- Stretching and releasing connective tissues, e.g. muscles, tendons and fascia that inhibit mobility
- Strengthening unstable joint through muscle conditioning
- Enhancing circulation and lymphatic drainage
- Improving nerve supply
- Educating about diet, exercise and lifestyle choices.
The aim of a first visit to an osteopath is to develop a picture of the patient’s overall health status, how they developed the current condition and a plan of action to move toward their optimal health.
A complete medical history will be taken. Some questions may not seem to relate to the “sore part”, yet may help clarify how the condition has occurred or why it has not resolved.
This is followed by a structural assessment of the range and quality of several joint movements while the patient stands, sits, walks and bends etc. Outer clothing may need to be removed to show mobility and tissue responses. Neurological and orthopaedic tests help the osteopath to eliminate other possible causes and to differentiate the basis of the individual’s complaint.
Osteopaths are trained to manually locate points of restriction or strain in various parts of the body. Using palpation, or finely tuned sense of touch and movement, the osteopath assesses the spine, joints, muscles, and other soft tissues.
At this stage if any other information is needed; e.g. X-Rays or blood tests, the patient may be referred accordingly. Also if a particular condition requires the help of another health professional, the patient is referred to them. Osteopaths often treat in conjunction with a GP, dentist, podiatrist, naturopath or other health professionals.
Once a diagnosis has been made, a treatment plan will be discussed which may include manual therapy, exercise, dietary changes, or lifestyle modification. Treatment approaches are highly individualised and are a function of: current condition, past history and the ability of the patient to adapt to change. Allow approximately one hour for your initial consultation.
- The body is a functional unit composed of interrelating parts or systems.
- The body has a tendency to homeostasis. The body’s natural tendency is to self regulate.
- Structure and function are reciprocally interrelated. Changes to structure influence function and conversely changes to function influence structure.
- Rational treatment is based on the above three principles.
An osteopath is a highly qualified primary health care professional. They are trained to diagnose their patients’ problems, selecting those they can help and knowing when to refer those with a need for other medical care. Hence osteopathic and medical students receive a very similar basic medical education. The osteopathic student has advanced training in detailed examination and diagnosis of body structure and mechanics. They receive training in anatomy, physiology, orthopedics and interpersonal communication not to mention intensive training in osteopathic manipulative therapy.
This education involves five years of full time study resulting in a Bachelor of Science and Masters Degree in Osteopathy.
Members of the Australian Osteopathic Association are committed to compulsory, ongoing post-graduate education.
This means that:
- Osteopaths are currently registered with the Department of Health in each state of Australia. From mid 2010 regulation will be national.
- No referral is necessary to see an osteopath as a private patient.
- Osteopathic treatment is covered by private health insurance, third party insurance, workers’ compensation and Medicare EPC
Usually patients are prescribed a tailored home exercise program to support treatment and help prevent reoccurrence of your problem.
Best results are achieved when the patient is actively involved in exercise supportive to Osteopathic treatment.
Research has shown that back pain, like other pain syndromes, is less likely to recur in patients that have manual / manipulative therapy and prescriptive exercise together compared with control groups that only underwent manipulative treatment or exercise therapy alone.
At Vital Lifestyle we provide tailored exercise prescriptions for our patients to reinforce what is done in treatment and prevent recurrence of the presenting problem. A balance of stretching and strengthening exercise on a regular basis is essential to healthy joint function in our busy, sedentary, modern world.