From the very start of my training as an osteopathic student right up until now, the most common question I am asked on a weekly basis is: ‘Do you have any ID?’
Now in my late 20s, yet not looking a day over 21 (it would seem), I have come to enjoy the awkwardness the cashier has on their face when they realise my age whilst I am buying my Chilean red among the rest of my groceries!
But my Dorian Grey-like appearance is not the reason you are reading this…
‘What got you into your profession?’ is a much more relevant question that I get asked a lot too.
Osteopathy is fundamentally a way of helping those suffering with pain, from any part of the human body. As osteopaths, we do this by employing movement to help restore and maintain normal function which helps the body heal itself…
My first experience of osteopathy was when my father was treated by his local osteopath for his lower back pain. I was midway through my Biomedical Science degree at the time wondering if scientific research was a career for me. After his treatment, I was intrigued to say the least. My second experience, I went myself for my own lower back problems. I felt surprisingly calm considering I knew I had to take my trousers off! I left not just feeling better, but a path had been laid that would guide me to helping people directly, and often immediately, through hands-on treatment.
Learning osteopathy at University was the hardest but most rewarding thing I have ever done. As I reflected on what I learnt and how I could apply it to my working career, I developed my own opinion and understanding of osteopathy…
As human beings, we are very complex organisms. A beautiful orchestration of approximately 37.2 trillion cells (more than the number of stars in our galaxy!). An autonomous factory creating hormones, enzymes, cells, all under the watchful eye of our immune system to catch things before they go wrong. Able to recognise someone else’s emotions, even pain, without even talking. We process an unbelievable amount of data in seconds including sound, light and touch without even thinking about it. We all do this on a day-to-day basis and as complex as we are, we try to apply simple solutions to our problems which often do not scratch the surface. The most common in my field of practice – pain killers. These are helpful tools in our recovery, but they may not fix the problem.
A multi-faceted approach to healthcare better suited me, trying to tackle the source, not just the symptoms. Osteopathy provides this and challenged me to consider a patient’s work-and-play balance on a physical and mental perspective on their pain. We often underestimate the power of our minds! I aim to create a practitioner-patient relationship to establish trust, to work together to achieve their goals. Osteopathy, as I have come to find, is much more than joint movement and relieving muscle tension. We consider the subtleties, the thought-processing, the history that you forgot about, to construct a holistic understanding of you and your problem. With this information, me and my patients design solutions…
Six years since my first encounter with osteopathy and not looking a day older, I have a Bachelors of Science, a Masters in Osteopathy and am working in a beautiful part of the country. Still learning every day, trying to better understand the complex creatures we are, with new and improved ways to help my patients get back to their best.
Thanks for reading.
Nathan the Osteopath
Osteopathy is fundamentally a way
of helping those suffering with pain,
from any part of the human body