Osteopathy for Sports Injuries - Gerry Gallacher
Osteopathy focuses on how the musculoskeletal system interrelates with the body as a whole.
This holistic approach makes it ideal for treating sports injuries.
Osteopathic treatment is largely hands-on, and may include stretching of shortened soft tissues, specific massage techniques, rhythmic joint mobilisations and joint manipulation.
Osteopathy isn't just for backs! Virtually any sports injury can be helped with osteopathic treatment, including:
- Hip and knee pain
- Hamstring strains
- Calf and shin problems
- Shoulder and elbow pain
How does it work?
The effectiveness of osteopathy in treating sports injuries is shown by looking at one athlete's progress:
Steve, a 31 year old runner and triathlete had pain in his right shin region after running and swimming. A full assessment including taking a detailed history and physical examination was carried out to diagnose tendinopathy of the Tibialis Posterior muscle - a form of 'shin splints'. This muscle supports the arch of the foot, and contributes to pushing off the toes during running.
- Specific, dynamic release of affected muscle and tendon with deep massage.
- Mobilisation of joint restrictions in foot and hip. (Restoring the normal movement is important to help prevent the muscles tightening up again).
- Spinal manipulation to relieve lower back stiffness and sensitivity.
Manipulation also helps to restore normal activation of nerves that supply the dysfunctional muscles; immediate improvement in muscle power is often noted.
- Rehabilitation exercises to strengthen weak muscles. (If there is continual pain, stiffness or resistance to movement, exercise alone may not help. Barriers to movement and muscle activation are removed first, using the methods described. Rehabilitation exercises are then more effectively employed, thus accelerating the rate of recovery).
- Contributory factors such as work and driving posture were addressed.
- Sports-specific analysis of movement was performed:
Swimming - use both feet evenly to push off at turns, rather using mainly the right foot.
Running - minimise the use of racing shoes during training, as these lack the support afforded by normal running shoes
A rapid resolution of symptoms after 4 visits, and a swift return to enjoying pain-free competition
As a keen sportsman, I understand the value of receiving effective treatment for sports injuries.
After qualifying as a dentist in 1986, I spent time working in Oral and Maxillofacilial Surgery, so the first sports injuries I treated were fairly messy ones such as broken jaws and cheekbones and facial lacerations! It was when I competed in triathlon in the 1990's, that I became really impressed with the treatment I received from osteopaths for various injuries. This led me into studying osteopathy at the British School of Osteopathy, where I qualified with a Bsc(Hons) in 1998, and now into a full-time career treating and managing sports injuries.
I have worked at the University of Bristol Sports Medicine Clinic since 2001.
I am registered with the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC) - osteopathy.org.uk and a member of the Osteopathic Sports Care Association (OSCA)
I am registered with all major health insurance companies such as BUPA and PPP
The Sports Osteopathy Clinic is open to the public. Free 10 minute 'Open Clinic' consultations available by appointment.
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