An osteopath specialises in the treatment of the musculoskeletal system. Osteopaths believe that the body can heal itself if the right combination of manual techniques such as massage and the manipulation of muscles, joints, ligaments and tendons are used to bring the body back to a cohesive whole.Osteopaths usually treat patients who complain of:headaches, bad backs, neck pain, sports and work injuries, sciatica, repetitive strain injuries (RSI), asthma, joint pain, menstrual problems, pregnancy problems.There are also many other conditions that may benefit from treatment by an osteopath.
Osteopaths take a case history of each patient. They observe how the patient’s body functions when they sit, stand and lie down, as well as physically examine the patient by using palpation to determine which areas of the body are healthy and which are in pain.
An osteopath also observes the spine, shoulders , pelvis and limbs. At the initial consultation, the osteopath will devise a treatment plan for the patient, if he or she thinks that osteopathic treatment is suitable.
If the osteopath determines that osteopathic treatment is not suitable for the patient, they will refer the patient to the appropriate health professional.
Osteopaths may treat a wide range of patients, from children to the elderly. They can assist pregnant women by helping to reduce back pain as well as readying the body for childbirth.
After the initial consultation, a patient may need to see the osteopath only once or twice more, or may need to come back for six or more treatments. At the next session, the osteopath will determine if the treatment made an improvement in the patient’s condition and based on the patient’s answer, will decide whether to continue with that specific treatment or to try a new approach.