Osteopathy is a profession which seeks to restore the body’s balance and enhance the natural healing mechanisms by adjusting the body’s tissues. They work on the connective tissues, joints, ligaments and muscles to reduce pain, improve movement and increase normal function.
Osteopaths can help with sports injuries, sports performance, injury prevention and rehabilitation after injury or operation. They can treat many conditions with a wide variety of techniques.
Osteopaths work with both amateur sports participants and elite athletes in high-level competition or in professional sport. They can deal with all musculoskeletal conditions such as back pain, neck pain, joint sprains, muscle strains and generalised stiffness and problems with movement.
Osteopathic advice and guidance during rehabilitation can prevent return to activity too soon, thereby ensuring a smooth return to high-level activity at the right point for the tissues of the injured area.
Osteopathy fits within a team approach to sports medicine, along with sports medicine doctors and sports injury physiotherapists. They all focus on optimising performance whilst minimising the risk of injury, and osteopaths may work as sole practitioners with small teams or with individuals in their private practice.
Sports Injury Treatments
Osteopaths can quickly influence movement patterns using manipulation, so may be able to improve performance and allow a sports woman or man to perform when time is critical.
Apart from osteopathic manipulation, osteopaths may use:
- Massage to relax tired or tight muscles, reduce swelling, prevent adhesions and relieve pain.
- Strain-counterstrain techniques to tender points around the area concerned.
- Balanced ligamentous tension techniques to joints.
- Myofascial release to relax and lengthen tight or painful muscles.
- Exercise programmes to progress rehabilitation, improve strength, balance, coordination and endurance.
- Stretching to lengthen muscles and improve range of motion at joints.
- Ultrasound, laser, and cold therapy to target inflammation or relax tissue to allow other treatments to be effective.
- Self-care and advice allows sports participants to learn how to plan or modify their activity to get the best performance with the least chance of injury.
Osteopaths can also help adjust joint and muscle imbalances in the body and so lessen the chances of injury or recurring injury after an initial episode. This is part of the holistic approach that osteopaths use, so they can optimise your body’s muscles, joints, ligaments and connective tissues to get the best performance and least chance of injury.
Typical reasons for sports injuries are overtraining, overuse of joints or tendons, poor technique and insufficient preparation. Osteopaths can help with all these problems, treating conditions such as tennis elbow, Achilles tendonitis, disc problems, knee ligament strains, ankle sprains, low back pain, neck pain and tendon problems from overuse.
Osteopaths aim to relieve your pain, reduce scar tissue formation, improve performance and return you to work or sport as soon as possible.