Skeleton Key

By Dr Guy Ashburner | July 1, 2008

Skeleton Key

I could osteopathy be the answer to everyday aches and pains as well as more serious disorders? It’s time to bone up on this treatment..f you regularly suffer from back and neck pain, headaches, migraines, period pain, stress, fatigue or even ankle pain caused by killer heels and are looking for a holistic answer and form of relief, osteopathy could be the key.

So what exactly is osteopathy? According to the Collins English Dictionary it’s ‘a system of complementary medicine involving the treatment of medical disorders through the manipulation and massage of the skeleton and musculature’.

Osteopathy is suitable for people of all ages and the aim of the treatment is to remove any form of bodily aches and pains, whether it’s posture strain from hunching over a computer all day or whiplash as a result of a serious car accident. It could be a solution for those who have exhausted other forms of treatment with little success, as it not only aims to treat the problem but also to address the cause.

A HOLISTIC APPROACH

Osteopathy is a form of diagnosis and treatment that views the body as one functional unit, with each part being dependent on the other parts. Osteopaths therefore recognise that symptoms in one area could be caused by dysfunction in another.

‘Osteopaths take into account not only physical symptoms but also the patient’s lifestyle and attitudes, and his or her overall health, effectively treating the patient as a whole,’ says CapeTown osteopath Dr Guy Ashburner.‘Physical, environmental and stress factors are considered simultaneously, rather than as a collection of body systems that are usually treated individually and in isolation from each other by general medical practice,’ he says.

‘Osteopathic patients benefit from the underlying cause of the problem being dealt with, not a temporary masking of symptoms when a drug is taken, as advocated in other areas of medicine,’ says Ashburner.‘While considering immediate pain relief as important, the aim of osteopathy is to get patients well and keep them well.’

SPECIAL TREATMENT

Osteopaths use a wide range of techniques for the whole body, such as stretches, massage and gentle release techniques (cranial osteopathy), and although osteopaths do manipulate or ‘click’ joints (a technique associated with chiropractor treatment), Ashburner stresses that the technique is very different and much gentler.

Ashburner says most complaints normally require between three and four treatments but this depends on a person’s condition. In more serious cases the patient is advised to undergo regular treatment over a prolonged period. Many medical-aid schemes cover osteopathy - check with beforehand if you’re not sure whether you’re covered.


View a list of common complains that Osteopathy can assist with

Discovery the benefits of Osteopathy