In the U.S., osteopaths are fully accredited physicians, with the same practice rights as their allopathic physician counterparts, who carry MD Degrees. Osteopathic physicians earn the degree of Doctor of Osteopathy or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine.
Outside the U.S., most osteopaths are not accredited as physicians, and therefore mostly offer drug-free, non-medical interventions. Stress that was given to the importance of the musculoskeletal system on health during their initial training and lack of prescribing rights force them to offer largely Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (a form of manual therapy that includes an array of physical treatments, and in particular joint manipulation) to their patients.
Osteopathy is about handling of the skeleton and muscles of the body to promote mobility and balance. The philosophy of osteopathy is that a healthy body relies on a structurally sound musculoskeletal system. The osteopathic philosophy further states that our body is capable of healing itself and it is capable of maintaining a healthy state, if barriers such as structural problems and poor posture are removed. Osteopathy was developed in the late nineteenth century and has since gained world-wide recognition as a valuable and effective healing system.
Osteopathy works on certain principles let us take a look the order of importance given to it. First of the principal is to consider the body as a unit and every part of the body works in coordination. Next major belief is that the body has its own mechanisms to heal itself. Osteopaths only help the body in self healing process. Next principal is to consider the fact that the structure of the body effects the way the body functions. Many people view Osteopathy as a system to treat aches and pains in the spine, muscles and joints, but it is much more than this.
Osteopaths are effectively treating a range of disorders world over like asthma, back and neck pain, persistent fatigue, headache, joint pain, recurring strain injuries, sciatica, sports injuries, tendinitis.
The study of biomechanics is essential for osteopathy. It allows the osteopath to understand that how each part of our musculoskeletal system interrelates and persuades the functioning of other parts of the body. Injury to any joint or muscle must therefore be treated in the perspective of the whole body, as other parts of the musculoskeletal system will also be affected according to the osteopathic principle. The osteopath devises a strategy of treatment that takes into account the entire musculoskeletal system of the body. Equal amount of attention is given to other systems of the body, such as the circulatory, nervous and lymphatic systems. Since all of these systems play a significant role in the healing process.
Osteopathy is basically a manipulative medicine system. The focus is on overall body including muscles, ligaments, tendons, the spine and nervous system. An osteopath practitioner may use a variety of techniques, depending on your needs and problems, including soft tissue technique, moving the joint manually through its range of motion, by stretching muscles, encouraging muscles to work against resistance, spinal management, restoring balance and movement with gentle techniques, manipulation of the abdomen etc.
Osteopathy persuades you to take liability for your own long term health and wellbeing goals. An osteopath may help you to discover the lifestyle and environmental factors that contribute to your problems. These may include postural defects, excessive stress or the need for comfortable furniture.
An osteopath may work out a range of treatments, including specific exercise routines, techniques of relaxation or guide you through body awareness sessions to show you how to move your body moderately. In problems like prolapsed discs, joint infections or bone disease manipulation technique can be dangerous and it is better to be avoided.
Always remember that osteopathy is a manual medicinal system that works on the soft tissues of the body to relieve pain and improve joint mobility and according to the philosophy of osteopathy your body can't maintain a healthy state without a properly synchronized musculoskeletal system.