Osteopathy…that’s for back pain isn’t it?
Well, yes, it is. But that’s just scratching the surface…
Back pain…? Osteopathy
Neck pain…? Osteopathy
Tennis elbow…? Osteopathy
Hip pain…? Osteopathy
Sore toe…? Osteopathy…or new shoes!
I could go on! These are just some of the most common joint and muscle conditions osteopaths treat.
What about Anxiety? What about what is going on inside our brains and nervous system? Osteopathy.
Osteopathy can help to reduce anxiety and its impact on the body.
What is Anxiety?
Feeling nervous, stressed or worried is a completely normal reaction to a situation when we feel under pressure, like that job interview or that work presentation or a blind date, a flight you have to catch. These feelings of nervousness usually go away after the particular situation has ended.
But for those with anxiety disorders, the feelings of anxiousness, fear dread and worry remain, never switches off. Those who suffer with anxiety live constantly in the “fight or flight mode” This starts to affect your day to day life.
That’s basically anxiety in a very small nut shell!
So how can an Osteopath help with the effect of anxiety? Osteopathy is here to help you with the effects that anxiety has on the body, hopefully reducing the stress and setting you on the right path to freedom from its tight grip.
Increasing levels of stress hormones causes the muscles to become tense – affecting the upper shoulders and the muscles at the neck and back of the skull. This causes “knotting” making you feel stiff, limiting mobility of the upper back and neck joints.
Osteopathy focuses on improving blood flow to the muscles using deep tissue techniques to loosen those “knots” Team that with manipulation to re-align the spine and, boom…improved mobility. Genius!
2) Chest Tightness
Anxiety attacks increase heart and breathing rates. All of the breathing in this state will be coming from your chest which can cause chest pain and tightness. An osteopath can work through deep breathing exercises with you and help stretch and relax the tense muscles around the neck, chest and diaphragm.
Constant stress and worry can make it impossible to “switch off” this can actually increase the feelings of anxiety…just what you need! A vital part of our sympathetic nervous system, also known as our flight or fight nervous system, is located on either side of our spines, between the shoulder blades all the way down to the lower back. So an osteopath may look for any issues in this area, which may present itself as an area of spasmed muscle and they will work to re-balance the problem. Having a gentle massage in this area of the fight or flight nervous system can be deeply relaxing.
Osteopaths also use a technique to encourage activation in that bit in the brain and lower back called the Parasympathetic Nervous System, or our rest and digest nervous system. These techniques are used to help bring about a sense of relaxation enabling your breathing and heart rate to slow down.
Anxiety can be treatable, it’s just a matter of exploring the best approach for you.
Lifestyle changes can be a great place to start, small steps are better than staying still.
Try eliminating some unhealthy choices such as:
- Fatty foods
Introduce some natural remedies like:
- Talking Therapy
- Getting enough sleep
- Staying active and exercising
- Eating healthy foods
Anxiety is more than just “feeling nervous” it affects your body as a whole. Consider Osteopathy as one of your available tools to help you manage your anxiety. Osteopaths consider and treat your body and mind as a connected whole.
Although anxiety does not completely go away, especially in severe cases, you can learn to manage it better and live a happy, healthy life. Stay positive!!