Complete Pediatric, Family, and Athletic Health Centre


Osteopathy is a form of non-invasive manual medicine that focuses on total body health by treating and strengthening the musculoskeletal framework, which includes the joints, muscles and spine. Its aim is to positively affect the body’s nervous, circulatory and lymphatic systems.

Osteopathy is a unique holistic (whole body) approach to health care. Osteopathic practitioners do not simply concentrate on treating the problem area, but use manual techniques to balance all the systems of the body, to provide overall good health and wellbeing.

The goal of treatment is to relieve pain, improve mobility and restore health and vitality.

A treatment plan is formulated by understanding the relationship between the structure of the body and how well it functions, and knowing the connections between all the tissues, fluids, organs and systems of the body.

Osteopathic practitioners study for years to develop very sensitive palpation skills. Many gentle tests and techniques are used to find and treat the root causes of dysfunction rather than just relying on presenting symptoms.

Back and Neck Pain

The normal spinal curves exist to aid with shock absorption during our daily activities. An injury can result in the flattening of a spinal curve (flat lower back or neck), or the exaggeration of a spinal curve (more rounded mid-back). A postural imbalance can lead to joint degeneration and soft tissue dysfunction.

Osteopathic treatment of the spine may include:

  • Release of tension in the fascia and muscles
  • Release of nerve tissue tension including that around the brain and spinal cord
  • Mobilisation of organ restrictions relating to the spine
  • Exercise prescription and postural advice
    Note: It is important that you speak with your medical doctor for the complete diagnosis of any medical condition.


Symptoms of whiplash, commonly caused by car accidents and sports injuries, can occur immediately or develop over time and include:

  • Pain and stiffness in the neck, upper, middle and lower back, pelvis, shoulders and ribs
    Pins and needles or numbness in the arms or legs
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Fatigue
  • Inability to focus

Osteopathic treatment of whiplash may include techniques to:

  • Promote good fluidic circulation
    Balance the “shaken up” autonomic nervous system
  • Release joint restrictions


  • Fascial and fluidic techniques to remove the strain and shock of the impact
  • Advice regarding posture, exercise and activities

Note: It is important that you speak with your medical doctor for the complete diagnosis of any medical condition.


There are many different types of headaches such as tension-type, migraines and those originating from the neck.

Osteopathic treatment of headaches can be extremely effective and can include techniques to:

  • Mobilise joint and soft tissue tensions in the neck, upper back, clavicles and upper ribs
  • Mobilise the nerve tissue including that surrounding the brain and spinal cord
  • Address postural compensations elsewhere in the body which may be influencing the headaches

Note: It is important that you speak with your medical doctor for the complete diagnosis of any medical condition.

TMJ/jaw problems (Temporomandibular Joint)

Usually part of a more generalised musculoskeletal dysfunction, these symptoms include:

  • Jaw pain
    Clicking and/or locking of the jaw
  • Headaches or earaches
  • Ringing in the ear (tinnitus)
  • Clenching or grinding of the teeth
  • Sinus issues

Osteopathic treatment of this condition will usually include techniques that:

Head treatment

  • Release tension in the jaw muscles and ligaments
  • Realign the TMJ or jaw
  • Mobilise the bones of the roof of the mouth and the cranial base
  • Mobilise tensions in other organs that are associated with the jaw (e.g. stomach and oesophagus)
  • Address joint restrictions and soft tissue tension in the neck
  • Release postural adaptations elsewhere in the body which may be influencing the jaw

Osteopathic treatment works exceedingly well in this area as it expedites the movement of the bones to which the teeth are attached, and assists in balancing the bite. Conversely, in clients whose TMJ has difficulty in maintaining alignment, a dental consultation may be recommended to address bite issues.

Note: It is important that you speak with your medical doctor for the complete diagnosis of any medical condition.

Soft tissue injuries: sprains, strains, tendonitis

Soft tissue injuries can occur in ligaments, muscles, tendons and bursae resulting in pain, swelling and limited mobility.

Ankle treatment Using Osteopathic treatment of soft tissue injuries may include:

The RICE method:

  • Rest
  • Ice
  • Compression
  • Elevation


  • Cranial, joint, and fascial techniques that address the fluids in the area of injury
  • Techniques to address postural issues elsewhere to alleviate stress on the injured area
  • Techniques to address the spinal segments of the neck or back to ensure unimpeded nerve supply to the injured muscle or joint
  • Exercises to retrain balance receptors, strengthen muscles and to retrain muscle patterning so that the injury does not recur

Note: It is important that you speak with your medical doctor for the complete diagnosis of any medical condition.

