Manual Osteopaths treat muscle and joint pains using gentle, hands-on therapy. Using a holistic focus, they examine the entire body’s posture to assess how all parts are functioning in relation to all others. This obviously includes joints and muscles, but less obviously includes ligaments, fascia, nerves, arteries, organs, the spinal cord, and relationships between these elements.
Osteopathy, Chiropractic, and Physiotherapy
All three therapies have similarities:
- all understand that the release of tension in joints, muscles, tethered nerves and fascia allows healing to occur.
- all exist to help you recover from pain and injury.
- all do hands on work.
How is Manual Osteopathy different than Chiropractic or Physiotherapy?
Manual Osteopaths assess the areas you identify as problematic to seek out areas of damage. Then, they might assess your spine to see if the nerves to that area are compromised. In this way they are similar to a chiropractor, but they also look elsewhere, to other areas of the body which may affect your ‘problem area’.
For example, some of your internal organs might affect your shoulder. Issues with, or tension around, the liver and gall bladder can actually cause shoulder pain via a miscommunication in the spine, that has an overlap in nerve feedback from both the shoulder and these organs.
Or, the tension originating in these organs may actually exert a physical ‘pull’ on the shoulder. After months or years of pulling, the shoulder starts to come forward. When this happens, the body recruits the shoulder muscles to counteract this pull. After a few more months, or even years, of this constant tug-of-war, the client feels pain in his shoulder or back (between the shoulder blades), develops headaches, or gets shooting pains down their arm. In this way, an impact from years prior can cause a new ‘out-of-the-blue’ problem.
The Manual Osteopath might also assess other joints that work in conjunction with the shoulder, especially the wrists, elbows, neck, and hips. They might even choose to look at movement patterns by observing gait, or any activity of interest, to see if any restrictions in the hips or neck are placing too much work on the shoulder.
Manual Osteopaths are trained to do gentle joint mobilizations, organ mobilizations, Craniosacral therapy, and massage techniques. They also learn strong manipulations for all joints, but do not perform them on the spine (in Canada).
Manual Osteopaths also use some highly-specific, light-touch techniques to gently free restrictions around organs and other deep body structures, which helps restore health to your body as a whole and remove the problems discussed above.
Course of treatments vary from client to client, but in general 3-6 treatments, 2 to 6 weeks apart usually provides significant pain relief. At Rocky Mountain Osteopathy, your first treatment lasts 60 to 75 minutes. Subsequent treatments last approx 45 minutes.
The goal of osteopathy is to ensure all your body’s fluids flow unrestricted, which allows your body to heal, and then function optimally. To get there, Manual Osteopaths remove adverse tensions from all the body’s structures. This usually requires freeing joints and organs, normalizing the Nervous System, and re-aligning the entire body closer to an ideal posture.
This has the desired effects of reducing (then eliminating) pain, improving movement, and improving all body functions.