Osteopathy optimises the patient’s natural healing capacity

In Australia osteopathy is a form of allied healthcare which like chiropractic and physiotherapy focuses on the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of neuromusculoskeletal conditions. Osteopaths claim to focus on how the skeleton, joints, muscles, nerves, circulation, connective tissue and internal organs function as a holistic unit. Osteopathy is a system of diagnosis and treatment that recognises the following principles:

  1. The body is one unit of function
  2. The body has self-regulating mechanisms
  3. Structure and function are reciprocally inter-related

Osteopathic treatment may include the following:

  • Joint manipulation and mobilisation
  • Soft tissue techniques
  • Myofascial release
  • Lymphatic pump
  • Ligamentous articular strain/balance ligamentous tension
  • Articulatory techniques
  • Facilitated positional release
  • Active and passive joint and muscle mobilisation
  • Exercise programs
  • Dry needling/acupuncture

Osteopathy incorporates evidence informed guidelines to optimise a patient’s natural healing capacity and seek to find the primary cause of disease. The osteopathic approach to healthcare provides therapeutic management and rehabilitation to address specific injury, trauma and/or disease, as well as preventative care to enhance health and wellbeing. The emphasis on the neuro-musculoskeletal system as integral to the body’s function, a person’s health and to patient care is a defining characteristic of osteopathy. Modern osteopathic practice is informed and improved by the integration of relevant practice guidelines. Osteopaths recognise the importance of providing lifestyle and general health advice including dietary and exercise prescription.

Osteopaths, as do chiropractors and physiotherapists use standard clinical processes in history taking and examination, such as orthopaedic special tests, neurological examinations and systems reviews. Osteopaths recognise that whilst there may well be a musculoskeletal component in many patient presentations, osteopathic care may not be indicated or the principal modality in all cases. If patients’ needs are best met by other healthcare service providers, a referral will be made. Osteopaths mainly work in primary health care settings, including osteopathic or multi-disciplinary clinics or in association with general practitioners. Some osteopaths work within specialist pain management services, elderly care facilities or occupational health settings.