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  • Writer's pictureUltra Sports

Osteopathy ideal treatment for athletes suffering from aching muscles and sprains

Updated: May 3

Osteopathy

Osteopathy” may sound a little intimidating to the ear but ask any athlete who has undergone treatment their views on the subject, and they will instantly tell you they never knew how they performed without it.


In its common form the science involves moving, stretching and massaging an individual’s muscles to address health conditions. Sports osteopathy specifically targets musculoskeletal issues such as strains, sprains and tendonitis.


Another frequent injury that occurs in both athletes and members of the public is subacromial impingement syndrome. This injury is often found in sports like swimming, tennis and basketball where the shoulder is used extensively.


More and more athletes are seeking this treatment as a means of fine-tuning their bodies and aiding the recovery process since osteopathy is also excellent for treating aches and pains, including back pain.


By way of example, at the 2012 London Olympics 25 osteopaths provided 900 treatments to athletes across 40 different sports. Four years later in Rio de Janeiro, well over a thousand treatments were administered during the Games.


Ashley Gorton, Lead Physiotherapist at Ultra Sports Clinic, says the pressure on athletes to be at the top of their game requires them to avoid injuries as much as possible and ensure their bodies work are “in harmony” with themselves.


“The way this can happen is for them to see their osteopath who will offer a mixture of treatments, from manipulating and articulating joints to stretching and strengthening muscles to aid performance. This process occurs alongside the work of their physios, trainers and coaches,” he says.


The hands are an osteopath’s tools of trade and are used to both assess and treat a patient. Techniques range from muscle stretching and thrusts to soft-tissue massage.


When diagnosing athletes, the practitioner will consider aspects like the musculoskeletal system, biomechanics as well as how the patient trains and moves while taking part in a sport.


Once the source of pain has been identified and treated, they will draw up an athlete-specific rehabilitation plan that includes recommended exercises and stretches.


The objective here is to help individuals get their strength back and improve flexibility.


Ashley stresses the effectiveness of osteopathy in addressing minor issues before they become more serious, to the extent that athletes are left on the sidelines for months at a time.


This is particularly true of runners who suffer knee pain, he says.


“One of the common injuries you find with runners is patellofemoral pain. Research has found that there is a significant reduction in pain with exercises and osteopathic manipulative treatment.”


Frequency of treatment really depends on a runner’s goals. Casual runners may only need to see an osteopath when a problem emerges, while those wanting to enhance their performance should consider more regular appointments.


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