What is Osteopathy and how does it work?


Osteopathy is a "whole body" system of manual therapy, based on unique biomechanical principles, which uses a wide range of techniques to treat musculoskeletal problems and other functional disorders of the body. It was developed in America in the 1870’s by a Missouri Doctor, Andrew Taylor Still, and has developed to the point where it is now widely recognised throughout the world as one of the most scientifically validated and effective "complementary" therapies.Osteopathic manual medicine is a form of treatment based on the concept that the structure of the human body influences its function and that dysfunctions in the body will cause destruction of the tissues, ultimately causing inflammation and pain.At Rowville Family Osteopathy, our goal is to improve your body's structural framework, and its function, to promote your own inbuilt compensatory and healing mechanisms. This usually reduces the amount of pain you experience as well as increasing your body’s ability to fight disease (i.e. stimulating the immune system, improving blood flow). We do this by using a large range of hands-on techniques, exercises & postural advice, customised to each individual, and by considering the whole person instead of just treating where the pain is.In Australia, Osteopaths are statutorily registered practitioners and five year, full-time university training is available, which covers anatomy, physiology, pathology and general medical diagnosis in addition to Osteopathic technique. We are primary care practitioners, and are trained to be able to recognise conditions that require medical referral. We are also trained to carry out standard medical examinations of the cardiovascular, respiratory and nervous system.To add a new question go to app settings and press "Manage Questions" button.




Is Osteopathy proven? Does it work?


It is a common misconception that Osteopathic theories have not been scientifically validated. Osteopathic treatment is based on Anatomy, Physiology, Embryology, Biomechanics, Rehabilitation and Exercise Sciences. In fact, there exists a great deal of research that not only provides a physiological basis for Osteopathic concepts and techniques, but also provides statistical data on outcomes. As such, the World Health Organisation (WHO) recognises the Osteopathic concept of somatic dysfunction as being scientifically proven, and the British Medical Association also recognises Osteopathy as a discrete medical discipline.




Is Osteopathic treatment safe?


There's no such thing as a form of medical treatment that is guaranteed 100% safe in every case. Even the painkillers you buy in the supermarket for a headache may cause severe side effects in some people. That said, however, Osteopathy has one of the best safety records of any medically-related profession. Manually applied Osteopathy is considered one of the safest, most non-invasive and most non-injurious medical treatments available. Osteopathic practitioners are trained to recognise any condition that might make Osteopathic treatment inadvisable, and will refer you for appropriate medical attention in such cases. Just as a Doctor regards safety as the most important factor in selecting the appropriate medication for a particular client, we will also select the most appropriate style of treatment with safety as your prime consideration.




What sort of problems to Osteopaths treat?


Osteopathy is best known for the treatment of a wide variety of musculoskeletal problems, but it also has a role to play in the management of a number of other conditions. Essentially, there is no limit to what Osteopaths can treat because we aim to improve how the body functions and get the body healing itself. The most common complaints for which patients consult Osteopaths include: All ages: Back pain, lumbago, sciatica, scoliosis Neck pain, torticollis, wry neck Whiplash, motor vehicle accidents Headaches, migraines Jaw problems, TMJ dysfunction Shoulder, arm or hand pain/numbness Hip, leg or foot pain/numbness Trapped nerves Muscle strains & joint sprains Work-related injuries, repetitive strain injuries & tendonitis Sports-related injuries, improving sports performance, injury prevention Reducing severity of: Arthritic conditions, Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Psoriatic Arthritis Pregnancy, childbirth, breast feeding Sinusitis, pneumonia, bronchitis, asthma, apnoea & breathing problems Gynaecological dysfunction & dysmenorrhoea Chronic fatigue, Fibromyalgia & chronic pain syndromes




How will I feel after treatment?


This depends on how you felt when you walked in. If you come in with very acute spasmodic pain often an inflammatory process has started in the body that will run its course. For this type of problem, we will endeavour to give you as much symptomatic relief as possible. This means that sometimes despite treatment you can feel worse in the short term. But by treating the affected area early, the acute phase can be shortened and you can return to your normal activities quicker. For clients with more chronic levels of pain, how you feel after treatment will vary from person to person and from problem to problem. This is explained in more detail in "The 3 Ways Your Body Can Heal?" section.




