Back to Health A to Z. Osteopathy is a way of detecting, treating and preventing health problems by moving, stretching and massaging a person's muscles and joints.
Osteopathy is based on the principle that the wellbeing of an individual depends on their bones, muscles, ligaments and connective tissue functioning smoothly together. Although osteopaths may use some conventional medical techniques, the use of osteopathy isn't always based on scientific evidence.
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Read about what happens when you visit an osteopath. Most people who see an osteopath do so for help with conditions that affect the muscles, bones and joints, such as:. If you're pregnant, make sure you seek advice from your GP or midwife before you see an osteopath. You should also make sure you see an osteopath who specialises in muscle or joint pain during pregnancy.
Osteopathic Philosophy, Principles and Practice | Walter Mckone
Some osteopaths claim to be able to treat conditions that aren't directly related to muscles, bones and joints, such as headaches , migraines , painful periods , digestive disorders, depression and excessive crying in babies colic. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence NICE recommends manual therapy alongside exercise as a treatment option for lower back pain, with or without sciatica.
There's limited evidence to suggest that osteopathy may be effective for some types of neck, shoulder or lower-limb pain, and recovery after hip or knee operations. There's currently no good evidence that it's effective as a treatment for health conditions unrelated to the bones and muscles musculoskeletal system.
Still concluded that the orthodox medical practices of his day were frequently ineffective, and sometimes harmful.
He devoted the next ten years of his life to studying the human body and finding better ways to treat disease. His research and clinical observations led him to believe that the musculoskeletal system played a vital role in health and disease. He concluded that the body contained all of the elements needed to maintain health, if properly stimulated. Still believed that by correcting problems in the body's structure, through the use of manual techniques now known as osteopathic manipulative medicine OMM , the body's ability to function and to heal itself could be greatly improved.
He also promoted the idea of preventive medicine and endorsed the philosophy that physicians should focus on treating the whole patient, rather than just the disease. These beliefs formed the basis of a new medical approach, osteopathic medicine. Using this philosophy, Dr. Still opened the first school of osteopathic medicine in Kirksville, MO in Physicians licensed as Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine DOs , like their MD counterparts, must pass a stringent national or state medical board examination in order to practice medicine.
Osteopathic physicians use all of the tools available through modern medicine including prescription medicine and surgery. They also may use OMM techniques to diagnose illness and injury, relieve pain, restore range of motion, and enhance the body's capacity to heal. Reflective of the osteopathic philosophy of treating the whole person, many DOs serve in the primary care fields: family medicine, general internal medicine, and pediatrics. There is also a long tradition of osteopathic physicians establishing practices in rural and medically underserved areas.
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Today DOs provide comprehensive medical care to patients in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and have unlimited practice rights in more than 65 countries. DOs also serve as healthcare policy leaders at the local, state, and national levels. In addition, an increasing emphasis on biomedical research at several of the osteopathic colleges has expanded opportunities for DOs interested in pursuing careers in medical research.
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