Can Osteopathy Help Posture? And What is it?

Before we take in in-depth look at how Osteopathy can help with your posture, first we’d better see what Osteopathy actually is.

Osteopathy is a holistic or complementary therapy. Osteopaths believe that diseases are due to a loss of structural integrity. This is because they believe that good health can be restored with manipulation and supplementary therapy, excluding drugs or surgery.

I think today, many Osteopaths have moved on from that definition. Particularly as it’s hard to reliably state that disease is a result of a loss of structural integrity.

The NHS describes Osteopathy as “a way of detecting, treating and preventing health problems by moving, stretching and massaging a person’s muscles and joints” and I’d say that’s a fairly comprehensive description! But you’re here because you want to know, can osteopathy help posture? Let’s find out…

The Osteopaths I’ve met tend to be rounded complementary healthcare specialists. They work predominantly by manipulating bones, cracking backs and massaging muscles. As a result, Osteopaths sit in the same sphere as Physical Therapists (physiotherapists) and Chiropractors. And they deal predominantly with the same issues too. These are generally back and neck pain, and sports injuries.

In the UK at present, there’s limited evidence to suggest that osteopathy may be effective for some types of neck, shoulder or lower-limb pain, and recovery after hip or knee operations. But there’s no good evidence that it’s effective as a treatment for health conditions unrelated to the bones and muscles (musculoskeletal system).

As with all therapies, the treatment is only as good as the therapist. So be sure to find a good one! A recommendation from a friend or family member is usually a good way to go.

Can Osteopathy help posture?

Massaging, stretching and lengthening your tight muscles can help you have a better shape, which is great. Cracking your back may well feel great, but evidence that it helps with back pain, or even posture, is limited.

That said, an Osteopath can help with general advice on improving your environment and your posture in general. I have met clients who swear by the benefits of Osteopathy. In my time as an Alexander Technique teacher, I’ve had clients whose visits to an Osteopath have definitely been beneficial,  and reached parts that as an Alexander Teacher I wouldn’t have reached. These osteopaths have always been the most seasoned and long-term, I’d feel very cautious about visiting a newly-qualified one.

I’d say yes, and Osteopath can help you improve your posture through manual manipulation of bones and muscles, supplemented by lifestyle advice.

As before, it will be the quality of the therapist that makes the biggest difference, so be sure to find a good one, and check with your doctor before beginning any treatment.

A final note on Osteopathy for posture…

I’ve worked with a few Osteopaths over the years. I have found them to be knowledgeable, and helpful for my clients.  My recommendation is that you could use this as your choice from the available Posture Therapies, for our 5 ways to fix posture working from home series. Can Osteopathy help posture? I’d say it’s a useful addition to your toolkit. The only real downside is that you’d have to go in-person to see an osteopath, which isn’t everyone’s first choice nowadays.

Bye for now,

James.

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