Osteopathy & chiropractic
Supporting the body’s innate ability to balance, restore, and heal
“When every part of the machine is correctly adjusted and in perfect harmony, health will hold dominion over the human organism by laws as natural and immutable as the laws of gravity.”
—Andrew Taylor Still MD, DO (Founder of Osteopathic medicine)
Osteopathy and chiropractic share a common philosophy 1) the body has an inherent ability to heal itself 2) that the musculoskeletal system is central to our health and wellbeing. Both disciplines use a similar variety of hands-on techniques and methods to treat muscular, postural, cranial and paediatric conditions. In general, osteopathy tends to work more on the subtler systems of the body, the organs and soft tissue with less manual adjustments than chiropractic. However, the training and styles of different osteopaths and chiropractors vary a lot and so we suggest that you read their individual biographies; you may also find it beneficial to be try both treatments to decide which approach and practitioner is best suited to you.
Our osteopaths and chiropractors have the same goal: to relieve you of your aches and pain, to fix an injury and to rebalance your whole system moving you towards better health. The practitioner will begin with a comprehensive patient evaluation where they will examine the area of pain or problem and assess any broader problems or cause and more importantly explain how they are going to help. They will design a treatment plan specific to your needs, removing obstacles that impede on normal movement, and help restore structural integrity and balance in your body.
Osteopathy is a form of natural medicine that uses physical manipulation: stretching and massage, with the aim to increase mobility, relieve muscle tension, enhance blood supply to tissues and help the body to heal. Many osteopaths train to doctorate level and focus on how the skeleton, joints, muscles, nerves, circulation, connective tissue, and internal organs function together in an integrated way. It is suitable for all ages: adults, children, newborns and the elderly.
Cranial-osteopathy sits within osteopathy and includes the treatment of structures inside the head, nerves and senses and flow of the cerebral spinal fluid. Cranial sacral therapy uses subtle techniques to release blockages that affect the endocrine system (all the glands in your body that make hormones). It is inherently relaxing and releases tension in the nervous system and is particular useful for anyone someone suffering with sleep disorder or needing nervous system support.
Cranial osteopaths use a highly developed sense of touch to feel subtle changes of tension and tissue quality in the living anatomy of the whole body and to diagnose areas of strain or dysfunction and restore balance.
There is often a misconception that osteopathy is limited to treating muscular-skeletal pain, and while it is extremely effective in helping the body to recover more quickly and to prevent future injury, an osteopath can treat so much more than that.
- Musculoskeletal symptoms (e.g. neck, back, shoulder pain, tendonitis (tennis elbow), TMJ (jaw pain)
- Sports injury (e.g. ankle sprain, tennis and golf elbow, iliotibial band syndrome, tibial periostis, psoas syndrome)
- Migraines with mechanical origins; tension headaches
- Arthritis and joint pain
- Hormone imbalance and immune health
- Stress, insomnia, improving circulation, and whiplash
- Viral infections (e.g. ear infections, flu, colds)
- Gynaecological issues (e.g. menstrual discomfort, pregnancy, birth, recovery from C-section, infertility)
- Newborns and babies (e.g. breast-feeding issues, excessive crying, flat head, colic, ear infections, teething, sinus problems)
- Digestive issues (e.g. reflux, constipation) in babies, children and adults
- Growing pains (especially in children and teens)
Osteopathy can help alleviate a whole host of health conditions through all stages of life: pre-natal, pregnancy, newborn babies, childhood, adolescent, right through to old age. Because it is safe and gentle, osteopathy is ideal to treat newborns and babies.
The first consultation the osteopath will explore, assess, and begin to tackle the problem areas. You will have approximately 30 minutes of treatment to begin to address your presenting and underlying issues. The follow-up consultation, lasts between 40 minutes to 1 hour where we will continue to build on the previous therapeutic work, and as progress is made the sessions will become shorter. Problem areas will become recovering areas and the focus will be on deeper, perhaps more subtle healing, restoring balance in the system, maintenance and establishing good practise.
The approach is similar for children. Children are treated in a relaxed environment whilst sitting down or playing with toys. The follow-up treatment will be the same in nature but would be slightly shorter.
Disease is a disturbed condition not a thing or entity.
—Daniel David Palmer (Founder of chiropractic medicine)
Chiropractic specialises in the detection, correction and prevention of muscle and joint problems. It is a system focussed on the functioning of the joints of the body and in particular the spine, as problems in this area often affect the nerves muscles and organs. Reducing spinal nerve stress promotes health throughout the body.
Most chiropractic treatment involves skilled adjustments, also known as chiropractic manipulation, manual manipulation or spinal manipulation. But chiropractor can take a much gentler approach, using more subtle techniques and can treat newborn babies. Many offer a combination of soft manual therapy to deep tissue work and adjustments. Proper alignment of the body’s musculoskeletal structure means that the body can heal and rebalance itself without medication or surgery.
Chiropractic Kinesiology is part of chiropractic and looks at the structural, nutritional, emotional, and energetic/meridian imbalances. It is a holistic body-mind therapy and relies on reflexes and muscle tests to uncover the underlying issues—mental, emotional and physical.
Chiropractic is particularly good to ensure a healthy spine and nervous system, including:
- Back, neck pain and shoulder pain
- Joint pain & arthritis
- Before, during & after Pregnancy, helping with pelvic balance and alignment and help the body adapt to the changes that are happening throughout the stages.
- Accident & injury
- Sports injuries and enhancing performance
- Poor posture
Like osteopathy, chiropractic treatment isn’t just for adults, everyone can benefit, from newborns to senior and everyone in between.
On your first full visit the chiropractor will run through a thorough case history. They will carry out a full neurological and orthopaedic examination; X-rays, MRI or further tests may also be suggested when clinically relevant. Once these examinations are complete, the chiropractor carries out detailed analysis of how the individual bones, joints and muscles move to identify the specific problem.
Treatment may consist of gently unlocking the stiff joints with skilled manipulation by hand, known as an adjustment. Depending on presenting complaints, a balance of other treatments include trigger point therapy, massage, dry needling, stretching, postural, ergonomic and exercise therapy as well as other electro therapeutic approaches to restore normal function.
Related articles and further information
Whether metabolic syndrome is “in your genes” or the consequence of dietary and lifestyle habits, IMI’s naturopaths are skilled at supporting you at every stage.
With the summer holidays upon us, now may be the ideal time to explore different sports and physical activities to reduce pent-up stress and increase mental wellbeing. IMI Osteopath Jonathan Vallade shares the hard challenges that impacted his mental health and the strategies that turned his life around.
For people with respiratory conditions like asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia or reduced breathing from old injuries, the COVID-19 outbreak is understandably a big cause for concern. Having a respiratory condition does...
Anxiety had become George’s way of life for over five years, but it was his rising blood pressure and heart palpitations that brought the 46 year old to IMI. Recognising...
Inattention, forgetfulness, impulsive behaviour, restlessness, severe frustration, bed-wetting, and disruptive behaviour – do these behaviours ring a bell in relation to your child? If so, they may be suffering from...
How many hours do you think you spend hunched over your smartphone? The answer is probably too many. Waiting for a bus? Friend a bit late? It’s all too easy to...
By Nathalie Tellier, Osteopath Osteopathy is a holistic, gentle manual therapy that aims to restore your health and vitality. Tensions or restrictions in the body can impede on the proper...
Dr. Aaron Anderson, IMI’s Osteopath and Sports Therapist, talks about how osteopathy eliminates the root cause of your pain and treats the whole body.