Improving Chronic Pain Applying the Osteopathic Treatment
First, it is important to explain what osteopathic treatment is. It is a series of manual techniques that return the balance to the body through stretching, massage, and positions that help everything return to its place. For example, we may have a sprained ankle that has not healed well. Because of the pain, we will tread badly while walking and over time we will suffer other problems, such as hip discomfort or low back pain. An appropriate osteopathic treatment will cure our sprain and relieve other pain. Therefore, osteopathy not only treats the focus of pain, but it stimulates the lymphatic, muscular, respiratory system and all that is necessary to restore balance to the body and relieve discomfort.
Osteopathy is a form of “hands-on” manipulative musculoskeletal medicine. Osteopaths look at the whole body when assessing, diagnosing, treating, and managing muscle and joint pain and conditions.
Many people see osteopaths with different types of muscle and joint conditions and associated pain. Our consultations cover a full case history, as well as diagnosis, assessment, treatment and management plan for the presenting condition and its pain.
The whole osteopathic experience encompasses not only treatment but also education about pain. We provide a clear message about what is wrong and how we can tackle the problem together. We give our patients knowledge of their problem, and as well as the tools to help managing the pain. This allows for quicker recovery time and a more proactive approach to their condition which in turn creates a much more positive experience for our patients, even though they may be in pain.
Pain can present as either acute or chronic, and as such we manage and treat appropriately. Acute pain normally occurs from an injury and is sudden. It usually resolves relatively quickly, i.e., within a few days to a few weeks once the underlying cause is healed.
Chronic pain is a type of pain that occurs for longer than about 3 months, or longer than the time expected for the pain to continue in the presenting condition. Chronic pain is due to the nervous system being overly sensitive. The nervous system continually fires and is overactive while trying to protect the body when the injury or illness that first caused the pain has healed or improved.
Chronic pain can be debilitating and challenging and have any further influences on the patient’s life such as causing psychological stress, as well as harming work, family, and activities of daily living.
Part of what we do as Osteopaths is to educate our patients on their condition, and find the best ways to treat and manage their pain, both here in the clinic and when they are at home.
Osteopathic treatment is all hands-on with techniques such as massage, mobilization, articulation, myofascial release and dry needling. Each treatment is tailored specifically to the patient and the condition they present with – and with their permission and understanding of how and why the techniques we are choosing to use will help managing their pain and condition.
It has also been shown in recent literature that “hands-on” treatment has a positive physiological and psychological effect on pain, i.e., helps improving the patients overall feeling of well-being.
Some osteopathic techniques that are used:
- Stretching of the muscles.
- Stimulation of ligaments and joints.
- Muscle energy technique, which is possible to carry out thanks to the fact that we can contract the muscles actively and voluntarily.
- Trigger technique, which involves pressing the most painful locations to end the discomfort.
- Mobilization of the joints to place them in the right place. Although this usually scares a little because the body “creaks” when the osteopath applies it, it is a completely safe osteopathic technique, so we should not worry.
It is important to note that structural osteopathic treatment is effective but does not have an immediate effect. That is, to notice an obvious improvement, we will need to go to the rehabilitation and physiotherapy clinic on more than one occasion. The results will take more or less to appear depending on each condition.
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