There are things you can’t do alone so I’m sharing a little secret here: I believe everyone should have an osteopath in their lives! Mine is helping me greatly and I can only wish that you too, find someone who manages to have such an impact on your health and wellbeing.
Important disclaimer: Please note that I’m writing here from the point of view of a patient and this is obviously not intended to be used as professional advice.
You may have read some of my stories in the series I’ve started and which I called ‘on my way to a new body‘. This series is partly about my accidental weight loss journey but it’s not just that. It’s about changing the way I eat, the relationship I have with my body, how I’m getting stronger, exercising more, etc.
I now want to give credit to someone other than Pam! Even if I love Pam as if I knew her personally, this isn’t about her. This is about my osteopath!
I’ve always been an osteopath girl!
Indeed, back when I was injuring myself almost weekly, while practicing martial arts, I was seeing my osteopath very regularly. To fix an ankle, a finger, a shoulder, a knee… there aren’t many part of my body that didn’t get damaged and subsequently ‘repaired’, one way or another.
I learned early on, that there are things you can’t do yourself.
I also learned early on, that when injured on one side, your body compensate and after a while, your other side needs adjustment, otherwise your body alignment may remain screwed!
So, even after my martial arts years were over, I went to see my osteopath regularly for years. But then came a pandemic and I stopped going.
When I started exercising more, I soon realized something was off
Something was off but it took me a bit of time to act on it. Months really but let’s not dwell!
At first I thought I just needed to stretch more on one side. It’s just stiffness, I told myself. So I kept stretching. Let’s specifically stretch here, oh and there. Darn it doesn’t change anything.
One day, laying on the mat, I noticed my left side was just slightly higher than my right side. My rib cage, my hip… I wiggled, tried again the next day. No, there is definitely something wrong.
And so I knew it was definitively time to put a mask on and go see my osteopath.
I went and it was mind blowing how much I needed it! As stated above, I thought something was wrong, but really had no idea of the extend!
And my mind got blown even more after a few days. I soon felt the effect of the realignment when stretching, when in certain positions, doing certain reps… I should have gone seen my osteopath sooner because I truly needed her help, to continue on my journey, to progress with my workouts.
With everything that was stuck in the wrong position, there was not only little chances of further progress, but I was also probably doing more harm than good, by pushing through and stretching more.
And it didn’t stop there…
She unblocked something, somewhere and the next week, my dear scale told me she was happy about it! We shared such joy as I had been on a plateau for sometimes and seeing the number go down felt really good! (please do note this is highly unusual – more on this below)
When should you see an osteopath?
I think you should see an osteopath:
- Whenever you hurt yourself for sure! Not necessarily the next day, you should wait for any scars or bruises to heal in my opinion. But soon after. Except maybe in case of a sprain. I’ve always gone asap when I had a sprained ankle. It hurts but it helps!
- Twice a year for ‘general maintenance’!
Body alignment is a fickle thing and the slightest imbalance can cause issues, in the most surprising way. Whenever you fall or just trip and feel the tension in your whole body. Or when you had a big life event (like moving!) and you’ve pushed yourself. Whenever you feel like you ‘pulled a muscle’ because you probably pulled something, if not a muscle. If you see in the mirror that one of your shoulder is higher than the other one. If one side doesn’t behave exactly like the other side when exercising. Maybe you can’t lift your arm or knee as high, maybe one side hurts more when doing the same exercise… The possibilities are endless!
You really don’t need to do much to hurt yourself. You don’t need to skydive or fall from your bike. I’ve displaced my hip and pelvis while sleeping in the weirdest position and I suspect that the recent misplaced rib wasn’t linked to stress but to the new weird position, I had switched to! Anyway, this does show one can harm oneself while sleeping! Or maybe I do have a very special talent!
Hence the need for regular check ups even when you didn’t do anything special.
Things to know before seeing an osteopath
In case you’ve never been, here are a few things that you may want to know. If you’re a regular, and want to add something, please don’t hesitate to do so in the comments.
Please again, remember this is just based on my experience as a patient.
It is nothing like a massage!
Sometimes it hurts, sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes it just feels weird, especially when working on the tummy area. Sometimes it’s just unpleasant. Often, you don’t feel like much is happening and it doesn’t mean nothing is happening!
It often hurts after. Pain can show up the next day, but it can also show up the next week! There can be no pain at all as well.
The after effect of a treatment will last for a week or 2. During this period your body is adjusting to what was done and it’s completely normal. You may feel weird, you may feel free…
It is very personal. You are usually only wearing your underwear and some positions are like weird embraces! You may get twisted and lifted in awkward ways.
You may cry or else! During a treatment, tensions could be released and you may get overwhelmed by emotions. I have cried, I have been nauseated, I have laughed uncontrollably!
Some osteopath will make your spine crack, some won’t. You can tell them if this scares you. Personally, I love it!
Radiographies of a problematic area are often useful to osteopath. Don’t hesitate to bring them if you have them.
You think you know what is wrong with you, but in fact you most likely don’t! You may go see an osteopath for a problem with your knee and they only work on your hips. Don’t be upset, it’s normal! Our bodies are complex and everything is interconnected.
The earlier you treat an issue, the best chances you have at recovery. And usually, the less treatments will be required. A lot of issues can be sorted in a single treatment. Some will need further corrections. In my experience, it will be difficult to see or feel result on long terms injuries left untreated.
Osteopath can detect issues that you had no idea you had. Or sort problems you thought were not ‘treatable’. For the longest time, I thought menstrual cramps were just something you had to live with or take medication for. How silly of me!
Osteopath can help with many body functions and ailments but there is no ‘weight loss button’ they can push! I know I said above that my osteopath unblocked something and I lost weight a week after but this is completely unusual! This had never happened before and will probably never happen again. In fact, I had felt a little sick when I went to see her (not Covid sick). I had just been back from my aunt funeral and was a mess overall. The circumstances were special.
We all need an osteopath in our lives!
In short, I believe we all need an osteopath in our lives even if we don’ realize we do. Osteopath can treat many things or at least help us maintain our body in optimal shapes.
Optimal shape, optimal body alignment, functioning etc. This all helps when on a quest to a healthier you.
As described above, my osteopath has already helped me greatly on my journey. Now, I’m going back in a few days as a post move treatment! I soooo need it. I feel tensions everywhere and what I feel is probably the tip of the iceberg. I can’t wait!!
Hey… Don’t forget there are osteopaths for dogs too! and cats, rabbits, horses etc.