What Does an Osteopath Treat

What Conditions and Injuries Can An Osteopath Treat?

An Osteopath can treat a wide range of musculoskeletal complaints. Osteopathy focuses on the musculoskeletal system, which is made up of the muscles, joints and spine. An Osteopathic approach to treatment is aimed to have a positive effect on the body’s nervous system, circulatory system and lymphatic system for our bodies to function at their optimal capabilities, promote health and healing of the body.

Osteopaths can provide relief and treatment for a wide range of conditions. They treat people of all ages including; seniors, adults, school aged children, pregnant women and everyone in between. Some of the reasons why you may see an Osteopath is:

  • Headaches/migraines
  • Back Pain
  • Neck pain
  • Sciatica
  • Shoulder, hand and wrist pain
  • Foot, ankle, knee and hip pain
  • Tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow
  • Postural issues
  • Jaw pain
  • Sports injuries
  • Musculoskeletal sprains and strains
  • Scoliosis
  • Arthritis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Workplace injuries
  • Repetitive strain injuries (RSI)
  • Pregnancy complaints

What Is An Osteopath?

An Osteopath is a manual therapist that takes into account the whole body and person in the approach to diagnosis, management and treatment of many acute and chronic conditions. Osteopathy is a non-invasive form of manual therapy that addresses the muscles, connective tissue and bones. Treatment is aimed to improve the health of all the body systems to encourage healing within the body so we have optimal function.

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

The first principle of osteopathy is the human body is a unit and no part functions independently. Abnormality of a structure or function in one part of the body may have a disadvantageous influence on other parts of the body.

  1. The body has self regulating mechanisms

The second principle of Osteopathy is the body has the capacity to maintain its own health and to heal itself. Still believed the body has all it needs to either be healthy or that it needs to overcome illness. The role of the Osteopath is to utilize the body’s self healing mechanisms to overcome disease and maintain health.

  1. Structure and function are reciprocally interrelated

The third principle of Osteopathy is structure and function are interrelated. This means that the musculoskeletal system can mirror changes in other body systems as well as may also produce changes in other body systems.

  1. Rational treatment is based on the first three principles

The fourth Osteopathic principle is the rationale to treatment is based on the first three Osteopathic principles.

What can you expect from an 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 posture 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.

What Methods and Treatments Do Osteopaths Use?

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  specific reason for your 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 symptoms. 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.

An Osteopath Looks at the Body as a Whole

An Osteopathic approach to treatment and management works off the principle of the body functions as a unit and no part of it functions independently. An Osteopath uses hands on treatment, exercise prescription, education and ergonomic advice to treat the body holistically not just the ‘painful’ or ‘injured’ area, aimed at assisting the body’s self healing mechanisms to promote healing.

Our body’s structure can influence the overall function and vice versa, what does this mean? This means that the musculoskeletal system can mirror changes in other body systems as well as may also produce changes in other body systems.