Different medical conditions require different treatment approaches. Most treatments involve the use of medication, surgery, and sometimes physiotherapy. However, some health conditions require specialized “non-medical” or complementary approaches such as osteopathy. An osteopath is a doctor who specializes in osteopathic treatments.
In layman’s terms, osteopathy refers to a type of manual therapy used to address certain health disorders. The treatment is usually non-invasive, drug-free, and usually targets the musculoskeletal system to improve the patient’s overall health. Osteopaths have various responsibilities, which we shall cover in this article. As we seek to understand their roles, let’s start by describing who an osteopath is.
Who Is an Osteopath?
Perhaps the simplest description would be – a doctor or physician who treats you without using any drugs. They will use hand techniques to either improve circulation or correct altered biomechanics. All these are done without the involvement of any medicines.
While drugs might cater to specific ailments, an osteopathic physician focuses on making sure the body systems are balanced up to promote overall wellness. Some of the manual manipulations done on the patient’s body may include:
- Gently applying pressure on different parts
Conditions That Require Osteopathy
Now, osteopaths typically encounter patients with a vast range of health conditions. From the patients they receive, some need osteopathic services, whereas others just come to seek consultation or find out if osteopathy can help their situation.
These conditions also vary for different age groups. To further understand the responsibilities of an osteopath, let’s take a look at the conditions that they commonly deal with.
- Pain: Often affecting the patient’s quality of life, chronic body pain can be quite stubborn. It can affect one or more parts of the body, and sometimes it doesn’t go away with medication. As the experts at Brisbane West Osteopath can attest, most osteopathic visits are from patients who have tried literally everything in the book but are still in pain. In this case, an osteopath can review your situation to figure out the best possible approach to address your situation.
- Postural Imbalance: This can involve any part of the body that is supposed to be asymmetrical. The osteopath can use different techniques to get these parts back into shape and prescribe home exercises.
- Torticollis: This is a condition that mostly affects babies, where the position of the head on the neck isn’t correct. The osteopath uses body positioning techniques to correct torticollis and bring the head back to its proper position. They also advise on a few exercises and sleeping postures to help better the condition.
- Constipation: The osteopath may be required to identify areas of tension in the body (especially the hips) causing constipation. They will then recommend the right therapy approach, like exercises to be done at home.
While the above are just a few examples to help you better understand the role of an osteopath, there are many more issues that can be solved with osteopathy. There is more to an osteopath’s roles than a quick online check can reveal.
What an Osteopathic Session Entails
When you pay an osteopath a visit, they will most likely be interested in your medical history. They need to know of any other treatments you might have undergone before they can proceed with their own. They will then do a thorough assessment of your posture, flexibility, and muscle tone. After you have described the issues you’re facing, they will then check the joint range of motion, pelvic balance, and spinal alignment. They should clearly explain the treatment process and options so you can give consent.
Benefits of Visiting an Osteopath
One of the benefits of visiting an osteopath is that they are concerned with the general wellness of the whole body. This is as opposed to a chiropractor, who focuses mainly on the spine and body joints. The suggestions given by an osteopath can go a long way in fixing the current problem and ensuring that none other arises soon. They are also responsible for coming up with workplace ergonomics, which are quite helpful in preventing backaches and neck pains for office workers.
An osteopath is as essential as any other physician. Although the name is not so popular, they play quite a significant role in promoting general health in society. This piece has highlighted some of their responsibilities.