Joint dysfunction and arthritic pain

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint condition caused by breakdown of cartilage, causing pain and inflammation. It affects the normal population as they age, or can occur prematurely in a joint injured earlier in life.

Typically it affects the:

  • Hands
  • Neck
  • Lower back
  • Hips
  • Knees
  • Feet

An osteopathic treatment of joint dysfunction and arthritic pain may include techniques to:

  • Improve flexibility and mobilise joints
    Promote better fluid flow and flush out the by-products of inflammation
  • Techniques to address the spinal segments of the neck or back to ensure unimpeded nerve supply to the joint and its corresponding muscles
  • Spine treatment
  • Address tensions in the organs that can cause referred joint pain
  • Address postural compensation elsewhere in the body which could be influencing the affected joint
  • Educate regarding joint protection
  • Promote flexibility and strength in the affected joint and neighbouring areas

Note: It is important that you speak with your medical doctor for the complete diagnosis of any medical condition.

Nerve pain – sciatica, tingling, and numbness

As the nervous system is one continuous unit, tension in one area may cause symptoms elsewhere.

These symptoms can include:

  • Pain in the lower back, hip and/or leg
    Pins and needles
  • Numbness
  • Muscle weakness and loss of reflexes
  • Sudden lack of control of bladder or bowel function (requires immediate attention from a medical doctor)

Osteopathic treatment for this condition may include the following:

  • A referral to a medical doctor if an acute disc protrusion is suspected
  • Advice regarding application of ice, posture, activity modification and positioning for pain relief and disc health
  • Gentle fascial and joint mobilisation techniques
  • Release of tension in the visceral (organ) system which may influence the local joint mechanics
  • Ensuring nervous system mobility
  • Promoting good fluid circulation
  • Exercises to reduce stiffness and to strengthen muscles

Osteopathy is unique in the types of nervous system mobilisation techniques, and fluid flushing techniques that are used.

Note: It is important that you speak with your medical doctor for the complete diagnosis of any medical condition.

Difficult digestion, acid reflux, constipation

The organs that play a role in digestion are the:

  • Oesphagus
  • Small intestine and large intestine (colon)
  • Pancreas and liver

Disruption or tension in these areas can result in acid reflux, hiatus hernia, and chronic constipation. Chronic constipation frequently leads to chronic restrictions and stiffness in the pelvis and spine.

Osteopathy is unique in its ability to assess and treat the motion of these organs. It also ensures that the area of the spine which is the source of nerve supply to these organs is mobile and well-aligned.

Painful periods and ovulation/chronic pelvic pain and bladder issues

Some women experience discomfort around the time of their period and/or ovulation.

Periods and Bladder issues Pain and cramping may be experienced in the:

  • Lower abdomen
  • Lower back, pelvis and pelvic floor muscles
  • Legs
    Hormonal control for this area is governed by the pituitary gland in the brain.

Bladder issues can affect both women and men, with symptoms ranging from:

  • Urgency
  • Frequency
  • Incontinence (involuntary loss of urine)
  • Chronic infection and pain

The uterus (womb), ovaries and bladder are supplied by nerves from the lower back and pelvis.

Osteopathic treatment of period or bladder issues can be very successful and includes techniques to:

  • Mobilise and align the pelvis to which the bladder and womb are attached
  • Mobilise the lower back and sacrum which is the source of the nerve supply of these organ
  • Release tension from: ◦ A tight pelvic floor and to improve muscular control
  • The tailbone to aid the pelvic floor muscles and to free the surrounding nerve tissue
  • Improve function of the pituitary gland
  • Address postural issues elsewhere in the body which may be influencing the pelvic problems

Note: It is wise to consult medical advice as some bladder and menstrual symptoms are due to conditions which require care above and beyond osteopathy. It is important that you speak with your medical doctor for the complete diagnosis of any medical condition.

Pregnancy discomfort, labour preparation and post-natal care

If you are planning to have a child, an assessment by an osteopathic practitioner will ensure that your body is ready for the major changes that occur during pregnancy. Past injuries and traumas can make it difficult for the body to accommodate these changes.

Functional Symptoms during pregnancy can range from:

  • Pain in the lower or mid-back, sciatica
  • Pubic symphysis pain
  • Nausea
  • Heartburn
  • Shallow breathing
  • Fluid retention

An osteopathic practitioner can help:

  • Maintain alignment and flexibility of the pelvis, spine and ribcage
  • Treat the diaphragm and the liver which can positively impact symptoms of nausea, heartburn, shallow breathing and fluid retention
  • Address previous pelvic trauma (caused by a fall, for example) that can lead to restriction and increased tension
  • Assist in release of the pelvis and abdomen such that the baby can optimally position itself to facilitate a safer delivery for mother and child.

