Chronic Pain Management

By Dr Guy Ashburner | October 30, 2019

Chronic Pain management

“Osteopathic manipulative treatment reduced pain and improved function in patients suffering from chronic, nonspecific low back pain. Further, patients reporting the worst pain and higher degrees of disability received the most substantial benefit from the treatments.” Journal of the American Osteopathic Association

Chronic pain affects millions of people each year. Managing chronic pain without the use of medication is possible for some patients. The role of osteopathy in pain management is underutilized and sometimes misunderstood. With a holistic approach to patient care—encompassing the integration of structure and function, emotional and social aspects of health and healing, and an investigative approach to pain assessment and management—osteopaths are uniquely positioned to manage patients with chronic pain. Osteopathy may help patients reduce the need for their pain medication requirements, and this conservative management may keep them away from more invasive procedures unless clinically indicated.

In addition to assessing areas of pain, the osteopathic structural examination focuses on the body’s overall postural alignment and gait. Posture and gait give the osteopath insight into the body’s efficiency, as well as stress and strain patterns within the body. Chronic pain conditions have been linked to postural imbalances. Every movement the body makes should happen with relative ease. Injury, trauma or illness may change the mechanics of your body, not allowing that body to function or move efficiently. Osteopathic history and examination looks to also identify treatable causes of postural compensation, including ergonomics at home and work, during pregnancy, sport, accidents and illness.

Osteopathic techniques (joint release/articulation, cranial osteopathy, myofascial release, lymphatic drainage) apply subtle specific manual force to different regions in the body. These techniques can help: relieve joint restriction and misalignment, restore muscle, fascial and tissue balance, promote the movement of blood and lymph flow throughout the body and treat structural and tissue abnormalities and improve pain symptoms, which may help trigger the body’s ability to heal. Rational treatment is based upon an understanding of the basic osteopathic principles of body unity, self-regulation, and the interrelationship of structure and function. It is not just osteopathic treatment that makes osteopathy different; it is the osteopathic philosophy on which the whole osteopathic system of medicine is based.

Osteopathic treatment may be just one aspect of an osteopath’s whole-body approach to the treatment of chronic pain. Osteopathy is often used in combination with proper nutrition, patient education, exercise or in conjunction with another modality such as your medical doctor.

Osteopathy may help patients with health problems such as: Low back pain, neck pain, sports injuries, stress and fatigue, repetitive strain injuries, headaches, joint pain, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, jaw pain and shoulder tension.

If you suffer from pain and have tried other options with no pain relief, osteopathy may help you. Osteopathy focuses on the individual as a whole, rather than just treating specific symptoms.