What is osteopathy?


Osteopaths are primary healthcare practitioners registered with AHPRA and the Osteopathy Board of Australia. Patients can check their osteopath’s registration online. Training to be an osteopath in Australia requires the successful completion of a five-year full-time university degree.
Osteopathy, also known as osteopathic medicine, was founded by Dr Andrew Taylor Still, an American physician in the 19th century. Osteopathic philosophy gives a holistic approach to health and stresses the importance of the musculoskeletal system in a person’s health and well-being. The aim of treatment is to support the body’s self-healing capacity.

Osteopathy involves clinical care of the neuro
musculoskeletal system, which is made up of the bones, muscles, nerves and other tissues that support your body and control its movements. Whilst also taking into consideration all the other systems of the body e.g. Cardiovascular, respiratory, reproductive etc. due to the holistic approach to healthcare an Osteopath will also look at your sleep habits, diet/nutrition, social setting, ergonomics at work and physical activities.

Osteopaths use a whole-body approach to care for patients. This is sometimes called biopsychosocial care, which means they consider biological (body), psychological (mental) and social (environment) factors that may affect your health and wellbeing.

Osteopaths use your individual medical history and environmental factors to understand the root cause of your pain to develop a personalised plan to help you manage your pain and move better.

Osteopathy can treat a range of disorders

Osteopaths can manage a range of conditions including:
  • Neck and back pain
  • Arthritis
  • Sciatica
  • Headaches
  • Vertigo
  • Repetitive strain and overuse injuries
  • Pregnancy-related pain/discomfort
  • Tendonitis
  • Sports injuries.

Because osteopaths believe that there may be a musculoskeletal link in many conditions, osteopathy may also help with a wider range of disorders.


Hands-on osteopathic treatment

An osteopath focuses on your whole body, including the soft tissues (such as muscles, ligaments and tendons), the spine and nervous system, and may use a variety of different hands-on methods, including:

  • Spinal manipulation
  • Soft/deep tissue massage techniques
  • Articulation – gentle rhythmic joint movements
  • Stretching muscles and joint capsules
  • Muscle energy techniques – encouraging muscles to work against resistance
  • Visceral manipulation – gentle movement of the abdominal and pelvic areas.
  • OCF- Osteopathy in the cranial field (gentle balance ligamentous tension release) 

As osteopathic techniques include a gentle approach, they can be suitable for many people, from the newborn to the older person, and for those with complex medical problems.

Your Osteopath may also give you take home advice this may include rehabilitation/exercise advice, stretches, ergonomics adjustments, the use of heat/ice, strapping etc. or May send you for a scan (MRI, X-ray, CT scan, ultrasound) of the area being examined. 

Your Osteopath will always refer out to other practitioners or specialists when deemed appropriate or for second opinion. 



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