Osteopathy is one of the fastest growing healthcare professions in the United States (U.S.).

Osteopathy is a drug-free, non-invasive manual therapy that aims to improve health across all body systems by manipulating and strengthening the musculoskeletal framework.

An osteopathic physician will focus on the joints, muscles, and spine. Treatment aims to positively affect the body nervous, circulatory, and lymphatic systems.

Manual medicine means that both diagnosis and treatment are carried out with the hands.

Fast facts about osteopathy

  • Osteopathy uses a drug-free, non-invasive form of manual medicine that focuses on the health of the whole body, not just the injured or affected part.
  • The osteopathic physician focuses on the joints, muscles, and spine.
  • Osteopathic intervention can help treat arthritis, back pain, headaches, tennis elbow, digestive issues, and postural problems.
  • Treatment can also assist with sleep cycles and the nervous, circulatory, and lymphatic symptoms.

What is osteopathy?

Osteopathy takes a holistic, whole-body approach to healthcare.

It uses manual hands-on techniques to improve circulation and correct altered bio-mechanics, without the use of drugs.

An osteopathic physician does not concentrate only on the problem area, but uses manual techniques to balance all the body systems, and to provide overall good health and well-being.

Diagnosing and treating conditions using these techniques is called Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (OMM).

Techniques include stretching, gentle pressure, and resistance, known as osteopathic manipulative medicine.

An osteopathic physician may also issue prescription medicine and use surgical methods to support the holistic, manual treatment.

Many osteopathic physicians also serve as primary care physicians in fields such as family medicine, internal medicine, and pediatrics.

Uses

Osteopathy can provide relief and treatment for a wide range of conditions.

These include:

  • arthritis
  • foot, ankle, hip, and knee pain
  • back pain, neck pain, and sciatica
  • hand, shoulder, and elbow pain
  • headaches
  • tennis and golfers elbow
  • postural problems due to pregnancy, sports injury, driving or work strain, or digestive issues
  • neuralgia

Osteopathic physicians can also detect conditions that are not treatable through osteopathy, to refer patients to other specialists.

Benefits

An osteopathic physician can help prevent problems by pinpointing potential sources of referred pain in good time.

They may suggest dietary modifications and changes to workplace ergonomics, such as seating and desk position.

Prevention advice can involve:

  • stretching exercises
  • lifting techniques
  • posture
  • breathing
  • stress reduction

These techniques can help improve posture and reduce pain. Learning to lift with the legs, or example, and to stretch before exercise can reduce injury.

Lifestyle changes can dramatically improve health and reduce ongoing health risks and costs.

Preventing injury means more time keeping active, less time off work, and freedom to enjoy the benefits of healthful living.

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