After delivery, osteopathic treatment can help:

  • Realign the spine and pelvis
  • Treat scars from tearing, episiotomies and caesarian sections
  • Teach good motor control of the pelvic floor muscles
  • Address tensions and discomfort associated with prolonged positioning while breastfeeding
  • Treat pain or tension associated with having an epidural

Note: It is important that you speak with your medical doctor for the complete diagnosis of any medical condition.

Children: unsettled babies, colic, recurrent ear infections

Many childhood issues can respond positively to osteopathic intervention and include:

  • Unsettled babies
  • Colic
  • Sucking or feeding difficulties
  • Digestive issues
  • Wry neck (torticollis)
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Cranial moulding
  • Ear infections
  • Learning and concentration difficulties
  • Chronic immune problems like sinusitis or recurrent colds
  • Dental and orthodontic concerns
  • Scoliosis
  • Balance issues
  • Injuries and strains from falls and tumbles

Children are commonly thought to be immune to structural stresses and strains, and resilient to injury. In reality, strains and tensions early in life often become incorporated into the growing body. Fortunately, children have a profound life force which can allow rapid results with osteopathic treatment.

Osteopathic Treatment – Description About Osteopathy

Osteopathy is beneficial in reducing musculoskeletal pain and dysfunction. Osteopathic treatment aims to restore optimal health by promoting joint mobility, better posture, nerve function and circulation, which in turn improves organ function like digestion and elimination. It does this through a variety of gentle, hands-on techniques.

“Osteopathic treatment is prophylactic because the physical defects in the anatomical structure may be discovered long before they begin to create much disturbance in function (O.E. Smith, DO).”

Osteopathy includes three basic methods of treatment: structural, craniosacral and visceral manipulation.

Structural Techniques

Structural Techniques mobilise joints and release restrictions and tension in muscles, ligaments and fascia. Functional techniques allows for a restricted segment of the body to be drawn further in the direction it prefers to move until the tension of the tissues holding it there melt and the segment is free to move in all directions. Muscle Energy Technique is based on the premise that muscle tension restricts a joint’s ability to move in all directions and uses muscle contraction and relaxation to achieve a release.

Fascia is a continuous system of connective tissue which envelopes muscles, organs, nerves, blood vessels, and infiltrates bones. Fascia can become short or adherent to other structures with trauma, inflammation and poor posture. Due to its continuous nature throughout the body, an area of fascial tension like a scar can create pain or discomfort in seemingly unrelated areas of the body. There are numerous osteopathic myofascial techniques.

“The fascia is the place to look for the cause of disease and the place to consult and begin the action of remedies in all diseases (A.T. Still, DO).”

Joint mobilisations and osteoarticular techniques aim to restore mobility, improved nerve function and circulation to a restricted joint. The technique is performed by combining many parameters of movement to create a cumulative barrier and at that point applying an energetic impulse into the restriction.

Craniosacral TherapyCraniosacral Therapy

Craniosacral Therapy enhances circulation and nerve conduction and can remove patterns of strain anywhere in the body. The craniosacral rhythm is a subtle rocking motion caused by the production of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in the brain. When the CSF is produced the brain expands, creating a tension on the dura (envelope surrounding the central nervous system), which pulls on the bones of the head causing them to move slightly. The tension created in the dura at one end is transmitted all along the spinal cord inferiorly to the other end, causing the sacrum to rock gently.

“The cerebrospinal fluid is the highest known element that is contained in the human body, and unless the brain furnishes this fluid in abundance a disabled condition of the body will remain (A.T. Still, DO).”

Visceral Manipulation

Visceral ManipulationThere are gentle treatment techniques for all the viscera (or organs) such as the liver, stomach, kidneys, uterus, bladder and colon. All organs normally have some mobility in response to the body moving and in response to their own metabolism and other bodily functions. Restrictions caused by surgeries, scars, infections, immobile joints and altered nerve conduction can impair the functioning of the organ. Osteopathic manipulation can bring about an improvement in function by restoring some measure of proper motion.

“All diseases are mere effects, the cause being a partial or complete failure of the nerves to properly conduct the fluids of life (A.T. Still, DO).”

Note: It is important that you speak with your medical doctor for the complete diagnosis of any medical condition.