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What is Osteopathy?

In this section you will learn what Osteopathy is.

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
  • Reducing pain
  • Enhancing the blood supply to tissues
  • Helping the body to heal

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

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

When is it 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 back 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