17 Health Conditions That An Osteopath Can Treat

An osteopath's ability to address 17 different health conditions

Osteopathy is a form of manual treatment that focuses on achieving balance, or homeostasis, in the body’s systems through treatment via the musculoskeletal system. As the body is an interconnected system, different types of diseases or injuries to one system can cause pain or dysfunction in another. An osteopath can help treat these conditions by using manual therapy, exercise, and health advice to improve mobility, relax muscles, and decrease the daily strain on tissues in the body. This holistic approach aims to normalise strength and joint function, reducing the stress on the body and improving quality of life.

So what are some of the conditions that an osteopath can treat? Here are 18 health issues an osteopath can help with:

17 Health Conditions an Osteopath Can Treat

The holistic approach to osteopathy is an excellent treatment for headaches. This approach includes treating the entire body with gentle techniques, known as osteopathic manipulative treatment or OMT.

Osteopaths treat the root cause of headaches, not just their symptoms. They aim to restore balance in your nervous and musculoskeletal systems by restoring movement patterns that have become restricted through general muscular tension, injury or poor posture at work.

This approach can help you find relief from tension headaches, migraines, upper neck pain and more—without relying on medication!

1. Headaches And Migraines

Many things, such as physical and mental stress, anxiety, depression, muscle tension, and poor posture, can lead to headaches. An osteopath will treat the underlying causes of your headaches by looking at the effects that these things have on your body.

A common headache that osteopaths treat in desk workers is cervicogenic headache. This headache is caused by postural strain increasing pressure on the occipital nerves. These nerves start at the back of the head and run behind the eyes. The increased pressure on these nerves can cause headaches and neck pain.

2. Lower Back Pain

One of the most common types of musculoskeletal disorders is lower back pain. In Australia, about 25% of people suffer from lower back pain, with many experiencing chronic pain. An osteopath will examine the alignment and movement of your spine and other structures in your body.

Additionally, they will consider previous injuries or surgeries that may have resulted in scar tissue formation. Lower back pain sufferers have a mixture of local tissue problems like joint degeneration, muscle weakness and nerve entrapment, and increased strain on these structures from their work environment. An osteopath will look at the whole picture and not just treat the pain.

3. Arthritis

There are around 100 forms of arthritis that cause pain and swelling in one or more joints. To relieve the pain and inflammation of arthritis, osteopaths can use hands-on treatment techniques such as mobilising joints and stretching the muscles and tendons. They’ll also work on improving your posture to move more easily without causing further stress or damage.

Treatment of arthritis is as much about management and advice as it is about hands-on treatment. Your osteopath will work with you to find the best plan to manage your specific pain pattern.

4. Jaw Pain

Jaw pain, or temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction, can be caused by many things, including the misalignment of your jaw. Jaw pain can be excruciating by itself but can also lead to headaches and earaches, affecting your ability to eat and sleep.

Before treating you, an osteopath will assess the position of your jaw as it moves, the tightness in the jaw muscles, and if any clicking or clunking is present while eating. Your osteopath will then determine whether they’ll need to make any changes to improve the alignment of movement as you chew, relax the muscles or refer you to your dentist to check if one of your teeth is causing the problem.

5. Neck Pain

Neck pain is a common complaint and one that osteopaths see frequently. Headaches, upper back pain, and shoulder pain are all symptoms of neck pain. Injury, poor posture, stress, and tightness in the upper back can all cause neck pain.

A good osteopathic treatment will relieve the symptoms of your neck pain by gently releasing tension in soft tissues like muscles, tendons and ligaments. You’ll feel more comfortable, the stress in these tissues decreases, and the blood flow to the area increases.

Many people have chronic or recurrent neck pain due to the strain in their work environment or an ongoing medical condition. For these people, a management plan including treatment to relieve pressure, exercises to strengthen the muscles and advice to decrease stress is the most important for long-term relief.

6. Upper Back Pain

If you have upper back pain, osteopathic treatment can help relieve the symptoms. Osteopathic medicine can release muscle tension in the upper back and neck, which often causes this pain. Upper back pain is incredibly common and can lead to increased stress on the neck and shoulders, causing neck pain, headaches and shoulder pain.

Upper back pain typically stems from stiffness in the joints of the upper back, which may also cause chronic muscle pain. Your osteopath will get your upper back moving and encourage you to keep the area moving weekly with something you enjoy doing.

7. Hip and Pelvic Pain

Inflammation of the muscles in the pelvis, injury to the joints in your hips or spine, arthritis, and other conditions can cause pelvic and hip pain. Regardless of what’s causing your hip or pelvic pain, an osteopath can help you treat it successfully.

When it comes to hip and pelvis pain, balancing the strength of the main muscle groups in the region is essential. Your osteopath will work with you to improve the strength of your hips and pelvis to get long-term pain relief and prevent the problem from reoccurring.

