Written by Osteopathy Australia

Your and your children’s health is an investment, not an expense.

Between a busy family life and work commitments it can be tricky to find the time and money to spend on self-care but investing in your health is worth every single cent.

Actively looking after your health maximizes your chances of living a long, healthy and productive life. Your lifestyle choices have more impact on your health and longevity than anything else and the best way to prevent chronic or degenerative diseases is to live a healthy lifestyle.

Did you know that osteopaths consult approximately 75,000 Australians per week nationally? But there are many people who aren’t quite sure what an osteopath does or how an osteopath can contribute to their good health.

What is osteopathy?

An osteopath is a therapist who focuses on the treatment of the musculoskeletal system.

Osteopathy employs the philosophy that while the body consists of the skeleton, joints, muscles, nerves, circulatory system, connective tissue and internal organs, it is also a single unit. Osteopaths consider the function of the body as a whole entity while also considering the specific location of a person’s pain or discomfort.

Osteopathy helps patients take control of their physical health and mental wellbeing through a range of therapies such as massage, exercise, tissue and joint manipulation, strengthening and helping patients to better understand their body.

On your first visit to an osteopath, they will conduct a full osteopathic assessment involving clinical tests. This may involve diagnostic, orthopaedic or neurological tests, postural assessments, or movement and functional assessments.

Osteopaths consider a patient complaint, but they pay unique attention to the complex interrelationships between the body’s structure and the way it functions. They acknowledge and respect the relationships of the body, mind, and of the emotions and how they combine during a repair or rehabilitation process. They advise patients on lifestyle, diet, stress management techniques, exercise and rehabilitation. Osteopathy’s best practice approach is evidence-based and informed by the latest research.

What is good health?

Health refers to the state of complete emotional and physical wellbeing. Osteopaths have a holistic approach, so they are ideal for helping people achieve and maintain a state of good health. They work with people of any age and they teach their patients how to get the most out of their body.

For adults, good health might mean being able to get through your day-to-day life feeling capable, calm and pain-free.

For teenagers, good health could include managing a busy school day, after-school sport, hormonal changes and hanging out with friends while feeling strong and energetic.

For kids, good health involves sleeping well, functioning well at school and playing with friends, getting lots of exercise, and feeling secure and loved.

What can osteopathy do for you and your family? (Wealth in Good Health)

  • Are you a parent who can’t bend down to pick up your child?
  • Are you a student who gets awful headaches after classes?
  • Are you a retiree who can’t travel because of chronic back pain?
  • Are you a kid recovering from a broken collarbone?

Osteopaths may help you with a wide number of physical ailments and concerns.

People see an osteopath for…

  • Lower back pain like sciatic pain, sacroiliac joint pain, coccyx pain
  • Neck pain and cervicogenic headaches
  • Stiffness related to osteoarthritis
  • Mobility issues at shoulders, knees, hips
  • Pain from illness or accidents
  • Inflammatory conditions tendinitis, bursitis
  • Musculoskeletal complaints related to pregnancy and post-natal patients
  • Work-related injuries
  • Sports-related injuries
  • Musculoskeletal discomfort predisposed to by digestion issues

One of the best things about osteopaths is that they can help with people of all streams of life, from the busy adult to the tired teen.

Osteopaths can utilize the history provided by the patient, along with the appropriate clinical examination, to formulate a skilled musculoskeletal diagnosis.

If the osteopath is concerned by a patient’s presentation or thinks that their issue warrants further investigation, they will refer to other health professionals. So you can trust an osteopath to make thoughtful recommendations.

Following diagnosis, an osteopath will tailor a specific treatment plan to the patient and help them manage their body and minimise pain. What a great investment!

What are some common misconceptions about osteopathy? (Wealth in Good Health)

“Oh, osteopathy! That’s bones, right?”

Some people seem to have the impression that osteopaths only work with the “misalignment” of bones or disease processes of the bones like osteoporosis or osteoarthritis, but osteopaths focus on so much more than that. They pay attention to how the skeleton, joints, muscles, nerves, circulation, connective tissue and internal organs function as one whole entity. Osteopaths are also skilled at exercise prescription and overseeing a rehabilitation program for all sorts of problems.

Osteopaths and their peak body Osteopathy Australia are working to better educate Australians about what osteopathy can do for them. Adequately explaining osteopathy in one single sentence is quite tricky. The beauty of being an osteopath is seeing such complexity and variability between each patient and treating each patient as a complete individual.

“I’ve not heard of osteopathy; it must be new?”

Not at all! There have been osteopaths practising in Australia for over 100 years.

Osteopaths are university trained, primary health care professionals. To qualify as an osteopath, you need to complete at least a four-year university program of study in osteopathy. Treatments are informed by research and the understanding that the body is an integrated unit of the mind, body and emotions and that it should be treated as such.

If you or your kids are ever in discomfort, pain or agony, if you want to strengthen your body to avoid or to recover from injury, or if you have a chronic condition that requires thoughtful and holistic management, invest in yourself and consider osteopathy.

You can make an appointment directly with an osteopath, without a referral or speak to your GP about how osteopathy may benefit you. Please remember though that osteopaths are allied health practitioners, not medical practitioners, and if you're seeking medical advice, please consult your GP.

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