Osteopaths are highly trained to manually locate points of restriction or excessive strain in various parts of the body. Using palpation and neuro-orthopaedic testing the osteopath will assess the spine, joints, muscles and tendons.
An osteopath may also refer for blood tests or X-rays to confirm findings, or review existing diagnostic results where available.
Treatment could include such techniques as soft tissue massage & stretching to increase blood flow and improve flexibility of joints and muscles; articulation to mobilise joints by being passively taken through their range of motion; muscle energy techniques (MET), to release tightness on the muscles by alternatively being stretched and made to work against resistance and joint manipulation to free up restrictions of joint play and accessory motions.
If the diagnosis is one that requires further investigation or specialist intervention, an osteopath will suggest a referral to an appropriate practitioner. Osteopaths often treat in conjunction with a GP, dentist, podiatrist or other health care professional.
Because osteopathy emphasises self-healing, an osteopath may also advise dietary changes, home exercise programs and lifestyle adjustments. All treatment programs are highly individualised and depend on the patient’s current condition, past history, and ability to adapt to change.