Osteopathy was the subject of Richard Lloyd's recent talk to Penrith Rotary Club at the town's George Hotel.
The practice of Osteopathy was formally inaugurated in the USA in the late 19th century and became established in the UK around 1915. It builds on a belief that the body has, within itself, all the capacity to function and repair itself properly. Initially it was viewed with suspicion and was identified with the then prevailing practice of 'bone setting'. Inevitably it was opposed by the medical professionals and the parliament of the day refused to endorse it as legitimate medical practice. But things have moved on. The profession is now fully recognised and operates within a legal framework provided by the Osteopaths Act 1993.The General Osteopathic Council regulates the practice of osteopathy in the United Kingdom. It is regarded as complementary to other approaches rather than an alternative. By law osteopaths must be registered in order to practice.
Richard explained that osteopathy involves both applied physiology and anatomy. It recognises that the body, structurally and functionally, is a single unit. In turn, this drives a holistic approach rather than concentrating on a small area alone.
The majority of his clients are self-referrals with about 10% being referred by GP's with others coming from hospitals. Initial consultations go through the case history; what makes the symptoms worse, what relieves them? This is followed by standard orthopedic and neurologic testing, going through a range of movements and feeling how tissue responds to stimulation and movement. Slightly more than half of patients present with lower back problems which may be nerve irritation. In many cases disc problems are sourced in joint deterioration. Neck, shoulder and arm pain is seen in many consultations as are foot, ankle, knee, ligament and cartilage problems. Early onset of arthritis can affects people's lifestyles and osteopathy can help make the best of things. Quite often muscle problems reflect mechanical problems elsewhere. Consistent headaches may be caused by neck problems. In some cases patients are referred back to their GP's or other providers.
Richard concluded his talk by distinguishing osteopathy with other approaches, chiropractics, physiotherapy and acupuncture.
Following a question and answer session President of Rotary John Brookfield observed that there is some public confusion between different approaches and he thanked Richard for making things clearer.
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