Is treatment safe during pregnancy?


Yes, osteopathic treatment is safe during all stages of pregnancy and can often help your body cope with the extra stresses that carrying a child can place on your body. Always tell your osteopath though if you are pregnant or think you may be pregnant as treatment is sometimes altered depending on the stage of pregnancy. Many mothers-to-be find Osteopathic treatment very beneficial both to reduce back pain during pregnancy and also to help prepare the body for birth. Osteopathic ante-natal care has been shown in several studies to be effective in reducing the risk of many complications that occur during delivery by better preparing the body for the process.




How soon can I bring my baby in for a check up?


It is safe to have your baby checked up at any stage. We offer all babies, regardless of whether the parents are clients of ours, a free 15 minute assessment as a community service. Often it is good to have them checked early after their birth as the compressive force through the uterus and the pelvis can cause early strain patterns, these are easy to treat and early detection prevents problems later. Obviously there are many different types of birth including c-section, forceps, breach, and posterior presentation, each of these can affect babies in different ways and a detailed history will be taken by your Family Osteopath. Specifically we may help with settling, turning the head, difficulty swallowing and sucking, infant colic, constipation and "glue ear." We can also detect problems that may require further diagnosis and/or treatment and will refer you on when we do. We advise particularly that after certain births babies should be checked including: very short labours (less than 4 hours) long labours atypical deliveries including forceps, ventouse/vacuum and breech Caesarean birth multiple pregnancy When treating infants and small children, we use a wide variety of non-manipulative techniques that are very gentle and safe, hardly looking like we’re doing anything at all. The most common technique is called Cranial Osteopathy and not all osteopaths learn this technique, with the training being predominately post-graduate and takes years to master. When looking for an Osteopath for your babies and young children, you need to find someone who specialises in this technique like your Osteopaths at Rowville Family Osteopathy. We also do not utilise joint manipulations like chiropractors on infants and young children due to the risk of causing serious injuries such as vertebral artery dissection and stroke, and because these other gentle techniques are so effective.




How is Osteopathy different from Physiotherapy and Chiropractic?


It's not the role of any health professional to try to define what another health care professional is, and what they do. If you want a definition, it would be best to ask people in those professions. What we can do is tell you about the defining characteristics of Osteopathy, which are its underlying philosophy and its broad range of techniques. While "Biomechanics" has become one of the most rapidly developing areas of medicine in recent years, Osteopathy was one of the first professions to incorporate biomechanical analysis of how injuries occur and what the secondary effects are likely to be. To take a simple example, if you go to us with a knee injury, we will do much more than just examine and treat your knee. We will want to know exactly how your injury occurred in order to assess not just which tissues in your knee are injured, but also whether there may be any involvement of other areas with a mechanical relationship to your knee, such as your foot, hip, low back and pelvis, and the associated soft tissues. We will then want to analyse any possible secondary effects. For instance, you may be "avoiding" your bad knee and putting more weight on the other side. Over a period of time, this may lead to problems developing in your low back or your "good" knee. We will then use this information to prescribe a treatment plan that addresses not just your knee, but also all of the other areas of your body and associated tissues that may be involved. The plan will include attention not just to your joints and their associated soft tissues, but also to your blood supply to the affected areas, your lymphatic drainage, your nerve supply etc., in order to include all those factors that will affect the success of healing. It is this "whole body, multi-system" approach that has been the basis of Osteopathy's success over the last century.




How do Osteopaths treat?


