As osteopaths we are often asked what it is we actually do, and how we differ from other manual therapists such as physios and chiros.
We all use manual hands on techniques – with our aim and attention at improving and decreasing pain, mobility, function and quality of life.
We can be seen as problem solvers of the musculoskeletal (muscle and skeletal) system and really understand how to be able to help your complaint.
Osteopathy looks at presenting complaints by encompassing a “whole body” approach – we look not only at the area where pain may be present – but also why pain and restriction has been caused in this area in the first place.
We understand the connection between the musculoskeletal system and the rest of the body too – the influences this may have on the nervous system, lymphatic system, respiratory system and more.
Some of our patients have even described us as having “GPS” in our hands and that we know exactly how to find the point, source and cause of their pain and then influence it!
When assessing a patient, Osteopaths take a thorough case history, including current and past complaints, how acute or chronic their condition is and what treatment they may have sought, if any in the past. We use the most appropriate “hands on” techniques for their condition and body. This is so important as we see not only young and middle-aged patients but also babies, children, teenagers, pregnant women, athletes and the elderly – and catering to each individual and their complaint with their own treatment plan and advice is paramount to seeing results.
Techniques that we may use include (but not be limited to) massage, mobilization, dry needling, manipulation, muscle release techniques, myofascial release techniques and more. All techniques that we use are evidence based for their efficacy and has shown to give positive outcomes and improve our patients pain and quality of life.
A good case example may include a middle aged person, in full time work with lower back pain. This pain be caused from any number of issues, whether it be a “slipped” or bulging disc, muscle spasm, joint degeneration and/or sprain in the back itself. It can also be due to other more serious issues such as kidney infection, tumor or other medical condition which we would refer off for immediately to the GP. It may also be caused from an old ankle injury, upper back complaint or hip problem. In this case we may see stiffness, tightness and discomfort in their hip and lower back with associated lower back pain and headaches.
This may all have been caused by an old ankle injury, leading to altered walking patterns, tightening in the lower leg muscles, pulling into the groin, change in muscle recruitment pattern in the gluteal (bottom muscles) which can lead to strain and poor movement patterns and poor posture resulting in pain and stiffness and headaches.
Obviously a thorough history, assessment and examination would allow us to reach this conclusion and treat and manage this appropriately! And rest assured, as Osteopaths we know our abilities and limitations and our testament to our success is that we are constantly busy with new and return patients who have such relief when they see us.
We will also educate our patients on what is wring, how to improve their pain, decrease muscle tightness and joint stiffness, as well as advise on appropriate exercise prescription/rehab, dietary advice, or specialist referral.
Please get in touch with St Kilda Osteopathy if you have any further questions or would like to see if we may be able to assist you in your musculoskeletal health care.
The Team at St Kilda Osteopathy
Osteopaths are registered with AHPRA, Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency. Osteopaths have also completed a minimum of 5 years of study, some with Masters, and must complete a mandatory number of professional development hours to remain registered and practicing within Australia.
All Osteopaths at St Kilda Osteopathy are also active members within Osteopathy Australia.