Osteopathy and Facial Pain

Osteopathy is used to treat facial pain

Osteopathy is used to treat facial pain

Often dentists are confronted with patients who are suffering from head and facial pain.

The pain is often not only dental but has a complex mix of causes. A common cause is muscular pain, the source of which is situated far from the head. An interdisciplinary approach can often help patients requiring pain therapy. In this text, we would like to present one type of approach known as osteopathy.

The word osteopathy is comprised of the Greek words”osteon” or bones and “pathos” for suffering and literally means "bone suffering". A.T. Still was the pioneer of osteopathic medicine in 1874. Still was looking for other therapeutic approaches as the pain therapy available at the time was very limited. Today, many doctors use a course of pain medication as treatment and other fields of medicine have become obsolete.

Initially, osteopathy was a purely manual treatment method used to treat the infections and epidemics of the time. Complete mobilization was the motto! Osteopathy is based on the premise that small tensions in the muscles or ligaments can negatively affect the metabolism of the muscles and osteopathy recognizes this as the initial stage of disease. Life is movement: When movement is limited, disease develops and spreads. Obviously, the relationships between diseases are far more complex and today’s medicine offers a multi-facetted therapy approach. The aim of classic osteopathic medicine is to bring movement into the cellular regions of the body and to support the body’s own self-healing properties.

The specialist osteopathic therapist has detailed knowledge of the anatomy and physiology of the body. A pillar of osteopathy is the correct use of this knowledge to treat the patient. Decisive is the use of the expertise and the hands to mobilize the structure of the body to enable flexibility and mobility to return. An important structure is the connective tissue coverage in the body. Every muscle and ligament in the body is covered by connective tissue.

Osteopathy treatment targets specific anatomical regions

Osteopathy treatment targets specific anatomical regions

Osteopathy is made up of three main areas. Parietal osteopathy focuses on the spine and the joints in the hands and feet. Using manipulation techniques the vertebrae and the joints are returned to their natural positions. The osteopathic method is considered to be a softer approach with less risks and side-effects.

Visceral osteopathy is targeted at the positions and the normalization of the function of the inner organs. Craniosacral osteopathy uses specialized manipulation of the skull with slight readjustment of the plates in the skull. This leads to more mobility in the plates and directly affects the tension situation of the meninges.

The founder of the field of craniosacral osteopathy was William G. Sutherland who lived between 1873 and 1954 in the USA. His work was based on the premise that both the brain and the cerebral fluid have their own independent and rhythmic movement. This common movement of brain and cerebral fluid was named the „Breath of Life „ by Sutherland and constitutes the primary respiratory system. On this basis of this theory, the movement affects the complete craniosacral system including the meninges, each individual cranial bone, the spine and the sacrum and this in turn transmits this movement throughout the skeleton, the connective tissue and the majority of the organism which is mainly made up of water. Craniosacral osteopathy has never been fully accepted in the field of osteopathy due to the fact that Sutherland taught that the plates in the skull remain mobile well into old age.

This theory is in contrast to accepted anatomical teachings. Due to the lack of acceptance in the field craniosacral osteopathy has developed into a fully independent field. Many osteopathic theories are based on inconsistent findings and expert opinions. Craniosacral osteopathy is classified as alternative medicine. There are no major university studies dealing with this topic at this time.

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