Osteopathy and how it can help with both mother and child
Osteopaths are highly skilled health care professionals who have had a minimum of 4years medical training and have had 1000 hours of clinic experience before turning professional.
Pregnancy is a natural part of life but can cause several aches and pains, some so severe that the mother-to-be can end up having to be wheeled around in a wheel chair or at least use crutches. This thankfully is not common but a good percentage of pregnancies will show up a milder form of these problems; as one example: Synthesis pubis dysfunction.
Synthesis pubis dysfunction (SPD) can occur in anyone but is more common in pregnant ladies, due to the hormone Relaxin causing the ligaments to “relax” and therefore lengthen; this in turn allows bones of the pelvis to separate slightly which facilitates the passage for the baby’s head during labour.
With the two pubic bones separating and making the synthesis pubis less stable, any extra tension going through either side of the body will have an effect on the loosened joint and will cause the affected side of the joint to shift slightly resulting in a misalignment of the two opposed pubic bones. This further stretching of the ligaments will cause irritation to their attachments of the synthesis pubis and therefore initiate pain.
Untreated SPD tends to reoccur with subsequent pregnancies.
An osteopath can help the patient by discovering what is causing the issue e.g. one leg longer than the other, rotated pelvis, scoliosis or lesion of the spine leading to the weight of the bump to drop forwards putting pressure against the pubic bones, a rotated sacrum which had led to previous forceps delivery, sacro-iliac joint dysfunction etc.
He would then try to address the predisposing factors and the maintaining factors using gentle manipulations, articulations, massage and a special tape called kinesiology tape (which you would have seen on athletes at the London Olympics); he may also use acupuncture if it is deemed safe, as well as various other types of treatment including cranio-sacral treatment.
Cranio-sacral or cranial treatment is a gentler technique which the patient may prefer and has seen to be especially effective with babies and young children. With this treatment the practitioner uses the faintest of touches to feel for the movement of different structures (especially the cerebrospinal fluid) from the cranium (Skull) to the sacrum (second to last group of fused bones in the spine) and assess whether there are any restrictions causing a lack of structural efficiency in the body. This technique can also be used on the rest of the body and extremities, but was originally used on the cranium and sacrum, hence its name.
The osteopathic cranio-sacral approach is a way of working with the body’s own natural mechanism for releasing and re-balancing tensions, without force, which is appropriate for babies as their cranial bones are still to fully form and are likely to need the tensions adjusted having had the trauma of being squeezed through a tight canal. Older children and adults who have not had this treatment before could benefit because any unbalanced tensions along the cranio-sacral region will have an effect on the structures below whether it is a gradual long term problem like malocclusion of the jaw bones or on/off short term headaches etc.
Osteopathy will also help with colic and other specific common baby issues but its main purpose is to get the whole of the patient to a “position” of health.
Not all pregnancy problems are suitable for osteopathic treatment and in this case osteopaths will refer patient to the appropriate medical professional even if it is back to their own GP. They will always ensure all their patients, young and old, seek the appropriate medical advice and treatment alongside their own osteopathic techniques.
So if you feel this is something for you or would like to enquire more about what osteopaths can help with, please do not hesitate to get in-touch with us, the team at: The Parkview Clinic, Woodhatch, Reigate.