In carrying out treatments, we can call upon what is probably the largest range of hands-on techniques used in any manual therapy. These techniques all are aimed at relaxing muscles and connective tissues, and relieving joint strains in an endeavour to return the body to normal, relaxed, pain free functioning. These include but not limited to: Normal Massage and Stretching Techniques Articulation Techniques – passive joint mobilisation Muscle Energy Techniques (MET) – using mechanical principles by alternately between being stretched and made to work against resistance to release contracted muscles & restricted joints Osteopathic Manipulation Technique (OMT) – small, quick movement of a joint to create a joint release, sometimes creates a popping noise. May be used where it's appropriate and safe to do so, though it is not the mainstay of most Osteopathic treatments. Osteopathic manipulations are carried out using minimum force levels in order to maximise safety and minimise patient discomfort. Bowen Technique – small, quick movement of a muscle to create a muscle release Counter-strain (CS) techniques – positioning restricted joints and muscles in a position of comfort (decreased pain) in order to achieve a release Positional Release techniques – positioning tissues in a position of least tension in order to achieve a release Functional techniques, which involve gentle mobilisation of joints in a way which "probes" barriers to normal movement until a way is found through the restriction Osteopathy in the Cranial Field (OCF) or Cranial Osteopathic techniques – involves very gently holding tissues in a tension free and balanced position for a significant amount of time to achieve a release (was first developed on the head but can be done of the whole body). It's useful for everyone but is particularly suited to infants, young children and the physically frail. It takes many years for us to become proficient at this technique due the level of fine palpation necessary and we do extra postgraduate training to do so. Balance Ligamentous Tension (BLT) techniques – balancing the tension of ligaments for a period of time in order to achieve a release of the ligaments and joints Neuromobilisation & Neurodynamics Techniques – stretching and releasing of the central and peripheral nervous system Visceral techniques – management of conditions affecting internal organs involving gentle and rhythmical stretching of the visceral areas No two osteopaths work exactly alike so if you have had previous Osteopathic treatment, you could find our treatment quite different to the treatment you have experienced in the past. Some “Structural” Osteopaths utilise just manipulation and massage when treating, and “Cranial” Osteopaths use just the Osteopathy in the Cranial field techniques. We at Rowville Family Osteopathy see ourselves as “Functional” Osteopaths, somewhere in between the other two and utilising the “full toolbox” approach. This allows us to tailor treatments to your individual requirements, taking into account your problems or conditions, your personal preferences and what will give you the best possible results in the safest way.




When do I need to come in for a maintenance treatment?


We believe that simply getting you to keep returning for more treatments is not the best form of long term preventive care. Instead, we pride ourselves in getting to the root causes of your problems. The key to preventing health problems recurring, and to developing long-term solutions, lies in increasing your awareness of the causes of problems, and in giving you the help you need to take responsibility for your own health. This is done in a number of ways: By identifying the causative factors of your problems, such as problems with workplace ergonomics, and trying to reduce or eliminate them By teaching you more efficient and less strenuous body usage in their actions at home or at work. By helping you become aware of postural problems and how to correct them. By providing individually tailored exercise programmes both for rehabilitation and prevention. By teaching relaxation techniques breathing exercises to reduce stress. By working in conjunction with your other practitioners such as dieticians, occupational therapists etc. where appropriate. We believe that long-term prevention is the result of a cooperative effort between you and us. As such, we do not encourage maintenance treatment. Sometimes we cannot correct the true problem, and some chronic conditions involve trauma and/or disease processes which we can't remove completely through treatment. Osteopathy is designed to enable your body to best cope with these situations when they are present. We suggest in these situations that you come in for maintenance so we can keep you as comfortable as possible and enable your body to run as best as it can. In much the same way a mechanic might check the engine of your car regularly. It means also that you can (providing there is no further stress on the body) come in for just one treatment at a time rather than requiring a few weeks to get your symptoms back to a manageable level. In all cases, we will always encourage you to complete daily exercises in between treatment so you can help yourself as much as possible and reduce the amount of treatment sessions you will need.




When joints make a 'CRACKING' sound, does that mean they are back in place?


Basically the sound that you hear is not the therapeutic part of the treatment. The noise that you hear is simply created by change in pressure within the joint which results in a movement of gas within the joint. This sudden release of gas creates the 'cracking' sound. It is not bone on bone, nor a vertebrae moving back in place.




What does it mean when my back is 'OUT'?


No, is the short answer to this. Basically the force required to actually put your back 'out' or dislocate the spine would be massive and the resultant muscle spasm would mean you would most likely end up in hospital rather than in our clinic. Usually what has happened is a change in the range of motion meaning that your back may move better one way than another. This results in the feeling that something is 'out.' Osteopathic treatment helps by normalising range of motion, not by putting your bones "back into place".





Frequently Asked Questions

Suite 8, Wellness on Wellington

1101 Wellington Rd, Rowville, Victoria 3178

Tel: 03 9780 8980    Fax: 03 9780 8981

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