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 has been found to be effective for back and neck pain, some forms of headaches, shoulder pain and other joint pain.
Osteopathy is holistic. An osteopath looks 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. 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 also help patients manage their conditions through exercise programs and lifestyle changes and play an important role in preventative health. Diagnosis of the problem involves questioning, observation of movements, palpation, physical examination and special testing. Depending on what is needed techniques such as soft tissue and inhibition, joint articulation, myofascial release, visceral and neural manipulation and gentle osteopathic cranial techniques may be used.
In Australia osteopaths 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 year. See your GP for more information.