Osteopathic Principles: Part Two – Our healing mechanisms

“The body possesses self regulatory mechanisms, having the inherent capacity to defend, repair, and remodel itself”

The human body is a wonderful machine capable of performing basic through to extremely complex tasks. The processes we are looking at today are the homeostatic mechanisms within the body. These are the functions that keep us alive and help to return the body to its optimal functioning level.

Spotswood | Newport | Williamstown | Yarraville | Footscray | Kingsville | South Kingsville | North Williamstown | Altona North | Altona | Altona Meadows | Port Melbourne |North Melbourne | South Melbourne | Docklands | West Melbourne | Kensington | Brooklyn | Maidstone

Asclepius : God of medicine in ancient Greek religion

Because our body constantly attempts to maintain basic functions that are integral for our survival it often will compromise and compensate for lower priority changes that occur. A good example of this is when a postural weakness turns into a painful event. Over a long period of time the body will be constantly adapting to a poor posture until at some point it becomes unsustainable and the body reacts with acute painful symptoms. This is often after a long period of low level symptoms that act as precursors to the bigger injury.

The beauty of how our body functions is that these processes are largely reversible and retrainable. The body is constantly trying to do its best to avoid and limit injury from occurring, and will repair itself to the best of its ability. Our job as Osteopaths are to help remove and eradicate barriers that are preventing the body from undergoing its normal defence and repair, and helping to ensure that any remodelling that occurs is done in a way that is going to be strong and relevant to the individual in the long term.

There are obviously disease processes (Eg. Cancers, Infections) that lay outside of our professional capabilities and are not within our scope of practice, and it is important that we refer patients onwards to more appropriate care for these conditions, however when looking at the biomechanics and function of the musculo-skeletal system there are often links that are affecting individuals comfort levels that we can address.

As for more direct treatment for injuries, when you have injured yourself the body goes into an inflammatory reaction. The main goal here is to limit the amount of damage and to strengthen the area to prevent further damage. The body will often tense local muscles to avoid extra physical trauma and start laying down scar tissue. Our practice is to look at the local injury and help the body repair it as efficiently and as strongly as possible. Helping the body stress the area in its natural stress patterns is quite useful in allowing the scar tissue to align in areas of demand so that when healed there is minimal weakness. The local muscle guarding can often cause non-injured muscles to become fatigued and require some assistance themselves.

Once the body is on its way to recovery a large component of how we work at Taylored Osteopathy is to delve into the processes that allowed the injury to occur in the first place. We look to identify and diagnose factors that have lead to the injury occurring. There may be a single traumatic incident, such as direct trauma. There may be multiple small events that lead up to a major event, this could be a flaw in a running technique that causes extra load on a ligament, or a muscular imbalance that causes too  much load on a weaker, less developed muscle. Or there may be a multitude of factors at play.

Regardless, we feel it is important to deal with the presenting complaint at your consultations as well as the links in the chain that have lead to the injury occurring so that we can address those and provide preventative steps that may reduce the return of the injury, leading to a better, healthier and fitter you.

NEXT WEEK – We will be delving into the relationship between structure and function of the body.

If you missed Part One: Click Below

Osteopathic Principles: A Four Part Series