Osteopathy Awareness Week

Author: Corinne Bett   Date Posted:11 April 2016 

Do you suffer from Aches & Pains?

It’s Osteopathy Awareness Week from the 17th to the 23rd April. With 3 million people in Australia who experience back pain and 6.1 million people suffering from Arthritis or other musculoskeletal conditions, we look at how Osteopathy can be an extremely helpful manual therapy to assist with these common conditions.

What is Osteopathy?

Osteopathy is a form of manual therapy, which recognises the important link between the structure of the body and how it functions. Osteopaths are allied health professionals who focus on how the skeleton, joints, muscles, nerves, circulation, connective tissue and internal organs function as a holistic unit.

Osteopathy Australia chief executive Antony Nicholas describes Osteopathy as - “The core philosophy of Osteopathy is about 'Structure governs function.' What they mean by that is if the muscles are relaxed and loose and the joints aren't constricted, then the body can move more freely, so the lymphatics can move more freely, so the circulation and all that works better, therefore the body can heal itself better.”

What conditions can Osteopathy treat?

  • Back and neck pain
  • Arthritis
  • Knee pain
  • Postural problems
  • Sciatica
  • Sports injuries
  • Sore muscles
  • Headaches
  • Heel pain
  • Shin splints
  • Occupational injuries
  • Plus many more conditions.

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What does a typical Osteopathy appointment look like?

  1. Case history – Osteopaths will take a case history of each patient, observing the alignment of their spine and shoulders, how their body functions when they sit and stand and use palpation to physically examine the patient and determine which areas of the body are healthy and which are out of balance and need some attention.
  2. Treatment plan – An Osteopath will devise a treatment plan specific to their patient’s needs, or may refer them onto another allied health practitioner such as a physiotherapist or back to their GP or orthopaedic surgeon if osteopathic treatment is not suitable.
  3. Technique – An Osteopath will use various techniques to align and help their patient’s body to obtain appropriate balance, such as traction, manipulations, stretching techniques or muscle energy techniques.
  4. Lifestyle advice – An Osteopath may also give their patients advice on diet, exercise, stress reduction, posture and breathing to help with their health condition.

How often will I need to see the Osteopath?

A patient may only need to see their Osteopath once or twice, or may need to return for six or more treatments depending on the extent of their condition. At each session, the Osteopath will determine the extent to which the treatment improved the patient’s condition and will continue with their approach or try a different treatment accordingly.

What training does an Osteopath undertake?

Osteopaths complete a five year full time double degree at University, focussing on anatomy, physiology, pathology and general medical diagnosis that includes a multitude of practical training hours. Once they have their degree they can register as an Osteopath with the Australian Osteopathic Association.

How do I see an Osteopath?

  • Osteopaths can be seen directly or from a referral from a GP or other allied health practitioner.
  • Most private health funds will provide a rebate on Osteopathy depending on the level of your cover.
  • Referrals from a GP for chronic pain conditions attract a Medicare rebate, on Medicare’s Chronic Disease Management (CDM) Plans.
  • Osteopaths are registered providers for Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) patients.
  • They are also registered providers for workers’ compensation schemes and motor accident insurers.
Written by Corinne Bett

Corinne spent her childhood helping her mother and grandfather in the garden grow various herbs and vegetables. This sparked a great interest in herbal medicine and nutrition in later life, and a passion for a wholefood diet. As a Naturopath today, she likes to empower others to utilise food as medicine, and live a healthy and balanced lifestyle. In her spare time she like to spend time in nature bushwalking and swimming, adventuring in far and exotic places, and dreaming about what kind of dog she might like to have one day.