The big question – what is osteopathy in its simplest terms?
Osteopathy is where osteopathic practitioners are treating patients with their hands, aiming to improve mechanical function of the body – following the concepts of structure governs function. When the structure is normalised, anatomically in a way it was meant to be for a particular individual, then the function is improved.
I use the term ‘normalise the structure’, as everyone has different body structure according to genetics and adaptive traits.
The sign of altered function has the characteristic presentation of pain (back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, etc.), usually if there is a problem anatomically, or the alteration of physiology/mechanics, in, for example, the spine, the hips, the shoulders. Normalising that mechanic or the structure will improve function and if the altered function is the cause of the pain, then normalising the structure will elevate the pain.
The concept of the normalising function refers to improve vascular and neural supply/feedback to the area, has an innate relationship in immunity, and therefore, immune health, together with drainage venous blood and lymphatic’s are all vital to function.
The challenging question is the source of pain and dysfunction, is it a fundamental cause, or is there an underlying pathology that would not benefit from osteopathic treatment? It is why the osteopath performs a detailed case history and examinations.