What techniques do osteopaths use?

Osteopaths use osteopathic techniques (OT), which are classified as manual therapy; these build off a foundation of soft tissue therapy (STT).

Joint Mobilisations

Joint mobilisations treat a joint and its associated structures and tissues. These include muscles, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, menisci, bursas and nerves. All may be affected by movement.

The Maitland Joint Mobilization Grading Scale classifies the degree of movementMaitland Joint Mobilization Grading Scale.

The scale grades the range of motion (ROM) a joint is moved through by a therapist. The scale ranges from grades 1 to 5.

Grade I – Small amplitude rhythmic oscillating mobilisation in the early range of movement
Grade II – Large amplitude rhythmic oscillating mobilisation in the midrange of movement
Grade III – Large amplitude rhythmic oscillating mobilisation to the point of limitation in range of movement
Grade IV – Small amplitude rhythmic oscillating mobilisation at the end of the available range of movement
Grade V (Thrust Manipulation) – Small amplitude, quick thrust at the end of the available range of movement

Neuromuscular Technique (NMT)

Neuromuscular techniques cover a range of techniques designed to influence the nervous system.

Some techniques use pressure from the hands or therapy tools. The pressure is used to apply tension to tissues to create change in them and their associated structures.

Other techniques utilise the release of tension. This is achieved by moving the body until there is a noticeable change in tension.

One of the benefits of neuromuscular techniques is that they allow osteopaths to flow between the different variations. As well as seamlessly integrate them into a patient’s treatment in conjunction with other techniques.

All neuromuscular techniques, regardless of variation, are intended to directly influence the nervous system to bring about change to the body, helping it return to balance.

Muscle Energy Technique (MET)

Muscle energy techniques utilise a muscle’s activation or the activation of its functional antagonist (opposing muscle).

They are commonly integrated into stretching to increase a joint’s range of motion. But they can be used without a stretch phase to calm the nervous system and restore balance.

As with neuromuscular techniques, the techniques allow an osteopath to flow between the different variations. As well as seamlessly integrate them into a patient’s treatment in conjunction with other techniques.

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