Manual Osteopathy treatments are a kind of physical therapy which can help alleviate pain caused by a variety of conditions. A Manual Osteopath’s work is based on the philosophy that all of the structures of the human body function as a unit. If one area develops dysfunction it can create problems in the other systems, resulting in pain, not only locally, but in the other parts of the body as well.
By addressing the source of the problem and not concentrating on symptoms alone, a Manual Osteopath is able to alleviate discomfort without the use of invasive surgery or drugs that may help with pain but cause side effects.
Despite originating over 140 years ago, Manual Osteopathy is not very well known in contemporary society. It was developed in 1874 by Andrew Taylor Still MD, a physician and surgeon who was frustrated with what he viewed to be the ineffective and hazardous nature of remedies of that time.
Some of the medicines commonly given to patients were arsenic, castor oil, whiskey, and opium. Additionally, unsanitary surgical practices often resulted in more deaths than cures. Although the medications and treatments have changed since that time, many of the remedies prescribed by traditional medicine still aren’t optional solutions.
Dr.Still believed that the doctor’s role in treating disease was to restore proper musculoskeletal function to the body through correcting structural problems arising within joints, muscles and connective tissues, surgery in some cases, and very sparing use of drugs. He believed in preventive medicine and that the body would operate smoothly into old age, if properly maintained.
Manual Osteopathic therapy was developed to return proper function to every structure of the human body. The successful treatment allows blood and the nutrients it carries to flow freely throughout the circulatory system and helps the nervous system to function in the optimal fashion.
Muscles, joints, internal organs, connective tissues, nerves, and blood vessels function together in an integrated manner. If one part of the body isn’t functioning optimally the rest of the body must adapt and compensate for this, eventually leading to inflammation, pain, stiffness and other health conditions. Manual Osteopathy Practitioners can identify and correct these problems through a variety of treatment options.
The role of a Manual Osteopath is to find the source of the problems (not to focus on symptoms), and, through precise manual diagnosis and treatment, help the body heal itself.
A Manual Osteopath uses a sense of touch called, “palpation” to assess areas of weakness, tenderness, restrictions, or strain within the human body. This palpatory ability is not a gift but rather a trained skill that takes years to develop.
The “palpitation touch,” technique also allows a Manual Osteopathy practitioner to detect almost imperceptible motion present in all living tissues. This motion is called Primary Respiratory Motility (PRM). This ability is what distinguishes Manual Osteopaths from other practitioners, like physiotherapists, chiropractors or RMT’s, allowing them to precisely locate the source of the dysfunction and correct it without using excessive force.
At OsteoKlinika, each patient receives a Manual Osteopathic assessment and orthopedic testing, or checking of position and mobility of the specific structures. After the consultation and assessment are complete, we begin addressing the problems we’ve identified.
There are many manual treatment techniques that may be used to treat dysfunction between systems in the body. Some of the osteopathic techniques Manual Osteopaths use include:
- Osteo-articular (joint) Adjustments
- Muscle Energy Techniques (MET)
- Visceral (internal organs) Manipulation
- Myofascial Release Techniques (MFR)
- Cranio-Sacral Therapy (Cranial Osteopathy)
- Neuromuscular Therapy (NMT)
- Soft Tissue Techniques (including Massage)
- and many others...
This variety is part of why Manual Osteopathy is so effective. When mastered and applied appropriately, the techniques of Manual Osteopathy are very powerful and effective. Depending on specific findings during an evaluation of a particular patient, one or more of these techniques can be used during a single treatment session to discover and address the problem. Manual Osteopathy adjustments are precise and gentle, eliminating the danger of injury during the treatment.
A Manual Osteopathy Practitioner assesses the patient’s condition then treats the issue with physical therapy.
A typical visit to a Manual Osteopathy clinic consists of a full-body evaluation. During the evaluation the Manual Osteopathic practitioner will look at your posture and alignment of your body. He or she will check all of your joints including the spine, pelvis, ankles, knees, hips and shoulders, and evaluate the condition of your muscles, tendons and ligaments. A Manual Osteopath may also use their hands to palpate the position and motility of your internal organs and cranial (skull) bones.
In order to treat specific dysfunction Manual Osteopaths may use two types of manipulative therapy: direct and indirect.
In the direct approach the affected tissues are moved towards restricted movement and past the restriction barrier (eg. spinal adjustments with MET). In indirect techniques they move the tight tissues towards the restriction and after finding the “point of balance”, they wait for the body’s inner ability to correct this dysfunction through the central nervous system response (eg. cranial corrections). Manual Osteopaths focus on tracing the changes in function that have occurred over a period of time.
A typical case where Manual Osteopathic treatment might help would be for a patient who falls hard on his bottom while skiing. The person develops low back pain, headache, and digestive dysfunctions following his injury. The Manual Osteopath begins with an assessment. The Manual Osteopath may detect misalignments of the pelvis, sacrum, or spinal joint. The patient’s liver may shift downward (ptosis), his muscles may go into protective spasm, and his cranio-sacral system may develop restrictions affecting functioning of the central nervous system. In order to remove discomfort, all of these dysfunctions have to be dealt with within just a few treatments for the physical therapy to be successful.
Below you’ll find more examples of injuries which Manual Osteopathy can help with.
- Traumatic injuries (sports, car accidents)
- Low back pain, sciatica, disc herniations
- Osteoarthritis and Scoliosis
- Shoulder, elbow, hip, knee, ankle, foot pain
- Tension headaches and migraines
- TMJ (jaw) dysfunctions
- Strains and sprains (especially of the neck and back)
- Tendonitis (Tennis/Golfer’s elbow, rotator cuff tear) and Bursitis
- Plantar Fascitis and Frozen Shoulder
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Digestive problems (constipation, reflux)
- Postural stress contributing to weakness, fatigue and loss of flexibility
- Post surgical pain (scars, adhesions)
Note that Manual Osteopathy and Massage Therapy are covered by extended health care insurance and motor vehicle accident insurance.