Osteopathy target’s the underlying cause of your problems and not just the symptoms. The philosophy of Osteopathy states that when the body is in a state of harmonious balance it can heal itself from injury or disease. The aim of Osteopathic treatment therefore is to restore the body back to this natural balance. In order to achieve this, the Osteopath uses hands on techniques which focus on treating the relationship between the joints, muscles, fluids and tissues. This helps to restore normal structure and function to the body as well as improve mobility, posture and the flow of nutrients.
Why choose an Osteopath?
Osteopathy has long been considered an extremely effective treatment modality for musculo-skeletal problems and pain. Studies show that osteopathic treatment may reduce back pain, may increase mobility and assists in the recovery process*.
However more and more people are visiting an Osteopath for the treatment of conditions such as digestion problems, asthma, headaches, pregnancy related problems, back pain and disc injury. A thorough understanding of all the structures and systems of the body and their inter-relationships helps the Osteopath to accurately diagnose and treat the underlying cause of your pain.
Is Osteopathy safe?
The Australian Government regulates safety standards in health care through the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA). The Agency’s primary role is to help keep the public safe by ensuring that only health practitioners who are suitably trained and qualified to practice in a competent and ethical manner are registered.
Osteopathy is a registered health profession – like physiotherapy, chiropractic, nursing, medicine and dentistry etc, it falls under the guidelines of AHPRA.
However, as with any medical intervention, there are always risks that you should take into consideration.
Research has found that around half of patients who undergo manual treatment experience mild to moderate reactions, especially after the first treatment, including:
soreness / muscular pain
Generally, treatment reactions ease within 24 to 48 hours.
Osteopathy has a low number of reported adverse events compared to other medical and manual therapy professions. By comparison, investigators at the Johns Hopkins Medical Centre reviewed 4 studies of patients from throughout America between 2000 and 2008, representing over 37 million admissions to hospitals. They found that fatal errors occurred in 0.71% of these hospital admissions. This percent seems small, but it means that among all hospital admissions in America, 251,000 patients would die annually. This was also repoted in the British Medical Journal as being the third leading cause of death in the United States (BMJ 2016; 353 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i2139 (Published 03 May 2016).
What Training do Osteopaths have?
Osteopaths are highly trained practitioners who have completed a five year university double degree. Brad has completed a Bachelor of Science (Clinical Science) and a Masters of Health Science (Osteopathy). Prior to studying Osteopathy, Brad also completed a Bachelor of Applied Science (Sports Coaching & Administration).
Who will benefit from Osteopathic treatment?
Along with visiting an Osteopath for physical pain such as back, neck or headaches, many people consult with an osteopath for other conditions such as;
- joint pain
- poor posture
- restricted mobility
- asthma and other breathing related disorders
- pregnancy related problems
- repetitive strain injury (RSI)
- stress related problems
- menstrual problems
- digestive problems
- jaw pain
What will treatment consist of?
At your initial consultation your Osteopath will take a full case history covering your current problem and past medical history. A thorough physical examination will be completed including posture examination and may include tests of movement, strength and co-ordination to determine the problem. Treatment may involve techniques such as;
- Massage and stretching
- Articulation – passive joint mobilisation
- Muscle energy techniques – releasing contracted muscles by working against resistance
- Counter strain techniques – stretching restricted joints and muscles whilst in a position of comfort in order to achieve release
- Functional techniques – gentle joint mobilisation
- Direct joint mobilisation
- Visceral techniques – involving gentle and rhythmical stretching of the visceral areas and surrounding tissues in the management of conditions affecting internal organs
How many treatments will I need?
Every condition and patient is different so it is hard to determine exactly how many treatments you will need until you have been examined. As a general observation many acute conditions usually respond favourably in 4-8 treatments. However some chronic conditions may require more long term treatment.
*Research and Evidence
1. Back Pain
Approach to low back pain – osteopathy
Vaughan B, Morrison T, Buttigieg S, Macfarlane C, Fryer G.
Published in Australian Family Physician 2014, Vol43, No.4, April 2014 Pages 197-198
This article forms part of our allied health series for 2014, which aims to provide information about the management approach of different allied health professionals, using the case example of uncomplicated, mechanical low back pain.
