Sunday, November 05, 2006

Article - Osteopathy, what's it all about?

Aegis Osteopath Ben Ludlow explains the what, when, how, and why of Osteopathy...

Osteopathy is an established system of diagnosis and treatment that recognises the role of the musculo-skeletal system in the healthy functioning of the body. The musculo-skeletal system is a key element in maintaining health. This system makes up two-thirds of the body's mass. It impacts and reflects the condition of all other systems in the body.
Osteopathic theory involves the concept that structure (anatomy) and function (physiology) are inter-related. If the structure of a joint is distorted in any way, this will affect the normal mechanics of the joint resulting in dysfunction, which patients often feel as pain and stiffness.
The body has a natural ability to self-regulate and self-repair. Osteopaths rely on this innate healing ability to return their patients to good health. Osteopaths also promote good nutrition and fitness to sustain healthy body systems. It uses no drugs. Instead, osteopaths work with their hands using a wide range of treatment techniques, such as soft tissue and neuro-muscular massage, joint mobilising techniques and corrective manipulations designed to improve the mobility and range of movement of a joint.

With their highly trained sense of touch, osteopaths use these manual techniques both to discover underlying causes of pain and to carry out treatment. Its main strength, however, lies in the unique way the patient is assessed from a mechanical, functional and postural standpoint and the way that treatment is planned to suit the needs of the individual patient.

What happens when you come to me for treatment
• The process is similar to visiting any Registered Medical Practitioner.
• The appointment will be in private in a treatment room.
• I will ask you about how the symptoms began, and factors that affect them; and record your full details and case history.
• When attending for your first appointment please bring details of any medication currently being prescribed.
• I will ask you to undress to your underwear in order to give you a postural examination. I may ask you to perform a simple series of movements.
• This will be followed by a structural examination to identify functional abnormalities.
• I may also give you orthopaedic, neurological or circulatory examinations (e.g. reflexes, blood pressure, etc.) to aid the diagnosis.
• X Rays, blood tests and MRI scanning may be required in certain circumstances, for which I will refer you back to your GP.
• I will explain the assessment I make, the appropriate course of action and treatment for your specific requirements. I will begin any treatment required.
• I can also suggest exercise programmes to both improve and maintain flexibility, strength and core stability, as well as advising on work space ergonomics and working practices. These measures are designed to help prevent a recurrence of your problem.

How does my osteopathic support integrate with your experience of the Aegis concept
If you have an injury you will fall into one of the following categories:

New Client with injury:
• A full case history will be taken with emphasis placed on current injuries.
• I will also establish with you a history of past events which may aid the diagnosis and biomechanical assessment.
• All systems will be checked i.e cardiovascular, respiratory and endocrine together with a brief analysis of diet and current physical activity.
• After a diagnosis has been reached, a treatment plan will be developed with short and long term aims.
• I will usually prescribe some form of rehabilitation programme.
• After the initial injury has begun to resolve, you will be given the option to carry on the rehabilitation programme with one of the highly qualified personal trainers.
• I will recommend a trainer that best fits your needs recognising the various interests and areas of expertise the different trainers possess.
• I will then liaise closely with the trainer to formulate the most appropriate training regime which will also assist you in understanding your injury better; and why the trainer’s advice on exercise is critical to recovery.
• I may also refer you to the experienced sports therapists at Aegis with whom I would liaise closely on your progress.

Existing Client who sustains an injury:
• The same assessment and treatment procedure as above for the new client will be followed.
• However, there will be a greater emphasis on returning the client/patient back to training as soon as possible through intensive treatment and rehabilitation. Such treatment has been shown to be beneficial for musculoskeletal and joint injuries.
• I will liaise closely with your trainer/therapist to ensure your safe and effective recovery. This may include me being available to talk through any rehabilitation issues jointly with your trainer and yourself.

Existing Training Client at risk
• Occasionally, a trainer may see a potential gait problem or movement pattern which has not manifested in an injury but may have the potential of doing so. In this case, osteopathy could be useful as a preventative measure rather than a treatment for a specific injury.
• The client may also feel that something ‘isn’t quite right’ and feels that they may benefit from having a biomechanical assessment and provision of some preventative exercises which would improve performance and prevent an injury occurring.

I will always be contactable throughout your rehabilitation process. I believe that with proper education, careful planning and good liaison between yourself and the professional team at Aegis, most musculoskeletal and joint injuries will respond well.

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