What is Osteopathy?

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What is Osteopathy?

Osteopathy is a way of detecting, treating and preventing health problems by moving, stretching and massaging a person's muscles and joints



Osteopathy is based on the principle that the wellbeing of an individual depends on their bones, muscles, ligaments and connective tissue functioning smoothly together.

Osteopaths use physical manipulation, stretching and massage with the aim of:

  • increasing the mobility of joints
  • relieving muscle tension
  • enhancing the blood supply to tissues
  • helping the body to heal

They use a range of techniques, but not drugs or surgery.

In the UK, osteopathy is a health profession regulated by UK law.

Although osteopaths may use some conventional medical techniques, the use of osteopathy isn't always based on scientific evidence.

When it's used

Most people who see an osteopath do so for help with conditions that affect the muscles, bones and joints, such as:

  • lower back pain
  • uncomplicated neck pain (as opposed to neck pain after an injury such as whiplash)
  • shoulder pain and elbow pain (for example, tennis elbow)
  • arthritis
  • problems with the pelvis, hips and legs
  • sports injuries
  • muscle and joint pain associated with driving, work or pregnancy

If you're pregnant, make sure you seek advice from your GP or midwife before you see an osteopath. You should also make sure you see an osteopath who specialises in muscle or joint pain during pregnancy.