2. A randomized, controlled trial of osteopathic manipulative treatment for acute low back pain in active duty military personnel.
Cruser dA, Maurer D, Hensel K, Brown SK, White K, Stoll ST.
Published in the Journal of Manual and Manipulative Therapy, 2012 Feb; 20(1):5-15.
This study supports the effectiveness of osteopathic manipulative treatment in reducing acute low back pain in active duty military personnel.
3. Osteopathic manual treatment and ultrasound therapy for chronic low back pain: a randomized controlled trial.
Licciardone JC, Minotti DE, Gatchel RJ, Kearns CM, Singh KP.
Published in Annals of Family Medicine
The osteopathic manipulative treatment regimen met or exceeded the Cochrane Back Review Group criterion for a medium effect size in relieving chronic low back pain. It was safe, parsimonious, and well accepted by patients.
4. Osteopathic manipulative treatment for nonspecific low back pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis
Helge Franke, Jan-David Franke and Gary Fryer
Published in BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2014
Clinically relevant effects of osteopathic manipulative treatment were found for reducing pain and improving functional status in patients with acute and chronic nonspecific low back pain and for low back pain in pregnant and postpartum women at 3 months posttreatment. However, larger, high-quality randomized controlled trials with robust comparison groups are recommended.
5. Osteopathic manipulative treatment in obese patients with chronic low back pain: a pilot study.
Vismara L, Cimolin V, Menegoni F, Zaina F, Galli M, Negrini S, Villa V, Capodaglio P.
Published in Manual Therapy
Combined rehabilitation treatment including osteopathic manipulative treatment showed to be effective in improving biomechanical parameters of the thoracic spine in obese patients with chronic low back pain.
6. Randomized osteopathic manipulation study (ROMANS): pragmatic trial for spinal pain in primary care.
Williams NH, Wilkinson C, Russell I, Edwards RT, Hibbs R, Linck P, Muntz R.
Published in Family Practice
Aim: was to assess the effectiveness and health care costs of a practice-based osteopathy clinic for subacute spinal pain. A primary care osteopathy clinic improved short-term physical and longer term psychological outcomes, at little extra cost. Rigorous multicentre studies are now needed to assess the generalizability of this approach.
7. Immediate effects of region-specific and non-region-specific spinal manipulative therapy in patients with chronic low back pain: a randomized controlled trial.
de Oliveira RF, Liebano RE, Costa Lda C, Rissato LL, Costa LO.
Published in Physical Therapy
The immediate changes in pain intensity and pressure pain threshold after a single high-velocity manipulation do not differ by region-specific versus non-region-specific manipulation techniques in patients with chronic low back pain.
8. Red flags to screen for malignancy and fracture in patients with low back pain: systematic review.
Downie A, Williams CM, Henschke N, Hancock MJ, Ostelo RW, de Vet HC, Macaskill P, Irwig L, van Tulder MW, Koes BW, Maher CG.
Published in BMJ
While several red flags are endorsed in guidelines to screen for fracture or malignancy, only a small subset of these have evidence that they are indeed informative. These findings suggest a need for revision of many current guidelines.
9. Neck Pain
Manipulation and mobilisation for neck pain contrasted against an inactive control or another active treatment
Anita Gross, Pierre Langevin, Stephen J Burnie, Marie-Sophie Bédard-Brochu, Brian Empey, Estelle Dugas, Michael Faber-Dobrescu, Cristy Andres, Nadine Graham, Charles H Goldsmith, Gert Brønfort, Jan L Hoving, Francis LeBlanc. Editorial Group: Cochrane Back and Neck Group
Published Online: 23 SEP 2015 on Cohrane Library
Findings suggest that manipulation and mobilisation present similar results for every outcome at immediate/short/intermediate-term follow-up. Multiple cervical manipulation sessions may provide better pain relief and functional improvement than certain medications at immediate/intermediate/long-term follow-up. Since the risk of rare but serious adverse events for manipulation exists, further high-quality research is needed to guide clinicians in their optimal treatment choices.