The Benefits of an Osteopath Explained

What Is an Osteopath?

Osteopathy is a non-invasive form of manual therapy that aims to improve the health of all the body systems. Osteopaths use a range of hands-on techniques to achieve and promote health and take a holistic approach to the treatment and management of your injury and symptoms.

As Osteopaths, our focus is on the musculoskeletal system, which is made up of the muscles, joints and spine. An Osteopathic approach to treatment is to focus on the musculoskeletal system with the aim to improve the function of the body’s nervous system, circulatory system and lymphatic system so our bodies can function at their optimal capabilities and promote health and healing of the body.

Osteopathy was developed in the 19th Century by an American physician, Andrew Taylor Still. Andrew believed in the treatment of a variety of diseases with the manipulation of the musculoskeletal system sparing patients the negative side-effects of drugs, this linking to the a principle of Osteopathy the body has self healing mechanisms; promoting the natural healing capabilities of the human body. The name ‘Osteopathy’ comes from two greek roots osteon – bone and pathos – for suffering.  The name Osteopathy reiterates the theory that disease and physiological dysfunction can be found in the musculoskeletal system.

Osteopathic treatment is based on four principles that encourage a holistic approach to treatment. The four Osteopathic principles are:

  1. The body as a single unit
  2. The body has self regulating mechanisms
  3. Structure and function are reciprocally interrelated
  4. Rational treatment is based on the first three principles 

What Does An Osteopath Treat?

Osteopaths can provide relief and treatment on a wide range of musculoskeletal conditions. Osteopaths treat people of all ages this includes; seniors, adults, school aged children, pregnant women and everyone in between. Osteopaths can help you with a wide range of conditions and symptoms from your head to your toes, some of the reasons why people may go to see their local Osteopath are:

  • Foot pain, ankle pain, hip pain and knee pain
  • Back pain, neck pain and sciatica
  • Shoulder pain, hand pain, elbow pain, wrist pain
  • Headaches
  • Tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow
  • Sporting injuries
  • Postural issues
  • Jaw pain
  • Muscular sprains and strains
  • Scoliosis
  • Arthritis
  • Pelvic pain
  • Osteoporosis
  • Arthritis
  • Workplace injuries
  • Repetitive strain injuries (RSI)

How Do Osteopaths Treat Pain and Conditions?

Osteopathic treatments and interventions may vary from person to person due to everyone’s conditions and injuries being unique to them. Your Osteopath will assess your presenting complaint and provide you with a personalised treatment plan for your reason for seeking Osteopathic treatment. Osteopathic treatments may include a combination of hands-on therapy, exercise prescription, movement advice, lifestyle advice and education/advice on your condition or injury.

Osteopaths have a large range of hands-on techniques that they may use to treat your condition. Osteopaths may use a combination of these hands on treatments during your consultation; soft tissue massage, joint articulation, muscle energy techniques, stretching, manipulation, taping or dry needling.

Your Osteopath will determine  a management plan for you to help you recover and get long term relief from your pain. To do so your Osteopath will consider external factors that may be having an affect on your symptoms or condition to determine a management plan specific to your circumstances. This may be in the form of exercise prescription, movement advice, lifestyle advice, education/advice on your condition or injury and ergonomic advice.

Your Osteopath will always discuss the risks and benefits of your proposed treatment of your presenting complaint before they begin their treatment. The plan that is put together will always be in the best interest for the individual and their symptoms however if you are not comfortable with any part of the proposed treatment plan or proposed hands on techniques your Osteopath will respect this.

How does Osteopathy Treatment Differ from Physiotherapy?

Osteopaths and Physiotherapists treat a range of similar conditions, however their approach to treatment and the reason why each would perform a specific treatment technique may differ.

Osteopathy is a non-invasive form of manual therapy that aims to improve the health of all the body systems. Osteopaths use a range of hands-on Osteopathic techniques to achieve and promote health in the body and take a holistic approach to the treatment and management of your injury and symptoms.

Physiotherapy helps individuals that have an injury, disability or illness through the use of movement. This may include massage, exercise, education and manual therapy.

Osteopaths and Physiotherapists both incorporate manual therapy and exercise prescription into their treatments. However, typically speaking to distinguish between the two professions Osteopaths have more of a manual therapy focus when compared to Physiotherapists who typically use more exercise prescription for the management and treatment of their patients.

What Are The Benefits of Seeing An Osteopath

  • Holistic Approach
  • Gentle approach
  • Improved Mobility
  • Reduced Stress Levels and Muscle Tension
  • Manage Chronic Pain
  • Injury Prevention

What To Expect During Your First Osteopath Treatment

On your first visit your Osteopath will introduce themselves to you and begin a conversation about the reasons for your visit. They will take a thorough case history and ask you questions about your current symptoms or injury, medical history, any medications you are taking or other factors that may be related to your concerns. This allows your osteopath to get a full picture of what may be causing your symptoms and other factors that may be influencing them, beginning the process of coming up with a treatment plan specific to you and your condition.

During the examination your Osteopath will go through a range of tests to help determine how to best treat and manage your condition. This may  include orthopaedic testing,  neurological testing, movement testing or postural assessments. During your examination your Osteopath may take you through some passive and active ranges of movement to examine the general movement and function of the area and how they function on a day to day basis. To ensure that the examination being performed can be achieved efficiently it is asked that you wear comfortable and appropriate clothing that will not restrict your movement.

Osteopaths take a holistic approach to treatment and doing so may assess areas of your body that aren’t specific to where you are experiencing your symptoms. For example if you come in with shoulder pain your Osteopath may assess your shoulder as well as your upper back, neck and elbow. Keeping in mind the first principle of Osteopathy ‘the body as a single unit’, sometimes we experience pain, discomfort or stiffness as a consequence of a body compensating with a previous injury or postural issue and it is your Osteopath’s job to identify this through your examination.

Your Osteopath can provide a large range of hands-on treatments. This may include soft tissue massage, joint articulation, muscle energy techniques, stretching, manipulation, taping and dry needling. In conjunction with hands-on treatment your osteopath may also prescribe exercises to do at home or work, ergonomic advice and lifestyle advice to compliment your in person treatment.

If you are seeking Osteopathic treatment for your pain, Pillar Health is here to help you. To book your initial appointment you can book online or call us on 8899 6277.