Osteopathy: this manual medicine treats almost everything

Consulting an osteopath has become a classic. 13 million French people use this specialist every year, who understands the body as a whole.

What are the reasons that lead us to the osteopath? For 62% of us, it is back pain (lumbago, sciatica, stiff neck, arthritis pain, etc.), according to a study published in 2012 in the journal “Pain”. But 38% of consultations are made for other reasons, much less known: digestive disorders, headaches, tinnitus, recurrent ear infections or rhinitis, insomnia… Update on the osteopathic treatment that will be offered to you in these pathologies.

Stomach aches and osteopathy

The problem : Digestive disorders (reflux, transit disorders with alternating diarrhea and constipation) and pelvic pain (pain in the lower abdomen, often related to the menstrual cycle) can be relieved by the osteopath.

The treatment : “To treat gastroesophageal reflux, the osteopath will focus on the rib cage and mobility at the cervical level, because that is where part of the controls of the digestive system are. Three types of gestures are possible during the session (see box), as in the treatment of all pathologies ”, explains Laure Darraillans, osteopath and educational manager at the Higher School of Osteopathy (ESO).

In the event of intestinal problems, “the osteopath will mobilize the diaphragm. This organ, which lowers on inspiration at the rate of 24,000 round trips per day, is the motor of the intestines, ”explains Thibault Dubois, osteopath and general manager of the French Society of Osteopathy (SFDO).

To relieve pain in the lower abdomen during sex or menstruation, the osteopath will mobilize the sacrum and pelvis. Vaginal or rectal examinations have been prohibited since a 2007 decree, so the osteopath will be satisfied with external manipulations.

How many sessions? Generally, in 3 sessions spaced 3 weeks apart, good results are obtained.

Headaches and osteopathy

The problem : Headaches affect us all, with varying frequency. They are to be distinguished from the true migraine, which affects approximately 20% of the population, and for which it is first necessary to consult a doctor to consider a suitable basic and crisis treatment. At the same time, the osteopath can reduce the intensity and frequency of headaches and migraines.

The treatment : Osteopathy is particularly effective on tension headaches, these headaches linked to muscle tension. “Muscle tensions in the neck or jaw can trigger headaches. A sharp fall in the buttocks, which blocks the pelvis or the coccyx, can also lead to membranous tensions and headaches, ”explains Laure Darraillans. The osteopath will then relieve the tensions in the cervical, joints and muscles.

How many sessions? If the headache occurred after a fall, 2 sessions are usually sufficient. If they last for a long time, plan 3 close sessions, then an annual follow-up. “But sometimes, just one session is enough to dramatically improve a headache sufferer for 20 years! », Emphasizes Laure Darraillans.

Dizziness, tinnitus and osteopathy

The problem : Lhe vertigo is often the result of a problem with the inner ear and / or tension in the neck.

Tinnitus is a very unpleasant ringing in the ears, which can have multiple causes.

The treatment : In case of dizziness, the osteopath manipulates a bone located next to the ear, the temporalis, which has important cervical controls.

Faced with tinnitus, the osteopath works on the opening of the eustachian tube and tries to relax the muscles of swallowing.

In both cases, mobilization of the skeleton in its upper part (cervical, shoulders, skull) is also essential to relieve tension.

How many sessions? If the origin is traumatic (fall, accident…), the symptoms will generally disappear in 2 sessions. In other cases, the treatment may take longer.

A noter : “Osteopathy generally gives more results on vertigo than on tinnitus,” says Laure Darraillans.

Otitis, rhinitis or chronic sinusitis and osteopathy

The problem : Few people know it but when ENT follow-up is no longer enough, the osteopath has solutions for sinusitis, otitis or chronic rhinitis.

The treatment : When these ENT pathologies become chronic (often with an associated allergic ground), the osteopath acts on the bones of the face. “By pressure on the forehead, jaws, zygomatics, the osteopath will promote drainage and aeration of the sinuses,” says Thibault Dubois.

In the event of repeated ear infections, manipulations on the swallowing muscles rebalance the pressure in the inner and outer ear.

Mobilization in the neck and shoulders will also be necessary to improve lymphatic drainage, essential in the event of recurrent infections.

How many sessions? In 2 or 3 close sessions over a quarter, the osteopath can overcome these problems in the ENT sphere.

Insomnia and osteopathy

The problem : “People with insomnia often have a sensitive neuro-vegetative system; this also frequently results in migraines and / or associated digestive disorders, ”says Thibault Dubois. A global rebalancing is necessary, to help you find a good quality sleep.

The treatment : The causes of insomnia are often multiple. “The osteopath then works on the entire spine, from the head to the pelvis, with cranial techniques (without moving the hands). Mobilization in the neck, shoulders and thorax may also be useful in relieving certain tensions, ”explains Laure Darraillans.

How many sessions? Sometimes the results are quite quick when it comes to sleep. But “in other cases, the improvement may take longer to come because the psychological factor is important,” says Laure Darraillans. The osteopath then does not hesitate to encourage the patient to consult a psychologist.

What happens during a session ?

On average, you should allow 30 to 45 minutes. The osteopath will start with an interrogation, in particular to rule out all organic pathologies (stomach ulcer for example) which immediately require a consultation in conventional medicine.

The osteopath works on the body as a whole: “he will seek to identify the areas of conflict at the level of the fascias, these elastic membranes which support and connect all the elements of the human body (bones, muscles, nerves, etc.) and to give them back mobility, ”explains Laure Darraillans.

Behind the term “mobilization” used by the osteopath, we must distinguish three different types of gestures:

-a laying on of hands to act on the fasciae. Prolonged pressure helps restore mobility to certain parts of the body.

– more energetic manipulations: the osteopath can also pull and release an arm or a leg for example, or accompany you in a certain position.

-a use of breathing: at specific times during the session, the osteopath may ask you to inhale and exhale, which will modify the pressure on the fascia.

To know : “cracking”, a technique that consisted in cracking a joint (at the neck or ankle for example), is only very rarely used today. After the session, it is advisable not to overdo it and to wait 48 hours before resuming the sport.

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