Aches and pains may easily be treated with osteopathy but where many believe this to be a quick fix, a personal effort is advised to maintain the effects of treatment.

Having treated a multitude of patients and complaints I have observed the effects resulting from a lack of maintenance between treatments and the disappointment resulting from the complaints returning.

No form of manual therapy is a quick fix, depending on the cause it can take around 6 treatments before the pain has resolved.

Some of the commonly dismissed advisories are:

  • Increasing water intake
  • Stretches to relieve pressure of the affected area
  • Stabilising exercises
  • Reducing stressors and overall stress effects.

Having explained each of these frequently I feel it is important to outline why cooperation with your practitioner is key to assisting your own progression.

Water

Water is an essential part of life. We are at least 60% water and each of our fluids and tissues respond to injury more efficiently when adequately hydrated.

Stretching

Osteopathy is primarily based on tensions and stresses placed on the joints through imbalances. In order to realign joints and relieve pressures through the body releasing or stretching the appropriate muscles is often necessary.

Stretching also helps allow fresh blood and oxygen to flow to the affected area, improving the healing rate and removing unwanted toxins while nourishing the tissues.

Stabilising

Where one door opens, another closes and where one aspect of an unbalanced joint is released it will also need to be stabilised to prevent the joint falling back to an uncomfortable position or pattern of function.

Stress

Something I have spoken about previously on here is stress. We can increase our pain levels by keeping our nervous system in a sympathetic or stress reaction state. The fight or flight stress response causes the nervous system to become highly reactive, giving pain signals to warn the body of assumed danger.

Breathing and stress are linked so closely but many people continue breathing in an upper rib stress pattern, even when the stressors (psychosocial, caffeine, cardio, and many more) have been removed.

This breathing pattern then informs the nervous system we are still stressed, maintaining the reaction, it’s resulting pain threshold and the physiological effects caused in the long term.

One of the main exercises I advise all patients is this:

Something which can be done in the comfort of bed before sleep.

This exercise encourages diaphragmatic breathing, core stability, venous return, improved oxygenation as well as reduced stress levels and improved sleep.

Conclusion

So while we’re all super busy trying to keep our heads above water there is a reason why practioners often give self care and maintenance advice. If more patients paid gave themselves the attention tissue recovery should in theory be more efficient.

The belief system of a quick fix can cause more harm than good as the body needs time to adapt when healing just as it did getting in to the position of complaint. By maintaining treatment effects, the process of tissue repair and resulting discomfort can be reduced significantly.

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