What is Osteopathy
WHAT IS OSTEOPATHY?
Osteopathy is a system of healthcare that looks at the whole body. Osteopaths use their hands to treat and restore the motion and function of mechanical structures to promote healing. This provides relief and helps recovery to damaged parts of the body such as muscles, joints, ligaments and nerves.
WHAT QUALIFICATIONS DO OSTEOPATHS HAVE?
The osteopaths at the practice have all completed 4 or 5 years of study in Osteopathic Medicine. Additionally, all osteopaths are registered with the Osteopathic Council of New Zealand - which ensures that we remain competent and fit to practice under the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act.
Osteopaths use a variety of techniques to improve the motion and function of areas in the body including:
- Soft-tissue techniques (massage)
- Muscle and joint stretching techniques
- Joint manipulation and mobilisation
- Cranial techniques which gently balance the body’s systems.
An important part of treatment is ensuring the best long term result. Osteopaths will give you advice on exercises, self-management and improving your posture to help you recover and also to prevent the problem recurring.
WHAT DO OSTEOPATHS TREAT?
Osteopaths treat a variety of conditions. We can help with many different types of back pain, and Sciatica and usually help you correct your posture and improve the ergonomics of your work station.
In today’s world of computers and devices – neck pain and upper back pain is becoming more and more common and many report elbow pain or forearm and wrist pain. We are happy to give you advice on habits that need to be changed, treatment for your neck and shoulder/arm issues and how to avoid developing these problems.
Osteopaths, Physiotherapists and Chiropractors all treat musculoskeletal problems. We can assess and provide treatment for conditions that physiotherapists deal with such as back pain, neck pain, occupational overuse syndrome, sports injuries, tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow, disc injuries, hip pain (including osteoarthritis of the hip), knee pain, sprained ankles, plantar fasciitis and headaches including migraines. Many people don’t realise that we can help them with all these conditions.
All our practitioners are registered with the Osteopathic Council of New Zealand which operates via the HPCA Act to ensure that Osteopaths are competent and fit to practice. Additionally, we are all ACC treatment providers. You are able to lodge an ACC claim with us if you have had an injury – we will provide you with the ACC45 form to fill out, once we have discussed your condition with you.
The practitioners at The Osteopathic Practice also deal with back pain and neck pain in pregnancy and can help babies who are having trouble settling or sleeping and suffering from colic, reflux, ear infections and a flat head. We love having children and babies in our practice and you are always welcome to bring your children with you. There are after-hours appointments available for those who find it difficult to come while they are at work or with the children. Many teenagers who are experiencing growing pains have also experienced relief with osteopathic treatment.
All our osteopaths strive to give you the best long term outcome. That is why we will give you advice on exercises for back pain or any other pain you have and also look at your posture and your habits and how stress might be affecting you. Our aim is not to treat just your condition but to treat YOU and help you attain the best health possible. Why feel good when you can feel great!
If you are unsure of whether we may be able to help you with the pain or problem you are experiencing – please do not hesitate to call us. Lorraine will let us know and one of the osteopaths will call you to discuss whether osteopathic treatment might be able to help you.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How many treatments will it take to get better?
This depends on your treatment plan. We are all individuals, and sometimes patients progress faster or slower than initially anticipated. The treatment plan is therefore reviewed and adjusted at each visit.
Will you “click” my neck/back?
If this is appropriate, it can be a very effective technique, which we do use. We will always discuss this with you first to make sure you’re happy. The way Osteopaths are taught to do this, it tends to be less vigorous than some people expect. Some people don’t like any clicking at all, and with these patients we can always find another way to achieve the same result.
Does it hurt?
Generally not as most techniques are fairly gentle. Patients usually find the treatment pleasant and relaxing and usually leave the Practice feeling a little better. However, as treatment is designed to try to alter the body’s ‘status quo’, there are some conditions that can have a reaction. This can lead to some tenderness, but generally it feels different to the symptoms you came in with. A reaction usually lasts for around 24-48 hours, after which you start to feel better than before your visit. If you are at all concerned about a treatment reaction, you should always contact your osteopath.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM THE FIRST CONSULTATION
We make sure all our new patients feel welcome, safe, and taken care of.
The osteopath will take a case-history which involves asking you questions about your problem, your past medical history and any other health issues.
The osteopath will ask you if you are comfortable undressing down to your underwear in order to be examined. It is necessary to have people undress so that the areas concerned can be seen. However, if you are not comfortable with this, please let your osteopath know as we have shorts and singlets available to borrow or you can bring your own.
This will start with a standing exam, when we can observe and inspect the alignment of body structures. We then palpate (feel) the tissues concerned and ask you to move in certain ways to see if you have pain or restriction.
Next, the osteopath will feel and move the affected regions while you are sitting or lying down. If necessary, we will conduct special tests and examine the neurological, circulatory and respiratory systems which we are qualified to do.
After the examination, we will form a diagnosis and explain this to you. We will then proceed with treatment with your consent after you have understood the treatment plan. Sometimes, we may refer you for further screening, which may include x-rays, ultrasound or blood tests for example.
CONDITIONS COMMONLY TREATED BY OSTEOPATHS
- Acute and chronic lower back pain
- Neck and shoulder pain
- Disc problems and “pinched nerves”
- Jaw problems
- Problems during pregnancy and in new mothers
- Ankle, knee and hip pain
- Occupations Overuse Syndrome
- Tendonitis – Tennis/Golfer’s elbow
- Women with Period pain
- People with Chronic Fatigue & chronic pain syndromes
- We treat babies
If your osteopath decides that osteopathic treatment is not appropriate for your condition, they will refer you to a doctor/specialist/another health provider as necessary.
PRINCIPLES OF OSTEOPATHIC MEDICINE
The main principles of Osteopathic Medicine were developed by Andrew Taylor Still MD in 1912.
- The body is a unit.
- Structure and function are reciprocally interrelated
- The body possesses self-regulatory mechanisms
- The body has the inherent capacity to defend itself and repair itself.
- When normal adaptability is disrupted, or when environmental changes overcome the body’s capacity for self maintenance, disease may ensue.
- Movement of the body fluids is essential to the maintenance of health.
- The nerves play a crucial part in controlling the fluids of the body.
- There are somatic components to disease that are not only manifestations of disease, but also are factors that contribute to the maintenance of the diseased state.