Osteopathy and Cranial Osteopathy

Osteopathy is based on the principle that structure and function are interrelated and therefore they need each other to sustain health.

The osteopath will look to seek out the changes that have occurred in your muscles and joints, which may not only be causing you localised symptoms, but may also have far reaching effects upon the whole body. These changes and the resulting pain, may lead you to alter your gait, adapt a different posture and can affect the nerve and blood flow.

The osteopath, through careful case history taking, observation, examination and palpation, will seek to put the pieces of the jigsaw together to find out what structure is causing your problem, what has lead you to developing the problem and what factors could be maintaining it. They will then work with you to aim not only get you out of pain, but to help you understand your condition, so that you can maintain wellbeing and hopefully prevent recurrence. This assessment will include looking at your lifestyle, hobbies, environmental and emotional factors that may be influencing your health.

Treatments may include therapeutic massage, gentle manipulation, trigger point therapy and stretching. Electrotherapy can also aid recovery and exercises or daily routine advice maybe given to try to prevent a recurrence of the problem.

Cranial osteopathy is a refined and subtle type of osteopathic treatment that encourages the release of stresses and tensions throughout the body, including the head. It is a gentle approach and may be used for a wide range of conditions for people of all ages, from birth to old age.

Cranial osteopaths are trained to feel a very subtle, rhythmical shape change that is present in all body tissues. This is called involuntary motion or the cranial rhythm. The movement is very small, therefore it takes practitioners with a very finely developed sense of touch to feel it. This rhythm was first described in the early 1900’s by Dr. William G. Sutherland and its existence was confirmed in a series of laboratory tests in the 1960’s and 1970’s.

Tension in the body disrupts the cranial rhythm. Practitioners compare what your rhythm is doing to what they consider ideal. This shows them what stresses and strains your body is under at present and what tensions it may be carrying as a result of its past history. It may also give them an insight into the overall condition of your body.

When we experience physical or emotional stresses our body tissues tend to tighten up. The body may have been able to adapt to these effects at the time, but a lasting strain often remains. Any tensions which remain held in the body can restrict its free movement. Gradually the body may find it more and more difficult to cope with accumulated stresses and symptoms may develop.

Cranial osteopathy aims to treat the whole person not just the condition, so a wide range of problems may benefit from treatment. These may include back and neck pain, joint pain, headaches and an inability to relax or sleep.

Like adults, children of all ages can benefit greatly from osteopathic treatment. Should you have any concerns about your child or baby, please contact us directly and speak to Gemma, our paediatric osteopath at BOP. We also receive referrals from GP’s, health care visitors, speech therapists and midwives for paediatric patients.

Gemma has received specialist training, meaning she can safely and effectively examine, diagnose and treat children.

During a consultation, Gemma will take some details about why you’ve come to see her, which can sometimes include talking about your pregnancy and your babies delivery. She will do a full examination, for babies this is similar to their neonatal examination – checking all muscle tone, reflexes and movements with extra attention to the areas that may be associated with their symptoms.

For older children, the examination will be similar but taking into account what stage they’re at with their development. They’ll be undressed to their nappy/underwear at the initial consultation.

She’ll then discuss whats wrong, formulate a treatment plan and carry out some treatment, mostly gentle soft tissue massage and stretching and give you exercises to do at home.

During pregnancy, hormonal changes in the body causing relaxation of ligaments, as well as mechanical postural changes, can mean that previous aches or pains can reoccur or sometimes contribute to new problems.

Treatment can be an effective way to ease and manage these symptoms during pregnancy, making you feel more comfortable.

Treatment is safe during all stages of pregnancy and your osteopath will give you gentle stretches and exercises which will take into account your changing body.

Sometimes labour and delivery can place demands on your body, especially if you have a long labour or if assistance is required, like forceps or ventouse. This can be short term for some, but can be even six months post delivery. Feeding posture and lifting a growing baby can also lead to aches and pains in the neck, back and wrists.

Treatment to relieve symptoms whilst giving you advice on lifting, posture and safely returning to exercise can ensure that you focus all your new little one.

At BOP Gemma and Helen have a specialist interest in treatment of clients throughout their pregancies. Gemma also see’s many babies post delivery to check all is well with your newborn too!