What is Osteopathy?

Osteopathy is a distinct system of diagnosis and treatment, aimed at facilitating the body’s ability to move as well as it possibly can. Osteopaths use their hands to identify any abnormalities or injured parts of the human body, such as muscles, ligaments, nerves and joints. Your body needs to be balanced and efficient (like a well-tuned engine) if it is to function with the minimum of wear and tear and hopefully leave you feeling more energised. See also...Why see an Osteopath?

The Human Body is a Dynamic Machine...

Your body will do everything it can to keep your eyes level - to hunt for food and to watch out for predators. It essentially achieves this by adding spinal curves and/or shortening various muscle groups in response to any abnormalities or injuries that have occurred. This may work well for a time but this compensatory response may cause strain to the joints and muscles throughout the body and result in pain and discomfort. Addressing the problems that caused the body to compensate in the first place, may enable it to move more freely and minimise stress on any one part.

If a joint isn't working as well as it can do (e.g. through disease, postural adaptation or injury), another joint may be forced to 'work harder' as you move your body around. This can cause inflammation, ligament strain, muscle strain and a degree of joint damage. All of which can cause pain and discomfort. It can also reduce the overall level of movement that the body is able to achieve. Improving the restricted joints ability to move, aims to reduce the demands placed on the other joints and muscles in the body, again to enable it to move more freely and with minimal stress on any one part.

Structures within the body (muscles, joints, nerves, organs, blood vessels etc) are all sensitive to compression. If a structure is compressed, it may reduce it's ability to function optimally, receive nourishment and get rid of waste products. This may result in a wide variety of symptoms. When a nerve is compressed for example, it can cause 'pins & needles', numbness, muscle weakness or pain. When an organ is compressed, it can lead to symptoms associated with an alteration in its ability to function and so on. By addressing areas of compression (caused by muscle spasm, narrowing of bony spaces etc), the body may then be more able to function to the best of its ability, and hopefully with a subsequent reduction in symptoms.

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Why see an osteopath?

Individuals are precisely that. Each person has his or her own unique combination of body shape, lifestyle, occupation and personal history. Osteopathy’s main strength lies in its unique way of assessing patients from not only a mechanical, functional and postural standpoint but by also taking these factors in to account. This approach enables osteopaths to identify things in your life that may be hindering your body’s ability to heal itself or resulting in the onset or reoccurrence of your symptoms.

Osteopaths aim to identify what’s causing your current symptoms, the initial cause of your pain or discomfort and anything that may be preventing it from resolving naturally (restrictions elsewhere in your body for example). This is why it is so important to get to know you, what you and your body have been through and what your hopes and expectations are. Return to Top of Page or see information on Emily Alexander (Registered Osteopath at the Backworking Osteopathic Practice in Barnsbury, Islington London N1).

Emily Alexander is a fully qualified Osteopath having completed the 5 year degree programme at the College of Osteopaths in London. She is registered with the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC) and the British Osteopathic Association (BOA). She also holds a Degree in Physiology from the University of Bristol and a Diploma in Sports Injuries from the Association of Physical and Natural Therapists (APNT), for which she was awarded a Distinction. Emily works to high professional standards and puts the safety and well being of patients above all other considerations. She regularly attends additional professional courses to further develop her skills and works with medical practitioners in the best interests of patients. Emily also has 7 years experience in lab-based physiological research, she set up the Bristol Heart Valve Bank (preparing and storing human heart valves for transplantation) and underwent training as a Cardiac Perfusionist at St. Bartholomew's Hospital in London.

Emily is also an artist - you can see some of her paintings in The Barnsbury on Liverpool Road in Islington from 1st April to 31st June 2006.

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Emily Alexander examining the dorsal spine of a male patient at the Backworking Osteopathic Practice in Barnsbury, Islington, London N1


Emily Alexander examining the Temporo-Mandibular Joint (Jaw) of a male patient at the Backworking Osteopathic Practice in Barnsbury, Islington, London N1