Osteopathy recognizes the healing power of the body, and attempts to facilitate that process. The Osteopathic physician’s goal is to reduce pain and restore motion, as well as help the body heal itself. Osteopathic manipulation is a non-invasive hands-on technique used for diagnosis and prevention, as well as treatment. OMT can contribute to the healing of trauma from both physical and emotional causes.
Many old injuries lead either to chronic spasms or contracture of tissues, all of which can cause compensatory problems, leading to chronic pain. An osteopath’s goal is to first of all, restore normal motion and function to these damaged areas, and to improve the vascular flow that is frequently injured by trauma. In addition, Osteopathic treatments often have an additional benefit of alleviating the energy the body has to use to repair and compensate these injuries. Patients often find their treatments lead to an unexpected relief of old long forgotten trauma. The following are a few examples of issues which Osteopathic manipulation is often able to improve.
Due to changes in a woman’s body during pregnancy, patients often experience low back pain, heartburn, and general discomfort. OMT can increase flexibility and aid lymphatic flow, as well as decrease smooth muscle spasms, bringing relief to many of these symptoms with no side effects to the infant.
As children’s nervous systems are particularly amenable to osteopathic manipulation, we find that early treatment can prevent many difficulties later in life.
Birth Trauma – A newborn’s cranium compresses as a normal part of the birth process. Difficult deliveries, as well as normal deliveries using anesthesia can inhibit the expansion of these bones. Gentle cranial osteopathy can often resolve this situation in a few treatments.
Breastfeeding – The nerves which control tongue motion (located at the base of the head) required for breastfeeding can also be compressed during the birth process. Gentle cranial osteopathy can often help an infant with an uncoordinated sucking reflex.
Colic/reflux – The nerves controlling the function of a newborns’ digestive tract can likewise be compressed during the birth process. Gentle cranial osteopathy can often improve these problems as well.
Developmental delays/learning disorders: Osteopathic manipulation can free contractures, decrease nervous system hyper-irritability, and support the child in functioning to the best of their capabilities.
Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy – by decreasing the soft tissue restrictions to peripheral nerves and restoring lymphatic flow patients often obtain significant relief.
Headaches – The causes of headache are myriad. Tension headaches can be reduced through a decrease in nervous system tone, while post traumatic headaches respond to the restoration of motion in the small bones of the cranium, and migraines can be improved with a change in the function of the cranium and decreased spasticity of cranial blood vessels.
Sciatica – Mobilizing the sacrum and reducing chronic compensatory spasms can decrease the nerve hyper-irritability significantly.
Sports Injuries – osteopaths use a variety of techniques to restore motion and function, and decrease swelling, shortening healing times.
Low back/cervical/midback pain – by increasing motion to the vertebrae and decreasing spasms patients often find relief.
Anxiety/Depression – Many conditions including PTSD, panic attacks and chronic generalized depression or anxiety can benefit by balancing the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems.
PTSD – the residual effects of both emotional and physical trauma are often “stored” in the body. Osteopathic manipulation in conjunction with psychotherapy and other techniques such as EMDR . (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing)can help “release” these old injuries. While the goal is not to relive the traumatic event (which can happen as a side effect of somato-emotional release), manipulation works with the bodies’ capacity to heal, and can actually restore the body to its original healthy state.
Emphysema/asthma – manipulation improves rib and lung elasticity, often improving pulmonary function.
Osteopaths can often decrease the pain associated with various cancers and impact other end of life issues through gentle work with the nervous system.