Osteopathy is a manual therapy that aims to restore the proper functioning of the body's musculoskeletal system. Alongside your medical team and other health professionals (nutrition, psychology, pelvic health therapist etc), Osteopathy can be particularly beneficial for people with endometriosis, a condition in which tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows outside of it which can cause pain and other symptoms.
Osteopaths focus on the body as a whole and can treat the neuromusculoskeletal system, fascia and more. Osteopaths use gentle manipulation techniques, such as stretching, mobilisation, and massage, to improve the function of the joints, muscles, and other tissues in the body.
When it comes to endometriosis, osteopathy can be used to address the pelvic pain and discomfort that many women with this condition experience. By manipulating the pelvic bones, muscles, and ligaments, an osteopath can help to reduce tension and inflammation in the pelvic region, which can lead to a reduction in pain and other symptoms.
Osteopathy can also help to improve the circulation and lymphatic drainage in the pelvic area. This can be beneficial for women with endometriosis, as the condition can cause adhesions (scar tissue) to form between the organs in the pelvis. These adhesions can cause pain and discomfort and can also affect the proper functioning of the reproductive organs and the bowel - it is very common for many with endometriosis to experience IBS which is often misdiagnosed for many years.
Another way that osteopathy can benefit women with endometriosis is by improving the function of the nervous system. The nerves that control the pelvic organs can become irritated or compressed by adhesions or other factors, leading to pain and other symptoms. By releasing tension in the muscles and other tissues around these nerves, an osteopath can help to reduce nerve compression and improve the function of the nervous system. Osteopaths can also help support our parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest) and decrease the overactive sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) with various techniques, breath work and neural down regulation.
In addition to manual therapy, osteopaths may also recommend lifestyle changes and exercises to support the healing process such as stress reduction techniques, and specific exercises to improve the function of the pelvic floor muscles. Osteopaths will often refer you to other practitioners that may also be of benefit such as nutritionist or dietitian and aim to work with your medical care providers such as your GP and gynaecologist.
It's important to note that osteopathy should be used as part of a comprehensive treatment plan for endometriosis, which may also include medications, hormone therapy, and surgery in some cases. Women with endometriosis should work closely with their healthcare providers to develop a personalised treatment plan that addresses their individual needs, driving factors and symptoms.
In conclusion, osteopathy can be a valuable therapy for women with endometriosis. By improving the function of the musculoskeletal, nervous, and circulatory systems, osteopathy can help to reduce pain, inflammation, and other symptoms associated with this condition.