What is Osteopathy?
Osteopathy is a form of manual therapy that incorporates clinical diagnosis via the use of an appropriate history and examination (including aspects of musculoskeletal and medical testing). Treatment and management plans are developed according to these findings and tailored to the individual’s needs. Osteopathy is unique in that the overall examination, diagnosis and treatment is conducted with respect to a wholistic approach, where the body is a unit and an appreciation of the various systems of the body (musculoskeletal, neurological, cardiovascular, etc.) and aspects of each individual’s lifestyle (occupation, social, exercise, home-based activities, family needs, etc.) is ensured for the best overall management of each patient.
Osteopaths are versatile in their manual therapy application as they incorporate many techniques into their treatment including soft tissue massage/stretching, joint articulations/manipulations, along with their own techniques to achieve treatment goals. It is also important to note that osteopaths are unique in their treatment application and the range of techniques used varies between practitioners. Furthermore, they incorporate rehabilitation programs (where relevant) into their consultations to promote self-healing as a tool for sustainable change in a patient’s management. These programs may include mobility, strength & conditioning, stability, balance and flexibility, which all may contribute to the successful management of injuries and conditions including athletes.
How can Osteopathy help Sports Health and Performance?
Osteopathy also incorporates a functional approach to patient management where the movements that are important for each individual in their chosen activity, occupation or sport, are incorporated as a part of their examination, treatment and rehabilitation. Given that sports require a higher level of conditioning and performance, strength & conditioning is also an important aspect of osteopathy at Ranges Osteopathy and Performance which should be complemented by the use of wholistic treatment and rehabilitation to achieve the best possible physical condition of the body to adapt to the intensity of a given sport. Hence, the use of various functional weight-based movements can be examined, assessed, altered and prescribed by osteopaths with regards to an athlete’s deficiencies, injuries/conditions and goals for their sport.
A good example of this is the use of a squat to examine a patient who competes in jumping sports. This particular individual requires efficiency in the entire body through this movement at certain times in their sport, which may include (not limited to) mobility/flexibility of their spine, hips and ankles, as well as stability through their hips and power through their buttock muscles to achieve optimal performance in this movement.
Many athletes utilise their strengths (e.g. strong hip flexors/quadriceps) to achieve certain movements like a squat to perform in their sport, which is not always the most optimal way to achieve this. Addressing an athlete’s strength & conditioning needs (e.g. gluteal strength through squats) as well as tailoring a suitable rehabilitation program (e.g. hip mobility and stability) can help achieve a more balanced and efficient functional movement that will enhance their overall physical performance and provide a more optimal environment to carry-out their sporting skills/requirements.
Another aspect of sports health and performance is preventative management to address deficiencies in regions of each patient’s movements that are required to perform in their respective sporting environment. Ignoring this concept may be detrimental to an athlete’s performance and physical being where they face an increased risk of injury in the future.