Osteopathy is a form of manual healthcare which recognises the important link between the structure of the body and the way it functions – we improve its structure, and good function will be restored. Osteopathy differs from other therapies in that it is not so much a treatment technique but more a philosophy that looks at the human being as a self regulating, self healing organism. A whole range of treatment techniques and approaches can then be drawn upon to stimulate the body to heal and balance itself. The osteopath does not focus so much on the area of pain but looks at the whole person to see why they are in pain and why the pain in manifesting in the way it is.
Using skilled evaluation, diagnosis and a wide range of hands-on techniques, osteopaths can identify important types of dysfunction in your body. Osteopathic treatment uses techniques such as stretching and massage for a general treatment of the soft tissues (muscles, tendons and ligaments) along with mobilisation of specific joints and soft tissues.
In Australia, osteopaths are Masters degree university trained in anatomy, physiology, pathology, general medical diagnosis and osteopathic techniques. Osteopaths are primary healthcare practitioners and are trained to recognise conditions which require medical referral. They are also trained to perform standard medical examinations of the musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, respiratory and nervous systems.
Osteopathy is covered by most private health funds and the Chronic Disease Management (CDM) scheme, and the Enhanced Primary Care Program (EPC). Our osteopaths are registered providers for Workcover and Third Party motor accident insurers.
Osteopathy in Pregnancy
Although pregnancy is such an exciting time of life, and the human body is designed to handle this time with relative ease, our modern lifestyles of prolonged sitting, high stress and the demands of our work and home lives do put our bodies under great strain. Keeping in mind this is at a time that we are already under enormous mechanical and hormonal stress. Many of us are having babies later in life also, when previous mechanical stressors and strains already exist in our bodies – old back pain or knee injuries like to return with a vengeance as our weight and inactivity increases. As the relaxin hormone enters our system, which is natures way of getting our body ready for delivery, our structural support weakens just when we need it the most to help us to carry the ever increasing weight of a growing baby.
Our osteopaths can work to help your body through this challenging time, reducing pain and discomfort, as well as preparing your body for the upcoming challenge of delivery and the demands of a newborn.
Osteopathy and Sports Injuries
Whether you are a weekend warrior or an elite athlete, your osteopath can help prevent and treat many sporting injuries, including:
- neck and back strains
- shoulder, elbow and wrist injuries
- hip and pelvic injuries such as osteitis pubis
- knee, leg and ankle injuries.
Reduced joint or muscle flexibility will affect your performance and may result in injury if you don’t realise that you can’t perform at your usual level. If you do become injured, your osteopath is highly trained to facilitate a return to optimal function and prevent compensatory strains from occurring. This will minimise re-injury and allow a quicker return to physical activity.
Osteopathic treatment involves gentle and effective manual techniques, including soft tissue stretching, mobilisation, inhibition and manipulation. These techniques can assist in improving elasticity, strength, endurance, mobility and performance.
Children need to grow with optimal mobility, strength and balance. Sport and exercise can place exceptional demands on their bodies. Children should be cared for by professionals who are fully aware of the needs of young growing bodies.
Before treating your child, our osteopaths perform a comprehensive physical examination and refer to other health care professionals if necessary. The osteopath can provide nutritional advice along with strategies, exercises and routines to help your child avoid further injury and stay healthy, happy and active.
Osteopathy in Babies and Children
Osteopathy recognises the particular stresses on the body children experience as they grow from babies to teenagers, and has developed an approach to work with children of all ages.
A range of problems may interfere with the normal development of a child. Trauma during pregnancy and birth, childhood accidents and falls, or simply the young body’s rapid growth can create or contribute to problems associated with bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons and nerves. Other issues faced by children include posture problems, inflammatory conditions and sporting injuries.
An osteopath will work with you and your child to plan the best way forward. The osteopath will take a complete medical history, conduct an examination, and ask you and your child questions. Your osteopath and you can determine which type of osteopathic treatment is suitable, and if referrals to other health practitioners are needed. Your osteopath can also offer advice on nutrition, general health, posture and exercise.
Osteopaths commonly treat babies with:
- developmental problems
- constant crying
- feeding difficulties
- digestive problems and constipation
- skull deformation or flat head syndrome
Osteopathic care is gentle and can be very effective, without the use of drugs or surgery. It can assist the young body to adapt to growth-related changes which can prevent other health problems. Most importantly, it may help your baby grow into a healthy child and, ultimately, a healthy young adult.