What do Osteopaths treat?

Updated: Jun 7, 2020

Osteopathy is a form of alternative or complementary medicine where a practitioner called an Osteopath uses manual therapy to treat musculoskeletal complaints.  The word osteopathy is derived from the ancient Greek “Osteo” meaning bone and “pathos” meaning disease/condition.

Osteopaths believe that the body is a unit. They see the body as a whole, so when you have pain in one region they will focus on that region, surrounding regions and distant regions of the body. They are determined to find the cause to prevent re-injury and not just mask your symptoms.

An Osteopath is a primary health care practitioner meaning you do not need a referral from a doctor to see one. Osteopaths can adequately diagnose and manage your musculoskeletal complaints or refer you to another medical professional if your pain is not musculoskeletal in nature. Osteopaths also have ability to refer you for imaging (e.g. X-Ray, Ultrasound, MRI, CT, etc.) if your complaint requires it.

A consult with an Osteopath will consist of taking a case history and assessment of the appropriate regions to establish a diagnosis for your ache or pain. An Osteopath will use information they gather to formulate a tailored and patient centered treatment plan. Hands on therapy can involve soft tissue massage, stretching techniques, muscle activation techniques, joint articulation, joint manipulation among other techniques. Hands on therapy will be combined with exercise rehabilitation prescription and advice on how to best manage your condition until your next visit.

What do Osteopath’s treat?

Common conditions an Osteopath will treat include:

  • Headaches

  • Back Pain

  • Postural Problems

  • Occupational injuries

  • Sports Injuries

  • Neck pain

  • Muscular Strains

  • Tendon Injuries

  • Shoulder pain

  • Knee Pain

  • Heel/Foot Pain

  • Shin Splints

  • Whiplash

  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

  • Sciatica

Where does Osteopathy come from?

Osteopathy was founded in USA in 1892/1874 by a medical doctor Andrew Taylor Still. Medicine at this time was rudimental and after losing 4 of his children to illness he dedicated himself to finding alternative ways of creating positive impacts in healthcare.  What eventuated was Osteopathy which aimed to correct misalignments in the body to ensure structures/systems could function to their best ability and help in the maintenance of health.

There have been Osteopaths practicing in Australia for over 100 years. Osteopathy began being taught at a University level in the 1980’s. There are now osteopaths practicing in every state in the country. In 2014 there were 1,823 registered Osteopaths in Australia with numbers steadily increasing since.

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