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What is an Osteopath and What do They Do?

Osteopaths are health practitioners and manual therapists, who have completed a minimum of 5 years training at university level. Osteopaths are experienced in examining, treating, diagnosing, managing and preventing musculoskeletal disorders with physical treatment.

Osteopaths are registered under AHPRA, Australian Health Practitioner Regulatory Agency. This entitles us to be recognized by private health insurance funds under the extras or ancillary covers. In some cases, patients have the ability to be claimed by Medicare when referred by a GP.

Osteopathy has a continuing large and expanding body of research, which is fundamental in maintaining our professional standards, practices and profession. At St Kilda Osteopathy, we only practice within the scope of evidence based osteopathy and research. By completing annual continued professional development, mandatory for all doctors, we ensure we are staying up to date with current, evidence based research, providing you with the best treatment and advice possible.

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Osteopaths work on the basis that our body works as a functional and dynamic unit. This is the foundation for our approach and hands on treatment to treat holistically and globally, to make a positive change to your body as a whole, not just the isolated, painful area. This is to assist the self-healing and regulatory mechanism each of us possess, so the body can in turn heal itself.

An osteopath’s approach to treatment is focused on the whole body. This encapsulates hands on manual therapy, rehabilitation, education and advice on posture, diet, exercise and psychological influence on pain. There is a great focus on how the structure of your body influences its function, and vice versa. Dysfunction to one area of the body can have dramatic effects to other regions of the body. We, osteopaths aim to treat the symptoms of the problems as well as the underlying cause behind them. By assisting to improve the structure and biomechanics of your body, such as strengthening weak muscles, loosening tight muscles, or mobilizing stiff joints, your function or ability to move will be positively affected. Our goal is to help you return to doing the things you like most, like swimming, running, rock climbing, or just being in minimal to no pain!

Your Osteopath will use many different techniques that will suit your body and your complaint. We treat everybody’s ailment individually, but incorporate the same principles to improve your overall health, function and ensure you understand your complaint.

Osteopathic principles include:

  • Structure and function of the body are interrelated.
  • The body acts and works as a unit,
  • The body is capable of self healing and regulating.

There are many similarities between Osteopathy, Physiotherapy and Chiropractic – both in the conditions treated and in some of the techniques used. The main differences are found in the foundations and philosophies behind each modality and how the principles of treatment are applied.

When attending St Kilda Osteopathy for the first time you will be asked to fill out your personal details and provide relevant information regarding your medical history. Your Melbourne Osteopath in our clinic will then take your patient history, collecting detailed information relating specifically to your complaint. To garner an understanding about your body and history, you may also be asked about any accidents, injuries, trauma, surgeries, chronic illness etc. This is to help your Osteopath build a sound understanding of your complaint. A thorough physical assessment will then be undertaken to confirm your diagnosis and establish the best treatment plan for you. This examination entails looking at how your body moves, its function, as well as the feeling of your muscles and tissues. Special tests may be orthopedic or neurological in nature may be performed to pinpoint the specific area of your pain and complaint to form a diagnosis.

what is an osteopath

At St Kilda Osteopathy, we have a proactive approach with osteopathic treatment, management and education. We place a strong value on explaining your diagnosis so you are able to understand and take control. This includes the how’s and why’s of your complaint. Your Osteopath will then be able to tailor a combination of treatment techniques, which are tailored for you. After the consultation you may be given exercises or advice for how best to manage your condition.

Osteopaths treat people in all stages of life. Babies, children and pregnancy related complaints all the way through to the elderly. We treat elite athletes and weekend warriors, desk bound worker and manual laborer’s, and everything in between.

Osteopaths treat pain that may come on occasionally or due from a particular acute injury, such as a sporting injury. We also treat conditions that may have been giving you grief for a lot longer, or chronic pain. Each treatment you receive will be tailored specifically to you and what your body needs.

Osteopaths can treat, but is not limited to:

  • Headaches and migraines,
  • Back pain and neck pain
  • Sports injuries (running, cycling, swimming etc)
  • R.S.I (Repetitive strain injuries)
  • Tendonitis and bursitis
  • Pain in shoulders, elbows and wrists
  • Pain in hips, knees, ankles and feet
  • Acute and chronic injuries
  • Arthritis and joint pain
  • Rehabilitation for musculoskeletal strains, sprains, injuries
  • Postural and mobility problems.

The techniques your osteopath will use with vary on your presenting complaint, however each one will be tailored specifically for you.

These “hands on” techniques include:

  • Articulation and mobilization of muscles and joints
  • Muscle Energy Techniques. MET
  • Dry Needling (Trigger Point Dry Needling) Extra study is required for this.
  • Joint Manipulation. High Velocity Low Amplitude (HVLA)
  • Myofascial release of connective tissue
  • Soft tissue massage
  • Stretching of muscles and joints
  • Visceral Manipulation of organs of the abdomen and pelvic regions
  • Osteopathy in the Cranial Field, or Cranio-Sacral therapy.

Osteopaths commonly treat pregnancy related problems. During pregnancy, women experience many changes to their bodies in order to accommodate the growing foetus. These changes aren’t only musculoskeletal, but also include changes to other systems including the cardiovascular, lymphatic, respiratory, circulatory and gastrointestinal system.

Common pregnancy related complaints osteopaths treat include:

  • Sciatica
  • Lower back pain
  • Pelvic girdle pain
  • Pelvic floor weakness
  • Pelvic instability
  • Hip pain
  • Rib pain
  • Neck, shoulder and upper back pain
  • Swelling in the legs and hands
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

By helping your body cope with the constant changes, osteopathic hands on treatment aims to reduce your discomfort and pain and create a more optimal state of being for you, both structurally and functionally.

To help in your recovery from pain and injury, St Kilda Osteopathy believes in not only having osteopathic treatment –

Your treatment plan will be complimented by rehabilitation, strength and stability exercises to aid in your recovery. Rehabilitation aims at teaching you how best to have and use the correct muscle patterns, muscle activation and move with the best fluidity, flexibility and ease to feel as strong, stable and pain free as possible.

To ensure you receive the best treatment possible, referral to another medical practitioner may be required. At St Kilda Osteopathy we work alongside sports physicians, GPs, dentists, rheumatologists, massage therapists, exercise physiologists, personal trainers, physiotherapists, podiatrists, naturopaths, mothers groups, maternal health nurses and sports clubs. We may also refer you off for imaging such as ultrasound, X-Rays, CT scans or MRIs.

A Chronic Disease Management Plan may be issued at the discretion of your GP, this enables you to claim partial payment through Medicare for 5 sessions per calendar year.

The benefits of Osteopathy are to assist your body in returning to optimal health and function. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact one of our Melbourne Osteopaths at St Kilda Osteopathy.

We see patients from the surrounding suburbs as well and so if you are looking for an osteopath in South Melbourne, Prahran, Elwood, Winsdor, Caulfield, Middle Park, St. Kilda East and Melbourne CBD.

We look forward to be able to assist you with your musculoskeletal complaints

Categories: General Information, Pain Relief, Posture