Osteopathy is a form of medicine which focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of the musculoskeletal system (muscles, joints, ligaments, bones etc). It believes that if the body's framework is in balance the body as a whole will function better and recover from injury quicker. It aims to look not just at the symptoms but to uncover the underlying causes of pain and dysfunction whenever possible. Often these causes are in a distant part of the body. For instance, chronic headaches may be caused by tension in the neck which in turn may be caused by a subtle disturbance in the function of the pelvis. To stand the best chance of relieving the headaches and preventing their return all of these must be addressed.
Treatment consists of manual techniques designed to improve function and stimulate recovery. These can include soft tissues work, stretching, mobilising and manipulating joints, and gentle functional techniques. The actual techniques employed vary from patient to patient and are based on which ones will be the most suitable and effective. Osteopathy also places strong emphasise on patient's taking responsibility for their own health. Therefore, self-care and lifestyle advice is an important part of overall management.
Osteopathy became the first major complimentary health care profession to be accorded statutory recognition under the 1993 Osteopaths Act. All Osteopaths practicing in the UK have to be registered with the General Osteopathic Council