Osteopathy is a hands-on system of health care that that recognises the important link between the structure of your body and how it functions. It was developed in the late 19th Century by Andrew Taylor Still an American doctor.
Osteopathy has a holistic approach. Osteopaths look at other related areas as well as the injured area as they are interested in how the body has compensated or adapted to an injury. Sometimes significant areas of restriction may be located some distance away from the painful area and need to be released to help change to occur. Gentle work on muscles, ligaments, soft tissues, nerves and sometimes visceral organs are used to address the cause of the problem rather than just provide relief from symptoms.
Osteopaths use strong anatomical knowledge, and a finely developed ability to palpate to detect changes in tissue quality such as tension, restriction and inflammation. This allows osteopaths to use precise techniques to mobilise and release tissues.
Diagnosis of the problem involves questioning, observation of movements, palpation, physical examination and special testing. Depending on what the patient needs techniques such as soft tissue and inhibition, joint articulation, myofascial release, visceral manipulation and neural manipulation and gentle osteopathic cranial techniques may be used.
Osteopaths help patients help themselves through advice on posture, appropriate exercise, and lifestyle changes and play an important role in preventative health.
In Australia osteopaths are part of Allied Health and are five-year University trained with a Bachelor and Master’s degree. This includes study of medical science subjects such as anatomy, physiology, radiology, neuroscience and clinical medicine. Their training enables them to recognise serious conditions that require medical referral.
All major health funds recognise osteopathy and it is included under their “extras” cover. No referral is required from a GP.
If you have a chronic condition you may be illegible for a Medicare rebate for up to five consultations per calendar year. This is called an EPC referral and can significantly reduce the cost of treatments. See your GP for more information.