What is Osteopathy?

Osteopathy has perhaps become synonymous over the years with spinal pain as low back pain is common and dramatically affects daily life. Osteopathy also treats pain in other areas such as knees, ankles, elbows, ribs etc as well as important areas such as the thorax, abdomen and pelvis.

Osteopathy recognises the importance of the link between the structure of the human body and the way it functions. Osteopaths such as ourselves here at Oxspines focus on the body’s skeleton and joint function along with the underlying muscles, soft tissue and internal organs. Osteopaths consider each person as an individual. Utilising a highly developed sense of touch, they identify problem areas of the body. Using gentle stretching and mobilising techniques as well as manipulating joints, an osteopath works with the body to create the perfect conditions to facilitate the healing process.

Treatment usually consists of a combination of soft-tissue releasing techniques, and some specific adjustments affecting joints and soft-tissues (muscles, tendons and ligaments). Advice can also be given on self-help treatments.

Osteopathy is based on the work of an American doctor in the late 19 th century, Andrew Taylor Still, who treated dysfunction in the body through the musculoskeletal system and its neurological, visceral and vascular interactions.

Based on unique biomechanical principles, it is now widely recognised throughout the world as one of the most scientifically validated and effective “complementary” therapies. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) advises in its May 2009 consultation paper that manual therapy including manipulation, acupuncture and a structured exercise program tailored to the individual should be considered in the management of patients with chronic (longer than six weeks duration) non-specific low back pain.

Training

Registered Osteopaths are currently required to undertake a four or five-year honours degree programme at a General Osteopathic Council (GOsC) recognised University or School of Osteopathy Registered osteopaths expand their profiencies with mandatory continuing professional development.

All osteopaths must be registered with the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC) under the Osteopathic Act 1993. The GOsC is the statutory body responsible for the professional, similar to that of the General Medical Council for the medical profession. It is a criminal offence for an individual to claim to be an osteopath who is not registered with GOsC.