What is Osteopathy?
Osteopathy is a recognized health profession that uses hands on therapy to diagnose and treat pain, poor function and lack of mobility in the body.
It was developed in the late 19th Century by Andrew Taylor Still an American doctor.
Osteopathic treatment is well known to be effective for back and neck pain, some forms of headaches, shoulder pain and other joint pain. It may also enhance function of the nervous, circulatory and lymphatic systems.
An initial consultation involves questioning about the problem as well as medical history, physical examination of walking and specific movements and special tests to confirm a diagnosis and treatment plan for every person.
In Australia osteopaths are part of Allied Health and are five-year University trained with a Bachelor and Master’s degree.
Osteopathy is eligible for assistance with funding under private health insurance extras cover as well as Medicare referrals. DVA, workers compensation and NDIS funding may also provide funding in some circumstances.
How is Osteopathy different?
Osteopathic treatment is fully hands-on and no machines or tools are used. Assessment is through questioning, observation, examination and special tests. A variety of techniques are used as required such as soft tissue techniques, joint mobilisation, stretching and subtle neural manipulation and cranial techniques.
Osteopaths consider the body as a single unit made up of many different parts that are interconnected. They take a whole-body approach and one thing that is noticeable is that osteopaths will spend time looking for the cause of pain rather than just treating the symptom. Someone with a sore knee may, for example, have lower back pain, restriction in one hip and a sore shoulder. Osteopaths will often find and release restricted and tight areas in other parts of the body that are contributing to the problem area.
Why see an Osteopath at Your Path to Health?
The aim of osteopaths is to help improve physical function, reduce pain, and improve movement. It is suitable for people of all ages from children to the very elderly.
Here are some conditions that osteopathy may help:
- Joint stiffness
- Sciatica and conditions of nerve referral
- Headaches and migraines
- Acute and chronic neck and back pain
- Shoulder, elbow, hip, knee wrist and ankle pain
- Arthritis and chronic conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis
- Muscular skeletal pain associated with pregnancy
- Sequelae of whiplash and physical trauma
- Stress and tension
Initial consultations take 40-50 minutes and subsequent consults 30-40 minutes. In the first visit a full medical history will be taken as well as examination of the body assessing muscles and joints for quality and range of movement. At the end of a treatment the osteopath will re assess to see how things have changed and give advice on home exercise and management.
Most conditions will require three to five treatments. Osteopathy is not a ‘quick fix” although positive changes in symptoms are often seen after one or two visits.
Long standing conditions may take 6 or more treatments or people may prefer to have regular treatments to provide ongoing benefits.
Osteopathy and how it may help the older person
Problems of getting older are often considered to be inevitable and many seniors thing that nothing much can help. Osteopathy’s hands on treatment is well suited to older people.
Following observation and assessment any areas found to be tight and restricted can be released using soft tissue articulation and neural release techniques. For those with arthritis treatment may help relieve pain and aching and improve local circulation. Osteopathy has very gentle techniques suitable for those who are very frail.
Hands-on treatment to improve movement and reduce pain can help older people participate in exercise programs provided by other members of the Your Path to Health team. This team approach of skilled professionals can help maintain independence and quality of life.
Here are some problems that osteopathy may help:
- Stiffness and immobility
- Sciatica and nerve referral to the arms and hands
- Weakness in one leg, arm or hand
- Pain in the neck, back, hips, knees ankles shoulders
- Headaches and sleeping problems
- Digestive disorders, reflux constipation and bloating
- Problems after surgery