Osteopathy – A System of Alternative Medicine

Osteopathy is a system of alternative medicine that employs manual manipulation of muscle tissue, ligaments, and bones to help prevent disease and encourage the body’s natural healing processes. Osteopaths, or osteopathologists, are licensed to treat patients with musculoskeletal complaints such as neck pain, back pain, stiff neck or shoulders, and headaches. Osteopathy is sometimes compared to massage therapy but it tends to work more deeply and on a more holistic level. It utilizes techniques such as cranial-sacral work, fascial work, visceral manipulation and joint mobilizations. Osteopathy has been shown to positively affect the nervous, lymphatic and circulatory systems.

A recent study demonstrated that osteopathic treatment can improve the function of the sacroiliac joint (SIJ) and reduce low back pain in a patient with SIJ dysfunction and lumbar spinal stenosis. This patient experienced a significant reduction in symptoms after receiving several sessions of osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT).

Osteopathy is based on the principle that the overall health of an individual depends on the bones, muscles and connective tissues functioning smoothly together. Osteopathic physicians (D.O.s) undergo the same medical training as M.D.s but also learn osteopathic manipulation techniques. They use these manual “hands-on” methods to treat a variety of conditions including arthritis, back pain, neck pain and headaches, tennis elbow, digestive problems, respiratory issues, and postural imbalances. Osteopathic physicians also recognize when osteopathic manipulation is not the best course of treatment and refer their patients to other specialists for additional evaluation and care.

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