Assessment is at the core of a positive outcome, and reaching a pain free status as fast as possible. During your first visit, a thorough orthopedic assessment will be conducted. This assessment may include a visual postural analysis, range of motion testing, advanced orthopedic testing, or a variety of other specialised techniques to be able to accurately form a treatment plan. At the conclusion of this assessment, you will have a better understanding of your body’s current health status, and your therapist will be able to form a clinical impression as to what is causing your pain / discomfort.
Your therapist will then discuss a treatment plan with you. Treatments may involve various osteopathic methods such as soft tissue manipulation, osteoarticular joint mobilization, muscle energy technique, craniosacral therapy and visceral manipulations.
After discussing the results of the assessment and the treatment plan, with your consent, your osteopathic manual therapist will begin your first treatment. The treatment is conducted with you fully clothed and in various positions on the treatment table. For some conditions, you may be required to sit, stand or bend during the treatment.
Manual osteopaths identify, assess, and treat the body’s structures and rhythm using a gentle, hands-on approach.
Soft Tissue Manipulation
The practitioner uses soft tissue manipulation in many different ways. In general, they use it to evaluate the condition of tissues and to help the body’s fluids (such as blood and lymphatic fluid) flow smoothly. Keeping fluids flowing smoothly reduces harmful fluid retention and makes the body’s immune system more effective. Fascia is connective tissue found in all parts of the body. It connects all of the body’s structures at both superficial and deep levels. Practitioners evaluate the fascia to find areas of restriction, and then use soft tissue manipulation to make sure the length and tension of the fascia are properly balanced. Throughout the treatment, manual osteopaths keep checking on the state of the body’s tissues. If one technique isn’t working to correct a restriction, they use another approach instead. Above all, manual osteopaths try to restore health without over-treating.
Osteoarticular Joint Mobilization
This technique reduces muscle spasms near a joint, eases neurological irritations around a joint, makes joints more mobile and reduces pain and discomfort. It involves gently moving 2 joint surfaces. The patient is positioned to minimize, or eliminate the energy and force needed to perform the manoeuver. Many patients find this technique less forceful than joint manipulations. Osteoarticular joint mobilization can be beneficial for:
- Joint Pain
- Limited Mobility
- Joint Inflammation
- Concussion & Traumatic
- Rotator Cuff Injuries
- And many more
Muscle Energy Techniques (MET)
Muscle energy techniques is a direct and active technique that engages a restrictive barrier and requires the patient’s participation in actively moving the muscle for maximal effect. It uses gentle isometric muscle contractions of the patient to relax and lengthen muscles and normalize joint motion. It can be used for any condition to relax and lengthen muscles and improve joint range of motion (ROM). Muscle energy techniques can be applied safely to almost any joint in the body. Many athletes use MET as a preventative measure to guard against future muscle and joint injury.
Muscle energy techniques are typically used for:
- Limited range of motion
- Shoulder pain
- Piriformis Syndrome
- Unsymmetrical legs, hips or arms
- Chronic muscle pain, stiffness or injury
Cranio Sacral Therapy (CST)
Cranio sacral therapy is a deep and yet very gentle form of treatment that can help injuries, digestive problems and bring greater health to the body. The goal of this technique is to adjust the body’s physiology by restoring balance to the circulation of the blood and other body fluids. Manual osteopaths do this by treating the body’s inherent biorhythm. They are able to feel this rhythm in the patient’s head, spinal cord, and in the sacrum and the rest of the body. It is suitable for all ages but is particularly beneficial for babies and children that parent’s suspect are still suffering from a difficult birth. Cranio sacral treatment can also be beneficial for patients who have old injuries where other therapies have not been successful.
CST is increasingly used as a preventative health measure and is effective for a wide range of medical problems associated with pain and dysfunction, including:
- Migraine Headaches
- Chronic Neck and Back Pain
- Central Nervous System
- Orthopedic Problems
- Concussions and Traumatic Brain Injuries
- Spinal Cord Injuries
- Infantile Disorders
- Learning Disabilities
- Chronic Fatigue
- Emotional Difficulties
- Stress and Tension-Related Problems
- Fibromyalgia and other Connective-Tissue Disorders
- Temporomandibular Joint
- Dysfunction (TMJD)
- Neurovascular or Immune Disorders
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Post-Surgical Dysfunction
Visceral manipulation is used to treat organs and viscera of the body, including the lungs, heart, liver, spleen, kidneys, stomach, pancreas, intestines, bladder and uterus. Patients may feel pain in one or more of these organs, or the viscera may be less pliable than it should be. Manual osteopaths gently move the structures themselves and the fascia (connective tissue) that surrounds them to restore full movement.
Most patients treated with visceral manipulation feel only gentle pressure of the manual osteopath’s hand, but the corrections are powerful enough to improve the mobility of an organ, improve blood flow, and help the organ function more effectively.
The above (and many other) osteopathic manual techniques and approaches are used in a coordinated and rational fashion to slowly adjust the patient’s anatomy and physiology towards normal, so that the patient’s body can heal itself.