What is Osteopathy?

Osteopathy is a system of diagnosis and treatment which works with the structure and function of the body.
The maintenance of good mechanical function is essential to good health.
Problems in the framework of the body can disturb the circulatory system or nerves to any part of the body, and affect any aspect of health.
Osteopaths work to restore the structure and function of the body to a state of balance and harmony, so helping the whole person.

Osteopathic treatment involves manual techniques including soft tissue stretching and massage, combined with mobilisation and manipulation of the joints. The treatment is effective and conducted with the Patients assistance.

By designing an appropriate course of treatments, your Osteopath may also provide an ongoing management programme, to prevent a recurrence of the problem. Because Osteopaths look at the “whole” picture of human functioning, they also use a variety of techniques which acknowledges the many factors contributing to balance and health. To this end, Osteopaths provide advice on Diet, Exercise, Posture and many other aspects of daily life.
The caring and comprehensive approach to care and treatment complements the body’s natural functions, helping you achieve the highest possible level of health and happiness.

Osteopaths are trained to recognise and treat many causes of pain. Osteopathy is an established system of diagnosis and manual treatment which is recognised as a discrete clinical discipline.
For the last seventy years, osteopaths have worked within a system of voluntary regulation which sets standards of training and practice.

In 1993, osteopathy became the first major complementary health care profession to be accorded statutory recognition in the UK only. The Osteopathic Council of Ireland is presently trying to get this important legislation through the Dail.
This means that a General Osteopathic Council is being set up and only those practitioners able to satisfy its educational and ethical standards will be able to join its register and call themselves osteopaths.
Patients will have the same safeguards as when currently they consult a doctor or dentist.


Why an osteopath?

Osteopaths help to reduce inflamed tissues by a number of methods ranging from massage of soft tissues to manipulation and movement of joints.
This helps to reduce muscle spasm and increase mobility, helping to create a normal anatomical environment in which damaged tissues can heal.

The osteopath may well require x-rays, blood tests or even MRI scans to assess the extent of your condition.

There are many popular misconceptions about arthritis. For example:
‘Degenerative change on x-rays means that nothing can be done.’
‘My doctor says all I can do is to take pain killers or anti-inflammatories.’

Nobody can reverse the changes which have taken place but osteopathic treatment may do so much to reduce pain, ease swelling and improve mobility and range of joint movement.

Pain control is an important part of treatment and osteopaths give guidance on simple self help methods to use at home.

An Osteopath is a primary care practitioner with the appropriate skill and knowledge to assess your complaint.
He can assess structural changes that may lead to immobility and dysfunction, due to

  • Recurring injuries
  • Poor posture and decreased flexibility
  • Muscular spasm
  • Secondary effects of arms, legs, knee, abdominal and pelvic conditions, foot problems,
    headache/dizziness etc.

Your Osteopath decides which is the most effective course of action as he relies principally on physical examination, including observation and sharp palpatory skills to form a diagnosis.
Your Osteopath recognises the importance of the skill and technology of modern medicine.
This may lead to further investigation which may include: radiological, orthopaedic or neurological assessment.


What does a visit to the osteopath entail?

The Osteopath will ask in detail about about various aspects of you or your child’s symptoms and general health. The visit may require removal of outer clothing and the osteopath may look at you standing, moving and will then gently assess body movements.

Most osteopathic treatment is gentle and should not cause undue discomfort, although assessment and treatment may require the handling of painful areas. Most people find treatment relaxing. Some patients experience soreness after treatment, similar to that felt after unaccustomed excercise. This usually lasts no longer than 24-48 hours.

It may be necessary to carry out simple examination procedures such as taking blood pressure or testing flexes. Most patients come to an osteopath without having first consulted their doctor.