The word naprapathy is originally from the Czech word napravit (to correct) and the Greek work pathos (suffering). In combination, it can be translated as “correcting the cause of pain” – an appropriate description for the work. There are many similarities between this type of treatment and physiotherapy, but also chiropractic therapy. The central concept in naprapathy is manual therapy. Naprapaths, just like physiotherapists and chiropractors, are protected professionals and are subject to supervision by the National Board of Health and Welfare in Sweden. In summary, there is no scientific support to show that this type of treatment is any different from other forms of rehabilitation treatment.
What does a naprapath do?
These professionals work with people who have joint and muscle problems, among other things. They can diagnose, treat and rehabilitate this type of musculoskeletal disorder. A naprapath can alleviate these aches and pains by locating them, manipulating the joints, stretching and massaging the sore parts of the body.
What happens during the treatment?
As in most health center visits, you first need to answer questions about the current situation. After that, a diagnosis is made and the treatment begins. This consists of manual therapy, which may mean mobilization, muscle stretching, massage, trigger point treatment and acupuncture. This is done by releasing the tensions that cause pain. A naprapath, just like a physiotherapist, can also give advice on different exercises that you can continue doing at home.
Similarities and differences between naprapathy and chiropractic therapy
The treatment is similar to chiropractic therapy, but the difference is that chiropractors work more on manipulating the joints. A chiropractor is also more focused on the spine. Naprapaths work in a wider area and they treat muscles and joints from a more general perspective. But one form of therapy does not exclude the other. Depending on the location of the pain and the type of problems that arise, both types of treatment can help.
One of the areas of naprapathy that resembles chiropractic therapy strongly is joint manipulation. If a joint is painful, usually in the back, both professionals can correct it. They do this using rapid pressure with the hands on the affected area. This often creates a joint snap – a sound associated with chiropractic treatment.
Exercise as treatment
People with pain in their joints and/or muscles can easily become sedentary as a result of the pain. If an individual doesn’t use their muscles, the risk is that the muscles will weaken, which is not a good thing. Strong muscles also help by supporting the load that would otherwise be put onto the aching joints and bones, therefore many naprapaths recommend training as a form of treatment.
In addition to the treatment a person receives in person from a naprapath, they can also get tips and advice on physical activity. This may relate to both fitness training and more specific training which focuses on the muscles and joints. The training program is then individually customized with exercises to improve stability and mobility.
Training exercises at home as complementary treatment
Time and financial constraints mean that it is not always possible to visit a naprapath. But there are several things you can do for yourself to relieve the pain. First locate the pain and then adapt the exercises according to that. Simple exercises and going for walks are also beneficial.
Next up: more information about osteopathy.