This page is intended to highlight the general laws that help Classical Osteopaths understand what is going on with an individual patient when they are creating a structural diagnosis and providing rational treatment.
Head’s Law: When a painful stimulus is applied to a point of low sensitivity that is in close central connection with an area of higher sensitivity, the pain is felt at the point of higher sensitivity rather than the point where the stimulus is applied (this law allows for the understanding of referred pain from one area to another through close connections in the central nervous system/spinal cord)
Hilton’s Law: Often the same nerve that provides innervation to a joint will also provide innervation to the muscles that move the joint and the skin that attaches over the distal end of the joint (this law allows for differential diagnosis with regards to altered functions and sensations in an area to be able to know which part of the spinal cord may be affected as the Classical Osteopath will be able to trace back to the nerve root through application of myotomes and dermatomes)
Sherrington’s Law: When a muscle contracts, its direct antagonist relaxes to an equal extent to allow for smooth movement (this law allows the Classical Osteopath to understand how to relax hypertonic muscles so that appropriate adjustments can be made to structural alignment when necessary)
Wolff’s Law: Bone is deposited and reabsorbed based on the stresses placed upon it (this law allows the Classical Osteopath to understand how altered strains on bones have altered their shape over time and thus altered the function of the area as well as whether or not significant changes in form and function are possible)