What’s Causing Your Pain?
In Shanghai, many of us live a high stress lifestyle. Expats tend to work hard and play hard. Many people deal with the stress by either engaging in a high level of sport/exercise or indulging in food and drink. There’s not always a great deal of balance.
You might wonder what, other than sports injuries, this has to do with the type of situations an osteopath typically sees. Interestingly, 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). These develop from various stressors, often related to lifestyle. With such a contraction, the body’s normal movement become restricted. The abdominal constriction pulls in a way that the person stands and moves differently, pulling on the lower back or misaligning the neck or shoulder. These compensations in other parts of the body eventually become pain.
The Osteopathic Evaluation: How the Body Works Together
An osteopathic evaluation starts by looking at the direct area where patient is experiencing pain. But, from there, the osteopath explores connecting areas and tissues. An osteopath is trained to evaluate the deeper tissues, such as fascia and cranial bones, to feel beyond a surface level what is causing the movement issues and therefore pain.
For example, a patient comes in with neck pain, one of the most common complaints. The osteopath gathers information from the patient and examines the neck. Then, he does a further evaluation of connecting tissues like the scapula, chest, spine, cranial bones and joints. This thorough examination helps the osteopath to determine the main dysfunction, which is often not at the pain source, and the compensation pattern throughout the body.
Osteopathy’s Systematic Approach to Pain and Movement Issues
From this evaluation, the osteopath can employ techniques to start with reducing the pain and improving movement but, more importantly, to deal with the root problem. For long-term relief, the patient’s body needs to be able to move freely. Any restriction of mobility leads to compensations. It is one of the human body’s strengths that it can compensate and move in different ways, but as this becomes a pattern it eventually causes problems. The last sign of this is pain.
Often, little physical reactions we have to stress and emotions start to restrict movement. For example, you clench your jaw in work meetings because you feel unable to express certain thoughts. Or, you hunch your shoulders when stressed. Soon these develop into automatic responses happening consistently over time. An osteopath can feel the dysfunction in the deep tissues. Surface treatment will only provide temporary relief in these cases.
The process is much simpler with acute injuries, but osteopathy’s techniques can also have highly effective and efficient results. However, osteopathy is particularly useful for chronic pain and related issues that haven’t been easily resolved. It may seem strange to the patient at first that the problem is potentially far away from the source of the pain. But he will experience the relief that comes with resolving the deeper patterns.
Do you see your problems in any of the above mentioned symptoms? Are you experiencing pain without knowing where it comes from? If so, booking an osteopathic assessment might be the best way to get long term relief. Alessandro provides a wide range of osteopathic treatments including joint manipulations, muscular, soft tissue, visceral and cranial treatments. He focuses on releasing pain and addressing several functional problems in order to assist the body's innate healing capacity. Click here to schedule an appointment with him.