Osteopathy is a system of physical diagnosis and manual therapy that uses a range of manual and movement techniques to treat neuromusculoskeletal pain and other functional problems.
Osteopaths view the entire body from an integrated systems perspective rather than focusing only at the area of a complaint. By understanding how each of the body systems that may be involved in a condition are interrelated, osteopaths aim to address the source of the problem and help to optimise physical function and wellbeing. Studies have consistently shown that people report a high level of satisfaction following their osteopathy treatment for pain problems.
Osteopaths are government registered practitioners, with a training background covering medical sciences and diagnostics, as well as orthopedics, neurology, pain science and osteopathic manual therapy. This means that osteopaths are primary care practitioners and are trained to carry out standard medical examinations, provide conservative primary treatment for neuromusculoskeletal pain complaints, and to recognise conditions which require further medical investigation.
WHAT IS OSTEOPATHIC TREATMENT LIKE?
Osteopathic treatment involves manual techniques including soft tissue stretching and massage, resisted muscle contractions, nerve mobilisation, therapeutic needling (acupuncture), joint articulation and manipulation. The treatment is gentle and always conducted with your feedback and assistance.
Because osteopaths look at the ‘whole’ picture of human functioning, they also use a variety of approaches which acknowledge the many factors contributing to balance and health. We may therefore provide advice on diet, exercise, posture and other aspects of daily life. This comprehensive approach to management will help you to achieve the highest possible level of health and wellness.
WHAT HAPPENS DURING AN OSTEOPATHY TREATMENT?
Osteopaths take an integrated approach to health care, so we require a lot of information from you to help us accurately understand your complaint and then work to provide you with the most suitable treatment. We will ask you for a comprehensive history of your current complaint and your medical history, including questions about previous surgery and illnesses, family history, medications and lifestyle.
After we have understood the details of your complaint and your medical and health history we will need to do a physical examination. Osteopaths do careful examination by touch, picking up details that help us determine areas of sensitivity, inflammation, joint restriction, muscular tightness and other tissue changes that may be relevant to your complaint. Assessing how your well body moves both actively and passively also gives us important information. Our detailed examination will involve looking closely at the affected region and then assessing it in the context of the rest of your body. Any important functional tests will also be performed, such as a neurological and cardiovascular assessments.
After the examination we will have a good idea as to what has happened and will discuss with you how best to address the issue. Occasionally the next step will be a referral for diagnostic images (ultrasound, x-ray or MRI scans), or a visit to your GP or another health care professional, but in most cases, with your consent, we will be able to start osteopathic care so you can start feeling better.
WHAT ABOUT LONG-TERM HEALTH AND PREVENTION?
At Better Health we believe that getting patients to back to health and teaching them to how to stay that way is the best form of long-term preventive care. The key to preventing health problems recurring, and to developing long-term solutions, lies in increasing your awareness of the causes of problems, and in helping your develop skills necessary need to manage your own health.
This can include:
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- Identifying causative factors, such as problems with overuse, deconditioning or workplace ergonomics.
- Teaching more efficient and less strenuous body usage in actions at home or at work.
- Providing individually tailored exercise programs both for rehabilitation and prevention.
- Teaching therapeutic movement exercises and relaxation techniques to reduce stress.
- Working in conjunction with other practitioners where appropriate.