Osteopathy is a form of manual therapy. It uses a hands-on approach in order to diagnose and treat various musculoskeletal problems. Osteopaths work with the structure (bones, ligaments, nerves and muscles) and movement of the body, to help treat and even prevent musculoskeletal conditions. We give our patients rehabilitation and postural exercises that are specific to them, so that they can get the best out of their treatment and help prevent recurrences of the problem.
Soft Tissue Techniques
One type of soft tissue technique which we use in combination with other techniques is commonly known to most of you as massage. The Osteopath will use this to encourage blood flow in to the muscles whilst also helping to take toxins away from the muscles. Soft tissue techniques help to reduce muscle tension thereby reducing pain. A build up of inflammation in an area can often lead to soreness and restriction. This can be reduced by using a more gentle massage technique known as lymphatic drainage. The aim of this technique is to improve circulation and remove waste products thereby helping to ease discomfort and improve mobility in a particular area.
This is a very common technique used by Osteopaths. The Osteopath will take a joint into different directions allowing the surrounding tissues to stretch. The technique also targets the synovial fluid. This is the lubricating fluid in between joint surfaces that allow the joints to move more smoothly over each other therefore helping to improve range of movement. This technique is particularly effective for those patients suffering with arthritic pain and stiffness.
Spinal and Peripheral Joint Manipulation (HVT)
This is another technique that is used by Osteopaths to increase the range of movement in a joint. This is done by introducing a quick, but gentle impulse through a joint. A release or click may be felt or heard. Some patient’s tend to be either apprehensive or inquisitive as to what actually happens when a joint is released.
This is a great video which helps to explain what is happening when a joint is released in the fingers:
By using this technique, the fluid in the joint works better to lubricate the joint surfaces, therefore creating better movement. It also works to reduce irritation to the surrounding nerves. It works particularly well for conditions like sciatica.
Our practitioners here at BCO have undergone further training in dry needling. They combine it with treatment if they deem it necessary. Dry needling is a Western form of the traditional acupuncture, which I am sure a lot of you would have heard about. The way dry needling differs is that we mainly work on trigger points or “knots” found in muscles. It is a very gentle approach to take away some of the tension build up in muscles. We like to use this especially when the muscles are too sore for massage. The technique also helps to encourage the inflammatory (healing) process.
This is a different approach to traditional Osteopathy. It is an extremely gentle technique that is particularly effective when used to treat babies and pregnant mothers. The aim of this technique is to influence the cerebrospinal fluid (fluid surrounding our brain and spinal cord). We use our heightened sense of touch to feel the rhythm and movement through the cranium (skull), sacrum and the rest of the body. This can be used to assess or treat a variety of musculoskeletal problems.