What is Osteopathy?
Osteopathy is a drug-free, non-invasive manual therapy that aims to improve health across all body systems by manipulating and strengthening the musculoskeletal framework.
Therefore, it is a therapeutic discipline and a body of knowledge based on:
- The anatomy and physiology of the human body,
- The knowledge of how the different tissues involved in the production of the disease and
- The application of normalization techniques. Techniques developed over more than a century of evolution of the discipline (the first school of Osteopathy was opened in 1892 in the U.S.A) through Schools of Osteopathy or Osteopathic medical schools, depending on the development of discipline in each country.
How does it work?
Self-regulatory mechanisms in the body are controlled by the nervous system, circulatory and lymphatic systems. Loss or reduction of these mechanisms can lead to disease states. Osteopathic intervention can influence, especially in pre-pathological states, functional disorders but unfortunately most of the time patients go for osteopathic treatment in advanced phases of impaired health. In these cases, osteopathy facilitates healing, allowing the body to recover and obtain the normalization of the disturbed functions, this results in decreased symptoms and re-balancing of the bodies systems.
Osteopathy is not therefore dependent on external or purely passive solutions, as is the use, sometimes with excessive drug use. Osteopathy, by utilising a holistic approach, promotes homeostasis and mechanical balance of all body tissues musculoskeletal, nervous, visceral, circulatory etc.
The osteopathic intervention
Takes a functional diagnosis from which a set of methods and techniques for therapeutic and / or preventive care are manually applied on tissues, muscle, connective, nervous etc. This is a manual therapy that helps relieve, correct and restore musculoskeletal injuries and organic pathologies. Although osteopathy is related to problems affecting the musculoskeletal system, it in fact treats the patient globally, as a whole, by restoring the natural balance, however that has been disrupted. This is achieved by manipulation aimed at any of the affected tissues, whether the musculoskeletal, visceral, nervous etc.
Classification of osteopathy
- STRUCTURAL OSTEOPATHY
Directed to the musculoskeletal system, where we apply several different techniques adapted to each dysfunction, each tissue. This is different for each patient, as during the treatment session, the osteopath continuously analyses and determines which technique to apply
- VISCERAL OSTEOPATHY
Designed to act upon the tissues involved in the functions of the viscera, in relation with fibrous membranes, muscles, sliding planes between different organs, blood vessels, nerves, all tissues which ensure the organic operation must operate smoothly. This may be due to adhesions or myofascial contractions hampering the normal mobility of the viscera. Manual techniques help to release visceral interruptions in the flow of motion, giving the body a functional basis more useful, productive and healthy
- CRANIAL OSTEOPATHY & CRANIOSACRAL THERAPY
Again manual therapy is utilised to achieve release and facilitate the micro-mobility of the skull and the entire craniosacral relationship between meningeal membranes and cerebrospinal fluid. Some consequences of postural abnormalities, trauma, muscle imbalances etc. may affect the cranial nerves, arteries, glands and other tissues, as it passes through the cranium or holes inside it, which can cause nerve pain, impaired vision, hearing, alterations of some glandular functions, dizziness, migraines, and even through the autonomic nervous system, digestive, respiratory, vascular problems etc.
During the physical examination of the patient, the osteopath assesses the anatomical and functional condition in order to find any malfunctions in the different tissues or in different systems related to the symptoms. Establishing and correlating potential psycho somatic reflexes, viscera-somatic, etc. For example, a dorsal somatic pain in the arm, may be reflective of an abnormal visceral gastrointestinal or cardiac condition. Osteopaths thus treat the actual cause of the problem rather than merely the symptoms. For example with back pain is very common to find that answer a primary cause of a history of ankle injuries that have been poorly resolved. This generates an altered gait biomechanics that ends up overloading the lumbar vertebral level or other, causing pain and functional deficits.
Any functional problem that affects the muscular or osteo-articular system leads sooner or later, to an organic problem, because all organic functions are interrelated. For example, vertebral mechanical dysfunction is an injury that has a micromechanical nature which is self-sustaining, by causing, deep muscle spasms (defence mechanism that triggers the nervous system), these are often reversible either spontaneously or with an osteopathic manipulation during a treatment session.