New To Osteopathy?
This article will help you understand a little more about what Osteopaths do, and why we think you should see us.
Osteopaths diagnose and treat many musculoskeletal problems.
1. Why See An Osteopath
2. What Does an Osteopath Do?
3. What Does An Osteopath Treat?
4. What’s the Difference between an Osteo, a Physio & a Chiro?
5. Is an Osteopath the same as a Naturopath or Homoeopath?
6. Can an Osteopath Fix Everything?
We don’t just treat “bones” 🙂
If it’s pain, or discomfort, and you feel it, we may be able to help it.
If we can’t help it – we know the fastest way to get you to the appropriate help/care required.
Osteopaths have very broad muscular and skeletal knowledge, and are trained over a 5 year period.
Why See An Osteopath?
Many people see other healthcare practitioners before Osteopaths, and we’re often told that they “wished they saw us first”.
Now we don’t really know the real reason for people saying this, but there are many potential reasons, including these we’ve been told over the years:
A Few Reasons Why:
- We really listen to you.
- We are not in a huge rush – our appointments are slightly longer.
- Osteopaths use our hands to help you, not machines.
- We look at you as a WHOLE – to help find out WHY you’ve got pain.
- We don’t just crack your bones and joints.
- Osteopaths don’t just massage you.
- We don’t just give you exercises and stretches.
- We give realistic treatment programs around your goals and your lifestyle.
- Our practitioners don’t sell you on unnecessary treatment plans that make you believe that you need to pre pay, buy a “package”, then see us 3 times a week, for a year (this happens in Geelong!).
These are probably some of the reasons why Osteopaths have become very popular over the past few decades.
It’s pretty simple really.
We’re here to help you get the fastest results possible, and we love it.
What Does An Osteopath Do?
Some people have described what we do as like being a combination of a GP that doesn’t prescribe drugs, a Physio, a Chiro and a massage therapist.
Truth be told, it’s difficult to write in one sentence what an Osteopath really does, because we do quite a few things.
In a standard consultation, an Osteopath:
- Will take a detailed case history
- Does a thorough assessment including Orthopaedic tests
- Based on the findings will give you an appropriate manual therapy treatment, and
- Give you recommendations based on the treatment outcome, severity of your problem, and aggravating and relieving factors.
All of this constitutes “what an Osteopath does”, but the actual TREATMENT is what people remember.
Osteopaths LOOK FURTHER.
We really look at how you move, including your posture, work situation, lifestyle and your diet.
Not all pain needs stretches, not all pain needs strengthening.David Birley, Osteopath
For example, If you present with shoulder pain, and it’s not from an obvious injury, we ask ourselves WHY is that shoulder pain there?
It’s these sort of problems that easily “fall through the cracks” so to speak, and end up seeing us.
What Does An Osteopath Treat?
Osteopaths treat so many things, with great success.
This include sports injuries, and any pain in (almost) any region.
Of course, many of these things you could get similar results with Physiotherapy, or Chiropractic – in the hands of a skilled practitioner.
Osteopaths treat pretty much all regions of the body.
For the most part, Osteopaths are primarily associated with treating muscle, joint and nerve problems.
And we can really help with this.
A key point to note is that we know what we cannot treat, and will refer immediately for further tests, or examinations if it’s going to change the course of your treatment.
As we mentioned earlier – Osteopaths can assess and treat a wide range of presenting complaints.
What’s the Difference Between An Osteopath, a Physiotherapist and a Chiropractor?
This is perhaps one of the most common questions any Osteopath is asked!
If we’d been to Physio, Chiro and Osteopathic colleges we’d be truly qualified to tell you. But we’re not sure of anyone who has!
There are certainly Osteo+Physio and Osteo+Chiro trained practitioners out there.
For the most part, Chiropractors and Osteopaths have one more year university training than Physiotherapists, and the training is geared towards being in private practice.
Physiotherapists have more training in rehabilitation from within hospitals and post surgical wards.
The truth is, the only answer we can really give you is a “mashup” of what our patients say…
Here’s what our patients say, and we have to basically take their word for it:
- You treat more things
- Your Osteopaths seem to be more thorough
- You don’t seem to be in a rush
- Osteopaths are gentler
- Your practitioners don’t have me coming back over and over and over
- You found problems that no one else found
- You helped me stop my pain for longer
Of course, this is not US saying this. We genuinely do not agree that we are better than any other practitioner out there.
We’re just different, and have a different angle – a different way of looking at things.
There’s no “right” way, for us, or any practitioner type to look at things.
We can get it wrong, just the same as others can.
If you’re ONLY trained in musculoskeletal problems, you can easily miss the potential REAL cause of the problem.
You might have a sore right shoulder. You see a practitioner, who thinks it’s a Rhomboid (shoulder) muscle problem, they give you exercises.
No change in pain.
You see someone else who thinks it’s referred pain from your spine. They manipulate it.
No change in pain.
But they MISSED asking a few questions – and if they did, they’d have been thinking perhaps the issue was actually a gall bladder problem.
We are trained to think “outside the box” in this sort of way.
If all you possess in your toolbox is a hammer… Everything starts looking like a nail
Unless there is a true cause and effect – for example you sprain your ankle, and it’s now sore on the outside of your ankle, directly related to that sprain, Osteopaths will almost NEVER focus on the site of pain.
We hear and see this all the time.
“But my pain is in my KNEE” people say… when the Osteopath is busy looking at your, foot, ankle, hip AND your knee.
Here’s a tip:
Everything is connected. Everything.
Does it mean that the issue is always away from the site of problem?
No. Just the same as the problem isn’t always at the site of pain.
Is an Osteopath the same as a Naturopath or Homoeopath?
The only thing “similar” is the end of the names, i.e. “Path”
The reason for this is the origin of the names themselves.
Most people don’t know it, but not too long ago your medical doctor was known as an “Allopath”. See the name similarity?
Imagine calling your “Allopath” when you need a flu injection or anti-biotics…
Most people also don’t realise, but in the USA where Osteopathy began (and still exists) – Osteopaths have the same prescribing rights as a GP does here in Australia.
Here in Australia Osteopaths are limited to manual therapy, however, retain the broad based pathology training that helps them potentially identify things that “present” as musculoskeletal pain, but in fact are not.
Can An Osteo Fix Everything?
Would be great to be able to wouldn’t it?
Your Osteopath will give you perspective.
Sometimes problems & pain are super easy to sort out. Sometimes, not so easy.
If you’re presenting with significant joint arthritis, we might be able to help point you in the right direction, and help your pain levels.
But we’re not going to suggest, or prescribe medications.
If you require medical intervention like this, we’ll tell you, and refer accordingly.
Sometimes you need medical intervention and medical imaging. We do try to minimise this, but we have your best interests at heart, so we do what ever we can to help improve you.