Sunday, November 23, 2008

How Osteopaths Treat Neck Pain

By Andrew Mitchell

Instead of looking at each symptom of an illness separately, osteopathic medicine is a kind of medicine that looks at your entire body to figure out the best method of treatment. Osteopathic medicine has become quite popular, especially for people who have problems with muscle and joint pain. A lot of people insist that when you suffer from neck pain, an osteopath is one of your best resources. It is understandable, however, that if you haven't ever visited an osteopath, that doing so might feel scary. Don't worry-you have nothing to be scared of. Here is what you can expect to experience when you visit an osteopath for neck pain treatment:

At first, you'll probably feel like you are visiting a "regular" doctor. You'll be given a physical and asked for your complete medical history. After that, your osteopath will perform a few additional tests to help determine the exact cause of your neck pain. He or she might take an X-Ray to find out if you have damaged any of your vertebrae. Don't be surprised if your osteopath then gives the rest of your body a complete examination as well!

It is important to know that your appointment will involve a lot of physical contact between you and your osteopath. Osteopathic treatment is very "hands on."

The osteopath you visit can use any or all of the following methods to treat your neck pain:

Counterstrain technique: this technique involves moving you into a position that will help your body restore motion to any of your muscles that might have been strained or restrained.

Muscle Energy technique: your osteopath will give you specific exercises in which you will use your muscles from a specific position and move them in specific directions.

Soft Tissue technique: this technique involves your osteopath putting pressure on the muscles that are near and around your spine. Sometimes the pressure is deep, other times it involves traction or rhythmic stretching.

Thrust technique: Your osteopath will use a high velocity force to reintroduce movement to your joints and muscles. Thrust is used to correct any asymmetry in your muscles. This method should also take care of any restricted movements, tissue changes or muscle tenderness you might have been experiencing.

Your osteopath might also use a low level laser or acupuncture techniques to help treat your neck pain.

An osteopathic visit might sound scary, but there is no reason to be frightened. Most people who visit an osteopath don't experience any pain. Most of the time osteopathic visits have been reported to be pleasant and relaxing!

A number of people often confuse osteopaths with chiropractors, but it is important to understand that the two professionals, while seemingly similar, are actually quite different! A chiropractor is a professional who wants to treat your spine and joints. Osteopaths want to work with you and help treat your entire body.

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1 comment:

Me and My Bump said...

When consulting an osteopath, remember that they will take a global approach to treatment. I.e. will not just focus on your neck, but look at how the body is functioning as whole, to work out why the neck is giving you problems in the first place. Nothing "just happens" - there is a physiological and anatomical chain of events leading to up to a "health problem". Visit the Osteopaths Guide for more information on Osteopathy