Osteopathy for Back Pain
As part of our series about treating back pain in Shanghai, Body & Soul practitioners will share how they address back pain and answer common questions. Today, Body & Soul’s osteopaths, Matthew Stevens, provide some insight on back pain relief from osteopathy.
What is Osteopathy?
Osteopathy is a form of manual medicine that focuses on total body health and the musculoskeletal system (joints, spine and muscles). Treatment aims to help the body’s nervous, circulatory and lymphatic systems function better.
Osteopathy focuses on treating acute and chronic pain, improving blood circulation and increasing energy levels. It is especially indicated when patients have experienced trauma such as accidents, surgeries, birth trauma, etc.
Along with treating pain and injury, osteopaths can provide supportive treatment for many conditions by maximizing the body’s ability to heal itself. For addressing back pain, an osteopath evaluates and treats the body’s restricted patterns of movement.
Osteopathic Evaluation of Back Pain
The primary cause of most of the neck, shoulder and lower back pain in Shanghai patients is related to a contraction occurring in the abdomen (diaphragm, stomach, colon, liver, etc.). These develop from various stressors, often related to lifestyle, and past traumas. With such a contraction, the body’s normal movement becomes restricted. As the body compensates for this, patients develop pain in different areas.
An osteopathic evaluation starts by looking at the direct area where patient is experiencing pain. But, from there, the osteopath explores connecting tissues. An osteopath is trained to evaluate the deeper tissues, to feel beyond a surface level what is causing the movement issues and therefore pain.
Osteopathic Treatment for Back Pain
An osteopath treats the whole person, focusing on how the musculoskeletal system affects functioning of the body’s systems. By restoring proper functioning and alignment, the patient gets both pain relief and a healthier overall body.
We experience many injuries and small traumas throughout life and the body has great healing capacity. But, the body is geared to survival, to get “up and running” as fast as possible, not necessarily for long-term healing. This means we may have an injury that hasn’t corrected itself, or the way we’ve compensated affects other areas of the body over time. Here in Shanghai, in particular, many of us are overworked and live a fast-paced lifestyle that may lead to fatigue and pain. The almost unnoticeable physical reactions we have to stress and emotions cause changes in the way we move. The osteopath’s goal is to rebalance the body and help work out alignment issues that may have developed, whether from a big injury or numerous small traumas and lifestyle.
The osteopath employs techniques to start with reducing the pain and improving movement but, more importantly, to deal with the root problem. Treatment involves gentle manipulation, especially of the muscles and soft tissues. The doctor may stretch or massage the muscles. The osteopath also offers wellness advice and exercises for health maintenance. For long-term relief, the patient’s body needs to be able to move freely.
Body & Soul offers osteopathy services in various clinics throughout Shanghai. Click here to schedule an appointment with an osteopath and get relief and long-term healing for your back pain.