Treating a cold Osteopathically

With the cold and flu season in full swing we thought it would be worth discussing how osteopaths treat the common cold. We have all suffered at some time from colds – in fact adults average 2 to 3 colds per year while children average 6 to 10 colds per year. While full-blown flu can be more severe, colds are harmless but also one of the most aggravating conditions to have. You may have a sore throat, aching muscles, lack of appetite and fatigue, but all you or your family are prescribed by the doctor are cold and flu tablets and told to rest. In contrast, osteopathy provides a medication-free and non-invasive approach which addresses the underlying causes of the cold and offers long term benefits rather than temporary relief.

To get a full understanding of how osteopathy can help, we first need to look at what causes colds. The symptoms of colds are caused by viruses which embed in the linings of the nose and throat. These viruses create inflammation of previously healthy cells which, in turn, irritate the surrounding nerves. The messages to the brain from these irritated nerves result in muscle tightening and aching – particularly in the neck and upper back. The lymphatic system (a system which recycles and detoxifies most of the fluid in the body) also becomes congested and thick mucus is produced leading to a blocked nose and sinus problems.

Osteopathy addresses all these symptoms through treatment using a number of techniques, including soft tissue massage, muscle stretching, joint mobilisation and articulation or cranial osteopathy. In addition to giving you advice on diet and stress management, the osteopath’s ultimate aims of treatment are to:

  • stimulate blood circulation to improve the immune function and response 
  • increase venous and lymphatic drainage and therefore decrease congestion and support the innate self-regulating healing processes of the body
  • address joint restrictions in the spine to normalise function of the nervous system which reduces muscle tension and promotes mucus thinning 
  • decrease muscle spasm and pain

So next time you or one of your family have a cold, consider making an appointment with one of the osteopaths here – particularly in the case that antibiotics have been prescribed regularly due to repetitive bouts of colds or other infections. Using the techniques and approaches mentioned, we can really help to strengthen the immune system and help the body fight the cold so that you make a speedier recovery.

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