Ankle Sprain

An ankle sprain involves damage to the ankle ligaments, typically sustained during simple sudden traumatic incidents, such as rolling or twisting the ankle.

The ligaments on the outside (lateral aspect) of the ankle are much more susceptible to injury than the inside (medial aspect), and can produce pain, swelling, bruising and a sense of instability.

Prompt assessment and management is essential in the first 24 to 48 hours, namely following the RICER regime and precautionary X-ray to rule out bony fracture, if indicated.

Your osteopath may assist in the rehabilitation of an ankle sprain with the following treatment options:
  • Soft tissue treatment of the ligament scar tissue to promote optimal stability and range of motion.
  • Active and passive mobility exercises to restore normal range of motion to the foot and ankle complex.
  • Balancing exercises to re-strengthen the receptors housed in the ligament that provide stability and improve position sense (proprioception).
  • Your osteopath can organise and assist with braces/strapping products if required for more vigorous exercise.
It is also important to consider the various predisposing factors that may have caused the injury in the first place. This may include:
  • Poor foot/ankle mechanics, i.e a stiff ankle joint will tend to make the ligaments work harder
  • Poor footwear
  • Joint restrictions and muscle tightness in the lumbo-pelvic region and/or lower limb
  • A leg length discrepancy which may be overloading one particular ankle.

Your osteopath may also refer you to a GP for any additional medications or treatment.


Arthritis is common condition that can affect people of all ages. Arthritis affects the muscles, bones and joints and usually involves inflammation of one or more joints.

The symptoms of arthritis are pain and swelling in the joints and surrounding tissues. This is often accompanied by stiffness and decreased movement.

Osteopaths may help arthritis sufferers by:
  • Working on the surrounding muscles to reduce stiffness and soreness.
  • Improving lymphatic drainage to reduce swelling.
  • Gently moving and stretching the arthritic joint to encourage better fluid movement.
  • Providing advice on ways to reduce inflammation.
There are 4 common forms of arthritis:
  • Osteoarthritis: caused by wear and tear on joints
  • Rheumatoid arthritis: an autoimmune disease that causes pain and inflammation in joints
  • Gout: caused by a build-up of uric acid in the bloodstream
  • Ankylosing spondylitis: inflammation of the spine and pelvis

Your osteopath may also refer you to a GP for any additional medications or treatment.

Back & Neck Pain

80% of the population will suffer from back pain at some time. Studies show that osteopathic treatment reduces back pain, increases mobility and speeds the recovery process.

Your osteopath can assist you to develop the course of action consistent with your lifestyle, symptoms and goals to manage your back and neck pain.

Your osteopath may:
  • work on joint mobility
  • work on muscular tension, inflammation and nerve irritation
  • investigate blood supply and drainage to and from the spine and pelvis
  • reduce the duration of low back pain and help prevent future episodes
  • offer advice on posture, exercises and stretching
  • provide advice on improving your ergonomic environment
  • provide guidance on diet, hydration and exercise
  • communicate and plan treatmnet with your GP
  • refer you for radiological assessment when required
  • provide care funded by workers compensation schemes and traffic accident shemes.

Osteopaths can be visited without a referral from a GP and are trained to know the difference between uncomplicated back pain and back pain requiring referral to specialist care. In some cases there may be a more serious cause for low back pain such as disc injury, fracture, tumour and infection, which requires ongoing specialist support.

Common causes of back and neck pain:
  • extensive sitting or standing
  • heavy lifting
  • injury
  • changes during pregnancy
  • constipation, irritable bowel
  • endometriosis
  • menstrual pain
  • insufficient flexibility
  • muscle weakness
  • dysfunction in the thorax, lower limbs and pelvis.


Bursitis is an inflammatory condition of the bursa. The bursa is a fluid filled sack that sits between bones, tendons or ligaments when they come into contact with each other.

A bursa prevents these structures from rubbing on each other. Bursitis is often related to overuse of a particular joint, or where there is excess tension on a specific area over a long period of time. Bursitis can also be caused by a fall or car accident. This can instantly cause inflammation.

An osteopath will diagnose bursitis after a full medical history and conducting a full orthopaedic and musculoskeletal examination. They will then look at the area to see if there are any muscles, ligaments, tendons or joints that are aggravating the bursa. Your osteopath will help to relieve the pressure on these joints and on the bursa by using hands-on manual techniques.

This will often start the healing process and the inflammation can reduce. If your osteopath notes any related muscle imbalance or weakness, they will give you exercises to address this issue. Your osteopath may refer you for an x-ray or ultra-sound. Your osteopath may refer you to a GP or pharmacist for anti-inflammatory medication.

The symptoms associated with bursitis can include:
  • pain
  • inflammation
  • swelling
  • restricted range of motion of a joint
  • warm or red skin overlying the affected area.
The most common areas within the body that can be affected by bursitis are:
  • Shoulder joint: often caused by the impingement of surrounding muscles resulting in a painful shoulder with reduced range of motion.
  • Hip joint: There are two common areas of bursitis: on the side of the hip and in the buttock area.
  • Knees: Inflammation of the area just just below the kneecap.
  • Bursitis is also common in the elbows, wrists and ankles.

Elbow Pain

Elbow pain often occurs due to a variety of sports and occupations that involve repeated pressure on the muscles and tendons near the elbow joint.

This pressure can cause the muscles to become strained and tendons to become inflamed. You will often notice the pain when using your wrist or hand.

Your osteopath will work with you to determine the cause of your pain and decide on a course of treatment.

