Ask someone to explain what osteopathy is all about and often they won’t really know or may get it wrong. Here are some of the most common misconceptions about this health practice.
It’s only about bones
There’s a good reason why many people think osteopathy is only about treating bones, after all, the word osteo stems from the Greek word for bones. While the roots of osteopathy are based in helping people with bone complaints, these days, osteopaths treat all the body systems, including the joints and muscles.
It’s just for back trouble
Many people wrongly assume that an osteopath only focuses on treating those with back troubles. Although many osteopaths do see a lot of people who experience aches and pains in the back, the scope of their work is much wider than this. An osteopath can treat pain in any part of the body and they can help with issues such as headaches, ankle injuries, tennis elbow, pregnancy problems, sports injuries and rheumatism.
Osteopathy is a newfangled treatment
Contrary to what some people believe, osteopathy is not a new-age alternative treatment. It has actually been around for many years, dating back to 1874 when it was first coined by Dr Andrew Still. Indeed, it is regarded as the first manual therapy to exist.
Far from being airy-fairy, osteopathy is based on scientific principles and is highly regulated. It can take four years of full-time training to become a qualified osteopath, and even then practitioners need to complete 30 hours of continued training every year.
Osteopaths are the same as chiropractors and physiotherapists
Although there is an overlap in some of the work carried out by osteopaths, chiropractors and physiotherapists, it is not correct to make the assumption that they are all the same thing. In fact, each discipline has a slightly different way of doing things and treatment philosophies. Generally speaking, an osteopath will take a holistic approach to treat the entire body, while a physiotherapist hones in on helping rehabilitate a particular area in the body. On the other hand, a chiropractor centres more on spinal issues and the surrounding nerves.
Osteopathy also came on the scene several years before chiropractic therapy and physiotherapy.
Osteopathy is painful
Think of osteopathy and people tend to conjure up ideas of having your bones re-positioned or your joints cracked, which, inevitably, sounds like a lot of pain! This isn’t the case at all. If you use the services of an osteopath and sports massage therapist then you shouldn’t find the experience painful. However, you may notice minor discomfort in seldom-used muscles and joints that are being manipulated or stretched, but you should notice an improvement in painful symptoms in the long-term.