What is an Osteopath?

An osteopath is an allied health expert who treats sports injuries and back and neck problems.


Osteopaths are able to help restore the normal function, fitness, performance and control of muscles, joints, discs, ligaments and tendons. In addition they


1. Take a case history of every patient


2. Use palpation to examine patients


3. Use specific treatment techniques to restore spinal alignment


4. May choose to use treatments involving joint adjustments and restorative exercise


History of Osteopathy

Osteopathy is a manual holistic therapy that focuses on body health and the strengthening of the musculoskeletal system with no drugs. Its main objective is to have a positive effect on:


● Musculoskeletal and nervous systems


● Circulatory system


● Lymphatic system


Founded by Dr Andrew Taylor Still, a 19th century American physician, osteopathy, is also known as osteopathic medicine.


Unique Therapy

Osteopathy can treat a wide range of medical disorders and conditions such as:


● Sports injuries


● Tendonitis


● Headaches


● Arthritis


● Neck and back pain


● Vertigo and other conditions.



As discussed above, osteopaths believe that understanding the connection between the musculoskeletal system and these conditions is key to treating these disorders.



Palpation is the process of using one’s hands to examine the body in order to diagnose a disease or illness. This skill takes years of training to develop.



Osteopathic Manual Practitioners (OMPs)

OMPs examine patients using palpation. Through palpation they are able to distinguish minute tissue changes, make a diagnosis and recommend a treatment. Tissue changes include:


● Blockage


● Dehydration


● Scarring


● Solidness


● Thickness or loss of strength


● Motility



Osteopathy has been to proven to treat


● Recurring back pain


● Neck pain


● Shoulder pain


● Lower body pain


It also helps to hasten recovery after a hip, knee, ankle or shoulder operation.



Osteopathic Diagnosis


Osteopaths leverage the body’s healing powers for treating various illnesses. Osteopathic diagnosis is based on


● Medical history


● Development of muscles and joints


● X-rays



A number of gentle, non-invasive manual treatments, such as deep tissue massage, are also employed to help with certain conditions.


Osteopaths must be registered with the Osteopathic Board of Australia to practice. Patients may be suggested by their specialists, or may choose to see an osteopath without referral.



Initial Visits

When you first visit an osteopath, your complete medical history is taken including your:


● Lifestyle


● Eating habits


● Physical activities



The osteopath needs to find out about past illnesses or injuries, regardless of the patient’s present condition.


The patient may be asked by the osteopath to remove some items of clothing and move in certain ways in order to:


● See how the patient moves


● Detect any disability


● Check posture


Neurological and orthopaedic tests help the osteopath to detect or identify hidden conditions.


Osteopaths are able to immediately detect stiffness and tension in various parts of the body. By using palpation, the osteopath will check the


● Spine


● Joint


● Muscles


● Tendons


● Discs


An osteopath might request blood tests or X-rays to confirm their findings.



A session takes about 30 minutes. Treatment may include manual therapy, to increase circulation and flexibility of joints and muscles.


If further examination is required, an osteopath will refer the patient to a suitable specialist. Osteopaths often work together with a:


● GP


● Dental practitioner


● Podiatrist


● Other medical specialists



Lifestyle Changes

Osteopathy urges you, the patient, to be responsible for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.


An osteopath may recommend:


● Treatments


● Exercise


● Relaxation methods



Treatment Programs

Since osteopathy stresses overall improvement, an osteopath might recommend:


● Dietary changes


● Home treatment programs


● Lifestyle changes


All treatment programs are personalised and rely on understanding the patient’s present conditions, medical history, and capacity to adjust to treatment and lifestyle changes.



Diet and Exercise

Osteopathic treatment with dietary and/or exercise programs can improve a patient’s condition. However, certain conditions including those involving joint or bone diseases may be harder to treat. Your osteopath will check your medical history so they can treat you properly.



What Makes Osteopathy Different

Osteopathy is different from other medical professions in that it seeks to make all body parts work together harmoniously. In case a body part is impaired:


● The remaining body parts must adjust to make up for this.


● In the long run, the adjustment will help ease the condition.



When the body is allowed to heal itself,an osteopathic treatment can help with:


● Pain management


● Reducing stress



Supplements Conventional Treatments

For instance, some patients experience joint pains as a side effect of medications given by their doctor. Osteopaths can ease the pain, by enhancing:


● Joint flexibility


● Circulation in the joints