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What is Osteopathy

Osteopathy is a system of diagnosis and treatment for a wide range of medical conditions.  It is probably best known for its help with musculoskeletal health, particularly back pain.  It is based on the principle that the well-being of an individual depends on the skeleton, muscles, ligaments and connective tissues functioning smoothly together.  For your body to work well, osteopaths think that its structure must also work well.

pregnant largeSo osteopaths work to restore your body to a state of balance, where possible, without the use of drugs or surgery.  Although best known for their ability to treat low back pain, they are also able to treat restrictions and pain in all other areas of the body.  Osteopaths use a variety of techniques including touch, physical manipulation, stretching and massage.   These are aimed at increasing the mobility of joints, relieving muscle tension, enhancing the blood and nerve supply to tissues and therefore helping your body’s own healing mechanisms.  An osteopath may also provide advice on posture and exercise to aid recovery, promote health and prevent symptoms recurring.

The term osteopath is protected by law and all osteopaths must be registered with the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC).  This ensures that high standards are maintained and provides protection for both the public and the profession.  Osteopaths in the UK must currently complete a four-five year masters degree that covers anatomy, patho-physiology, diagnostic skills, and manual therapy.  They have a responsibility to assess every patient to gain a clear understanding of the cause of their symptoms.  Occassionally this assessment may lead to referral of the patient to their general practitioner or a specialist more sutiable for a particular condition.  Examples of this are where left shoulder pain may be caused by angina or when back pain is caused by kidney conditions.  Your osteopath will discuss this with you.

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