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What does an Osteopath do?

While Osteopathy is becoming increasingly popular in Australia (the fastest growing health profession in the country to be exact), we still often hear the question “what is an Osteopath?” And “how are Osteopaths different from Physiotherapists or Chiropractors?”

These questions are often followed by something like- “osteopaths treat bones, yeah?”


Osteopathy, physiotherapy and chiropractic are all forms of manual therapy that can be useful in the treatment and management of a range of acute and chronic conditions/injuries. There are various similarities and differences that define each of these professions.

The main difference that sets Osteopathy apart from other manual therapy professions is the philosophy that it is based on, and the way that Osteopaths see and treat the body. Osteopaths take a very holistic approach to patient management, treating not only the presenting complaint, but also other areas of the body that may have contributed to that complaint. For example, when treating a knee injury, an Osteopath is also likely to assess the movements of the foot and ankle, as well as the hip, lower back and any other areas that may have contributed to the development of the knee pain.

Some of the most common treatment methods used by Osteopaths include:

- Soft tissue therapy: a combination of massage, trigger point release and stretching techniques may be used

- Joint articulation: passive joint mobilisation to improve range of motion

- HVLA: often referred to as manipulation or “cracking”

- Muscle energy technique: a combination of stretching and controlled muscle contraction

- Rehabilitation: injury-specific exercise prescription

- Dry needling: the placement of ultra-fine hypodermic needles into muscles/tendons

- Advice: regarding injury management, exercise, nutrition, stress management and general health

Osteopaths treat a wide range of musculoskeletal conditions, both acute and chronic. We work with patients of all ages to improve their overall health and wellbeing. If you’re wondering how osteopathy can help you, contact us at Glenroy Osteopathy Hub.

- Samantha Shelley


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