8. Shoulder Pain

Many different things can cause shoulder pain, but it’s essential to know that not all shoulder pain is severe. Many patients ignore annoying nagging pain in the shoulder and wait until it is so bad that it may require surgery! There is a better way of managing your shoulder pain, and your osteopath can hopefully help you avoid surgery.

An osteopath can easily treat shoulder pain caused by overuse or stress. In addition, injury and inflammation of the soft tissues in your shoulders can also cause shoulder pain. The affected area often experiences swelling, redness, and warmth when experiencing this pain. Your osteopath will treat these symptoms and then give you a tailored exercise rehabilitation plan to strengthen your shoulder.

9. Knee Pain

Knee pain is a common problem. If you suffer from knee pain, an osteopath may be able to help you. Many different things, such as arthritis, injuries, torn cartilage, and muscle strains, can cause knee pain. In some cases, bursitis or tendonitis, which are inflammatory conditions that involve the soft tissue in your knees, may also cause knee pain.

Your osteopath will assess to identify what is causing your knee joint pain and use a wide range of techniques to help treat and manage it.

10. Foot and Ankle Pain

The feet are the base of the body, and pain in the feet can cause compensatory movement that may lead to pain in the knee, hip, and lower back.

Overuse, improper footwear, joint dysfunction, or injury are potential causes of foot and ankle pain. An osteopath can help you determine the cause of your foot and ankle pain and suggest treatment options that are appropriate for your condition.

At MPR Health, our healthcare professionals enjoy treating issues affecting the foot and ankle, with some even having a history of working with sports teams.

11. Sports Injuries

A sports injury is any injury that occurs during play or practice of a sporting activity. A sudden impact on the body, repetitive strain and overuse can all cause a sporting injury. Depending on the extent of the injury, they can range from mild to severe. The main symptoms of a sports injury include pain, swelling and tenderness in the affected area, especially during or after the sport in question.

Osteopathy effectively treats sports injuries because it targets all parts of your body that may be weak or injured due to physical activity. For example, if you have frequent knee pain when playing tennis, an osteopath would address any muscular imbalances that affect your knee joints’ stability during movements, like bending down low while hitting a shot. It involves addressing imbalances around your hip joints or back muscles alongside an exercise plan to get your knee strong and stable again.

Like all injuries, mental health is important, but with sporting injuries, it is a particular focus. Often people suffering sports injuries can feel extra frustration due to missing games, losing a sense of their identity, or developing a fear of returning to the sport and risking re-injury. An osteopath’s approach to health and injury management will address all your health concerns, not just the injury.

12. Postural Pain

Poor posture causes postural pain, which is an unfortunate reality of our modern world, but what is ‘poor posture’? We have all seen the pictures of someone slumped over their laptop, flexed forward with their head thrust towards the screen. Although not ideal, this picture doesn’t tell the whole story.

Poor posture can occur in any environment but typically results in repeated stress and strain on a specific body part. It can be more helpful to think of poor posture as an issue of ‘time’. Being in a position for TOO LONG is more of a problem than being in the ‘wrong’ posture.

In our modern world, most patients with postural pain are being affected whilst sitting at their desks. The good news is that the right osteopath can help improve your posture and relieve the chronic pain that comes with it!

The right balance of treating the pain, strengthening the vulnerable areas and managing the ergonomics of the environment gives the best long-term relief.

13. Disc bulge

If you are diagnosed with a disc bulge, don’t worry! Osteopathic care is one of the best forms of treatment for this condition. An injured disc bulging from its normal position is called a ‘disc bulge’. As the disc bulges, it can cause pain and, if severe or large enough, may also impinge the spine’s nerves. This impingement can lead to conditions like sciatica that can be incredibly painful and, if not managed, become chronic.

The treatment for this condition will depend on the severity of your injury, but it can include osteopathic manipulation and exercises designed to strengthen your back muscles.

At MPR Health, disc bulges are one of our favourite things to treat, and we pride ourselves on our effective treatment and management of disc bulges. If you or someone you know has suffered from disc bulges, check out some of our other osteopathy blogs or Instagram content.

14. Bursitis

Bursitis is inflammation of the bursa, which are small fluid-filled sacs that cushion the joints of your body. Overuse or trauma to a joint can irritate the bursa and cause bursitis. Osteopathic manipulation, myofascial release, and pain management techniques help reduce inflammation and pain associated with bursitis.

15. Sciatica

Sciatica affects about 5-10% of people who experience lower back pain. The spinal cord and nerve root compression in the lower back can cause this condition. Osteopathy can help ease pain associated with sciatica by helping the body heal the structure causing pressure on the sciatic nerve. Your osteopath will perform tests to identify the structure causing the pain and tailor treatment and exercise to your specific condition.

16. Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar Fasciitis is one of the most prevalent causes of pain in the heel. It is an inflammation of the plantar fascia, a ligament connecting the heel to the toe. Osteopathic manipulation can help alleviate this condition by reducing pain and swelling in your foot. Often plantar fasciitis will be a chronic issue that keeps coming back. Speak to your osteopath about exercises that can help you manage the pain of plantar fasciitis and increase the strength of the muscles that are meant to support the plantar fascia.

17. Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow, which affects 4-7 per 1000 individuals in Australia, is a painful condition caused by inflammation of the tendons that connect your forearm muscles to your elbow. Osteopathy can help relieve pain and improve flexibility in this area, as well as reduce swelling. Tennis elbow does not only affect people who play tennis but is most commonly seen in people performing tasks like cooking and cleaning around the house. If you have pain in your elbow that just won’t go away, talk to your osteopath today.

What is an osteopathic treatment?

An osteopath is a person who uses hands-on techniques to treat patients. Osteopathic treatment involves gentle, specific movements on different body parts to restore proper mobility, reduce inflammation and relieve pain.

Osteopaths diagnose and treat various conditions that affect bones, muscles, and joints. They also perform manipulative treatments to help improve overall health and well-being by treating the symptoms of an illness or injury and its underlying causes.

An osteopathic examination aims to determine what may be causing your condition by identifying weaknesses in your body’s structure or function that result from poor posture, repetitive motion injuries (such as overuse) or injury. After determining the cause of your condition, an osteopath will develop a tailored plan for you so you can begin to feel better right away!

Who needs osteopathic treatment?

You can receive osteopathic treatment if you:

  • Are in pain, even if it is not directly related to your spine or joints. Pain is an indication that something is wrong somewhere in the body. Osteopathy aims to eliminate that pain by releasing the tension on your muscles, ligaments and other connective tissues.
  • Have a problem that keeps returning after receiving treatment for it. For example, suppose you have had an operation for chronic back pain but find that it returns every time you lift something heavy or bend over for long periods. In that case, osteopathy may help prevent further episodes of this type from occurring again.
  • Want to improve your overall health and well-being by relieving stress caused by stressors such as sitting at your desk all day with bad posture.

How does an osteopath treat you?

An osteopath will examine your spine and joints to see if they have any problems. They can also look for signs of muscle tension or spasms that may be causing you pain. If they find these issues, they will provide treatment options, such as joint manipulation or massaging the affected area. This will be followed by advice to manage the pain and healing and exercises to strengthen the systems involved.

What to Expect in an Osteopath Consultation

Osteopathic consultations are usually very thorough. To begin with, an osteopath will ask you to describe your current symptoms and medical history, including any previous injuries or surgeries that have affected your body.

Next, they’ll examine your posture, muscle tone and strength across the body and affected system. They’ll also look at other parts of the body to see if any tightness or tension could contribute to your pain or the movement pattern causing your issue.

During this time, it’s essential to be honest about what hurts and open-minded about what may be contributing factors. For example: “I’ve been having trouble breathing properly since I got this cough,” or “My lower back has been hurting since I got these new shoes.”

At the end of the consultation, you’ll receive a diagnosis from your osteopath based on their findings during the physical examination and any diagnostic tests or imaging that might need doing, like x-rays or MRI scans.

What to Expect After an Osteopathic Treatment

Your osteopath will explain the treatment plan they’ve put together for you and let you know how often you’ll need to return. Depending on the severity of your condition, you might only need three or four sessions. However, if you’re experiencing chronic pain or have been diagnosed with a disease like arthritis, then it’s likely that your treatment will be ongoing.

What qualifications do osteopaths have?

If you’re considering osteopathy, you may be wondering which level of qualification is right for you. To become an osteopath in Australia, you’ll need to have an undergraduate degree in either human biology or health science plus a two-year Master’s in Osteopathy or a Double Bachelors Degree.

Furthermore, osteopaths in Australia must be registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA).

Techniques Used by Osteopaths

Osteopathic treatment is a hands-on therapy focusing on the body’s musculoskeletal system. It relies on manual manipulation, exercise, and other non-surgical solutions to treat health conditions based on the premise that the body can heal naturally.

Osteopaths often use a variety of techniques when treating their patients, including:

  • Adjusting (or manipulating) joints
  • Stretching
  • Massage
  • Soft tissue therapy
  • Exercise advise & prescription

How to Find an Osteopath Near Me

If you live within the North Shore of Sydney and you’re looking for an osteopath near you to treat your pain or injuries, you don’t need to look any further. Our osteopaths at MPR Health are available 7 days a week and we offer a range of treatments for various musculoskeletal conditions.


Osteopathy is an excellent form of manual medicine and can be used to treat a range of musculoskeletal conditions. If you need an osteopath in Sydney to treat your pain or injuries, we are here to help. Contact us today to learn more about our services or to book an appointment with one of our osteopaths at MPR Health.