Osteopathy in Australia has its roots in England but the true “home” of Osteopathy is the USA, dating back to the late 1800′s. In North America, Osteopaths are more often found working in hospitals treating a full array of general medical conditions rather than limited to muscular complaints. The UK and Australia, having already had their medical professions established when Osteopathy was introduced in the early 1900′s have Osteopaths primarily working in private practice, purely in a musculoskeletal capacity. As a result, Osteopathy is covered by the “extras” section of private health insurance and only chronic complaints are eligible to be partially reimbursed by Medicare. Workcover and Department of Veterans Affairs are also establishments that Osteopaths deal with.
Osteopaths in Australia are government registered, five year University trained musculoskeletal medicine professionals. An Osteopath is qualified to diagnose and treat pain and dysfunction of the muscles, joints, ligaments and tendons.
The main feature that strikes a person when they consult an Osteopath is the time taken to determine the cause of pain rather than just treating the site of pain. An Osteopath’s main focus is to find where and why a pain or problem has arisen and treat the cause whilst educating a patient on how to prevent its return. An Osteopath involves their patient in treatment by ensuring they understand the reasons behind the pain. This may involve a simple home based stretching exercise or modifying a repetitive behaviour such as sitting poorly on a couch.
The range of complaints treated by Osteopaths is wide and varied. Osteopaths often see patients who suffer from headaches, dizziness, neck pain, back pain, shoulder, elbow or wrist pain, hip, knee or ankle pain. Younger patients are often brought to the clinic by parents concerned about the use of grommets for recurrent ear infections or suffering from colic.