An osteopath is an Allied Health professional specialising in the treatment of the musculoskeletal system in the belief that the body can heal itself if the right combination of manual techniques such as massage and the manipulation of muscles, joints, ligaments and tendons are used to bring the body back to a cohesive whole.
Osteopaths take a case history of each patient. They observe how the patient’s body functions when they sit, stand and lie down, as well as physically examine the patient by using touch to identify the areas of the body which are in pain.
An osteopath will observe the spine, shoulders and determines if the pelvis is symmetrical and will devise a treatment plan if he or she thinks that osteopathic treatment is suitable. Should the osteopath determine that osteopathic treatment is not suitable for the patient, he/she will refer the patient back to the GP for a referral to an osteopathic surgeon, or may recommend the patient see a dentist or physiotherapist instead.
Osteopaths usually treat complaints of headaches, bad backs, neck pain, sciatica, repetitive strain injuries (RSI), asthma, joint pain, menstrual problems and pregnancy problems. An osteopath may also be able to treat chronic fatigue as well as arthritis and sports injuries. There are just some of many other conditions that may benefit from treatment by an osteopath.
There is no age limit in osteopathy, a wide range of patients can be treated from children to the elderly. It can also assist pregnant women to reduce back pain as well as readying the body for childbirth.
After the initial consultation, a patient may only need to see the osteopath once or twice more, but depending on the condition, he may need to come back for six or more treatments.
At the next session, the osteopath will determine if the treatment made an improvement in the patient’s condition and based on the patient’s answer, will decide
whether to continue with that specific treatment or to try a new approach.