An introduction to Osteopathy
Osteopathy is a holistic form of manual medicine that was founded by Dr. A.T Still, a Medical Doctor in Kirksville, Missouri. The first Osteopathic concept was born in 1874 as Dr. Still began to further explore human anatomy, physiology and biomechanics. During his time as an MD he recognised the body’s innate ability to self heal and applied this to the science. From this the profession of Osteopathy as we know it today was developed.
An Osteopath is a qualified practitioner who follows these principles of treatment as initially outlined by
· Structure and function are integrally related.
· A good supply of oxygenated blood and adequate drainage is necessary for tissue health.
· The body is it’s own medicine cabinet, meaning it is always trying to self-heal and repair.
· The body is a unit.
Osteopathy aims to facilitate the health of the whole body by addressing any restrictions or barriers that are inhibiting the body’s ability to heal it self. To do this, Osteopaths consider not only the skeleton, but also the joints, ligaments, muscles, nerves, the circulatory system, connective tissue and organs. By encompassing all aspects of the body and addressing any tissue restrictions, Osteopaths help to encourage the self-healing mechanism, facilitating symptomatic relief.
Osteopaths use their hands to assess and treat the body. The Osteopathic approach is gentle and includes careful application of technique with consideration to anatomical structure, function and symptoms. This form of treatment is suitable for many people in various stages of life.
Osteopaths in Australia are government registered and regulated by AHPRA, the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency, as primary health care practitioners. To qualify they must complete a minimum of five years University training including a Masters Degree. Osteopaths are trained to assess the musculoskeletal system as well as perform standard medical examinations and identify conditions requiring medical referral.
How Osteopathy can help you
Whether you are sitting at a desk, doing physical labour, physical activity, caring for friends and family, or recovering from accidents or injures, our bodies are constantly subject to the stresses and strains of daily life. While our bodies may be able to absorb and compensate for these stresses, lasting strains and restrictions can remain. Gradually our bodies can find it difficult to accommodate these accumulating strains and symptoms such as pain or discomfort may begin to show.
Osteopathy offers a gentle form of hands-on treatment that works with your body to address any restrictions or barriers in tissue that may be contributing to any symptoms and/or discomfort.
Common reasons why someone would seek Osteopathic treatment:
- Back and neck pain
- Shoulder pain
- Sciatic pain
- Bursitis & other musculoskeletal inflammation
- Joint sprains and strains
- Joint and muscle pain / Arthritic pain
- Sports Injuries
- Pain during pregnancy
- Postural issues
- Overall improvement of body function
Children, seniors, pregnant women and athletes can also benefit from Osteopathy to help with the ongoing changes their bodies are facing. Athletes or those engaging in physical labour tend to put a lot more stress on their bodies, which over a period of time the body adapts and compensates for. Sustained physical effort can exaggerate any of the body's restrictions and strains and may lead to injury.
What to expect at an appointment
The initial consultation includes taking a detailed case and medical history, examine the body, perform tests and refer if necessary. Following the history and examination the Osteopath will discuss your diagnosis and treatment plan with you before commencing treatment. For examination and treatment purposes you may be asked to remove some items of clothing, it is helpful if you come prepared in flexible clothing such as shorts or gym attire.
The initial consultation usually takes 45-50 minutes, at a fee of $95
Subsequent appointments are 30 minutes, at a fee of $85
If you have Extras with your private health fund Osteopathy is often included, but it does pay to check this. Hicaps facilities are available so please bring your card if applicable.
A Medicare care plan issued by your GP can also help with treatment cost.
For more information regarding Osteopathy as a profession and what you can expect from a consultation, please visit the website of the National Osteopathic Association: Osteopathy Australia.