We all need to take care of our bodies to maintain health and well-being for as long as we can. Even if you don’t have pain or injury or a particular condition doesn’t mean that you can’t have treatment. At Osteo & Health Inner West we believe preventative health care is vital.
We all have postural, work or play related stresses and strains placed on our bodies every day. Odds are you use a mobile phone or device of some kind which means you are probably looking down a lot or sitting at a desk for extended periods. These postures, repeated enough, will create strain in your body. It may not show up immediately but over time your body will become less resilient to change away from these postures. It may not show up immediately but over time your body will become less resilient to change away from these postures and may result in symptoms like headaches or stiffness and pain. Changing positions consistently and maintaining better posture is easier for your body to cope with, particularly in the long term.
If you are already headed down the pain pathway, treatment can help to relieve tight and stiff structures so you can then get yourself moving. We can also advise you of the best course of action so that you don’t return to pain and dysfunction. Simple changes like those mentioned above are often enough for your body to feel relief.
If you don’t have any pain or stiffness and everything is functioning really well then treatment could be considered a form of maintenance. Most of us service our cars every year, and a little more frequently the older they get so why not service your body as well.
Babies and children
Babies and children are growing and changing rapidly. They are learning new skills and constantly adapting to the world around them. Sometimes kids find these changes challenging or they have a condition or an injury which makes them more difficult.
Osteopaths with a focus on treating children assess musculoskeletal growth and development, developmental milestones, movement and coordination. They perform physical, orthopaedic, neurological and functional tests designed for children to help with their assessment.
Gentle treatment of babies is aimed at helping with strains created in utero or during selivery. Symptoms such as stiff or truned neck, asymmetrical or misshapen head, colic and reflux can all result from these strains. Other symptoms you might see in your baby are favouring turning their head to one side and breastfeeding problems. Osteopaths with paediatric training and experience are taught to recognise and treat or refer based on these findings.
Toddlers and young children exploring the world go through a series of milestones such as rolling, sitting, crawling and ultimately walking. Ensuring children meet their developmental milestones is important for all areas of a child’s development. Osteopaths work with the child, their parents and, if required, other health professionals to achieve optimal growth and development for the child. Concerns commonly presenting in toddlers include difficulties with fine or gross motor skills and movement dysfunctions.
The techniques osteopaths use to treat babies and children include a variety of gentle approaches based on the individual needs of the child. A complete orthopaedic and osteopathic assessment is conducted, a diagnosis reached and any findings discussed with the parents of the child before treatment commences. Along with gentle hands on techniques, your child may also be sent home with exercises or simple movements to complete as an adjunct to treatment.
Women in pregnancy
Pregnancy is a natural process that should not automatically cause pain yet 1 in 4 pregnant women experience pelvic girdle pain and 60% of women experience some pain or discomfort in their pelvis, thoracic cage, arms, head or neck.
The three trimesters of pregnancy see significant changes inthe pregnant woman’s body. The first is often characterised by symptoms of extreme tiredness, nausea and morning sickness, constipation and headaches. In the second trimester body changes can result in back or pelvic pain, numbness or tingling in the hands and swelling in ankles and hands. Finally as the baby really starts to grow in size in the third trimester and push up under their ribs, women often experience shortness of breath or rib pain as well as low back and pelvic pain and continued swelling of the extremities.
Osteopathic treatment has been shown to besafe for pregnant women and may assist in decreasing the severity of low back and pelvic pain. Gentle techniques can be used to encourage the best possible movement on the spine and pelvis for ease of movement for mum and baby. Osteopaths can also advise pregnant women of the most suitable exercises during and after their pregnancy.
Acupuncture has also been shown to be a safe method of treatment in all stages of pregnancy and provides women an alternative to taking medication. It can also be used as a Pre-birth treatment which consists of weekly treatments from 37-38 weeks to help prepare the body for the birth by softening the cervix and calming the mind and body. Additionally, acupuncture and moxibustion may help to turn breech babies. Much research has been conducted on the safety of acupuncture being used during pregnancy for many pregnancy related issues. A usefull resource for further information in this subject is Debra Bett’s website.
Becoming older is not on its own a reason for pain. Ageing processes will mean all your soft tissues such as muscles, ligaments, nerves, blood vessels and fascia will lose elasticity becoming stiffer and more prone to injury. Joints will also become stiffer and less mobile which means their capacity to monitor where you are in space may diminish. All these physical changes can cause symptoms such as poor balance, general stiffness, arthritis, changes in blood pressure, tiredness and, at times, pain.
Another erroneous belief is that nothing can be done about this sequence of events. An ageing body, much like an ageing car, needs maintenance. Bodies were designed to move. We would have far fewer joints and elastic pully systems (muscles) if we were designed to be still. Therefore, the grease and oil change for your body essentially is movement. A combination of active and passive movement, weight bearing and non-weight bearing movement are all essential for optimal health.
Osteopaths are well placed to help with the maintenance of older bodies. They use a variety of gentle techniques to restore balance and flexibility of all those structures mentioned above. Soft tissue, massage type techniques and stretching for muscles and tendons, releasing techniques for fascia and gentle mobilisation for joints. As active range of motion and weight bearing activity is important for healthy bones and joints and stronger more flexible muscles, osteopaths will also discuss with you types of exercise or activity that will be best for you as your body continues the march of time.