Osteopathic medicine is a type of medicine that considers the entire body and not just a person’s individual or isolated symptoms. Osteopathic medicine is very popular right now, especially for people who suffer from joint and muscle pain. Many people believe that when you have neck pain, one of the best resources you can seek out is an osteopath. Of course, if you’ve never visited an osteopath before, you might be nervous, but you really need not worry. Here is what to expect when you visit an osteopath to treat neck pain.
The first part of your visit will be an exam that feels more like a visit to a “traditional” doctor. You’ll most likely give your complete medical history and also receive a physical examination. In many cases, your osteopath might order extra tests to help narrow down exactly why your neck is in pain. You might have an X-Ray taken to see if there is any physical damage to the vertebrae in your neck, but don’t be surprised if your osteopath pays attention to other parts of your body as well!
You should know that your visit to an osteopath will involve quite a bit of touching. Osteopathic medicine is “hands on” medicine.
The osteopath you visit can use any or all of the following methods to treat your neck pain:
Counterstrain technique: this is where you are moved into a position that helps to restore the motion to any muscles that might have been restrained/strained.
Muscle Energy technique: your osteopath will give you specific exercises in which you will use your muscles from a specific position and move them in specific directions.
Soft Tissue technique: this technique involves your osteopath putting pressure on the muscles that are near and around your spine. Sometimes the pressure is deep, other times it involves traction or rhythmic stretching.
Thrust technique: your osteopath will use high velocity force to reintroduce movement to your joints or to get rid of any signs of muscle asymmetry, restricted movement, muscle tenderness or tissue changes.
If your osteopath deems it necessary, your neck pain might be treated with a low level laser or even acupuncture!
An osteopathic visit might sound scary, but there is no reason to be frightened. Most people who visit an osteopath don’t experience any pain. Most of the time osteopathic visits have been reported to be pleasant and relaxing!
A number of people often confuse osteopaths with chiropractors, but it is important to understand that the two professionals, while seemingly similar, are actually quite