Osteopathy is a system and philosophy of health care that separated from traditional (allopathic) medical practice about a century ago. It places emphasis on the musculoskeletal system, hence the name—osteo refers to bone and path refers to disease. Osteopaths also believe strongly in the healing power of the body and do their best to facilitate that strength. During this century, the disciplines of osteopathy and allopathic medicine have been converging.
Osteopathy shares many of the same goals as traditional medicine, but places greater emphasis on the relationship between the organs and the musculoskeletal system as well as on treating the whole individual rather than just the disease.
Pain is the chief reason patients seek musculoskeletal treatment. Pain is a symptom, not a disease by itself. Of critical importance is first to determine the cause of the pain. Cancers, brain or spinal cord disease, and many other causes may be lying beneath this symptom. Once it is clear that the pain is originating in the musculoskeletal system, treatment that includes manipulation is appropriate.