providing advice and exercises we are giving you the tools to manage and improve your condition so that you need less regular treatment in the longer term. Taking charge of your health is important, and feeling as though you have control over what happens to your body is part of our long-term treatment goal.
If you are dealing with chronic pain, regular trips to the osteopath can be helpful in easing your pain and improving the movement your entire body. Some people find that monthly treatment keeps them going and prevents little niggles becoming more significant. We want to see your body moving well as a complete unit. This gives you the best chance to get back to your regular routines and exercise.
When dealing with acute issues, you can see your osteopath whenever you feel it is necessary. If you seem to be coming up against acute issues more regularly it is a good idea to try and get to the bottom of why this is happening. We want to fix the cause instead of always dealing with the acute symptom.
Pregnancy puts immense strain on a woman’s body. To alleviate the aches and pains that come with pregnancy, regular trips to the osteopath can relieve back pain and pelvic instability as your centre of gravity changes and your ligaments become more flexible. Keeping on top of issues as they arise can help avoid severe imbalance and pain as the pregnancy progresses.
There’s one problem that can strike anyone regardless of age or gender – poor posture. Osteopaths can help relieve pain that is associated with poor posture but more importantly be able to provide you with the tools to create lasting changes that will improve your posture over time.
Older adults can visit an osteopath to address the muscular and joint changes that happen along-side Osteoarthritis. As you age, your joints begin to feel the strain of years of dancing, jumping, and walking. Old injuries start to flare up again, and osteoarthritis is common among this age group. Osteopaths cannot reverse the joint changes that occur with this condition, however we can help to improve your mobility and decrease your pain levels by ensuring that the muscles stay supple and flexible and develop an exercise plan that encourages gentle movement to help prevent the often associated stiffness that comes along with arthritis.
Osteopaths look to a holistic approach. This can include natural supplements, dietary changes, and lifestyle changes that aim to improve your health overall. Instead of a band-aid solution which only addresses the symptoms, an osteopath can help you figure out what the cause of the problem is and how we can avoid it returning altogether.