Common elbow injuries include:
  • tennis elbow
  • golfers elbow
  • radial head ligament sprains
  • ulnar nerve entrapment.
Symptoms of elbow pain: 
  • weak grip
  • pain when twisting the wrist
  • constant dull ache, worse at night
  • sharp pain when moving the elbow joint.
Osteopaths may help your elbow pain by:
  • treating the area with manual therapy
  • providing advice on wearing brace support
  • applying sports taping
  • providing information and advice on taking anti-inflammatories
  • referring you to a GP for further investigation if needed.

Foot Pain

Painful feet are very debilitating. Pain in the heel area is especially common and may be associated with a heel (calcaneal) spur.

Our feet are made up of a series of small bones, known as the tarsal bones. These tarsal bones, starting from the heel (calcaneus) form an arch, which is supported by a strong band of sinew (plantar fascia) stretching across the sole of the foot below the surface of the skin.

We use our feet all the time and this fascia causes constant tugging on the attachment point into the bone, and inflammation and pain may develop at this site. This painful condition is known as plantar fasciitis.

Sometimes a sharp 'spur' develops at the site of this traction on the bone and protrudes into the surrounding tissue. But the pain is usually due to the plantar fasciitis, rather than the heel spur itself.
Inadequate arch support from poor footwear is the most common cause of plantar fasciitis. As the arch is collapsing the plantar fascia is placed under great stress and often other muscles of the foot and lower leg are utilised to help stabilise. The result is marked joint restriction and muscular tension with pain in the foot and lower leg.

Osteopaths will not only advise you on appropriate footwear and exercises but will work to increase the joint range of motion and flexibility of muscles in the feet and lower leg. In some situations use of heel cups and arch supports may be beneficial.


The most common type of headache originates from tension, muscle stiffness or joint strain in the neck and upper thoracic region.

Other causes include:
  • eye strain
  • sinus congestion
  • whiplash injury
  • stress
  • poor posture
  • jaw imbalance and teeth grinding
  • infection
  • allergies and food intolerances.
Depending on you presentation an osteopath may:
  • work on your general mobility
  • improve the mobility of your ribs and thoracic and cervical spine
  • investigate muscular tension, nerve compression and inflammation
  • advise on posture, exercise and stretching to help prevent a recurrence of symptoms
  • offer guidance on diet and preventing dehydration
  • advise on improving the ergonomics of your home or workplace.

Osteopaths, as primary health care practitioners, are trained to differentiate between headaches with common causes and those due to serious pathology. You should always seek advice from a health professional, including an osteopath, if you get a headache after a head trauma and/or the headache is getting worse.

You should also seek professional advice if the headache is accompanied by:
  • fever
  • nausea or vomiting
  • bleeding or fluid draining from the nose or ears
  • dizziness
  • blurred vision or speech
  • numbness, tingling or paralysis.
Did you know?
  • headaches are one of the most common medical complaints. A headache is rarely caused by serious underlying disease.
  • your osteopath may be able to assist with treatments that reduce the need for headache medications.
  • your osteopath is a primary health care practitioner with the training and skills to assess your complaint and develop the most effective course of action (including referral when clinically indicated).
  • your osteopath can assess structural changes that may lead to immobility, pain and dysfunction. Your osteopath will perform a thorough physical examination, including observation and palpation, to form a diagnosis and treatment plan.
If you get regular headaches, try keeping a headache diary

If you experience headaches regularly, keeping a headache diary can help identify these triggers and ultimately help them avoid them. A headache diary allows you to record important details about your headaches, such as symptoms, frequency and other. This diary will provide your osteopath with important information.

Hip & Groin Pain

Hip pain can be caused by a number of injuries or conditions. The most common cause of hip pain is inflamed tendons.

Hip and groin pain can be related to a range of muscle or joint problems or it could be referred pain from your lower back.

Your osteopath will analyse your lower back and lower limb movement to help determine the cause of your pain. Because the hip is the centre of movement between the upper and lower parts of the body, it can easily be affected by poor movement control, posture or exercise.

Hip joint pain is often caused by a sitting position, landing awkwardly, certain sports, a sedentary lifestyle or arthritis. Hip joints can become sore when are held in a fixed position for a long time, or repeatedly moved into an uncomfortable position.

Minor and short term pain

Muscle pain often occurs in people who perform repeated sideways movements such as soccer players, dancers and AFL players. Many minor conditions can be painful but usually heal within a few days.

For muscular pain, your osteopath will look at the other muscles around your hip and groin to understand the cause of your discomfort.

Long term pain

Longer-term pain may be caused arthritis or bursitis. If pain is caused by arthritis your osteopath can help but may also suggest you see a GP for any additional medications or treatment.

Your osteopath will work with you to improve your posture, discuss the way you move or why you may be experiencing hip problems.

Joints & Flexibility

Muscular flexibility and joint range of motion are taken for granted by most people and rarely a major focus in fitness and training regimes, yet they are the major precursor to injury and a limiting factor to sporting performance.

To help explain this statement consider why the average golfer cannot play a consistent 18 holes or why a thinly built teenager can drive a ball further than a stocky stronger man? Many golfers will know the answer is 'timing' i.e contacting the ball with the sweet spot of the club head at the optimal speed. 'Timing' is heavily reliant on smooth, coordinated joint motion and hence any resistance from tight muscles and stiff joints is going to effect the timing of the swing. Which is why some golfers improve as they get warmer, others decline as they stiffen up, and a younger more flexible person can connect better with the ball than a stronger but less flexible person.

These same principles can be applied to all sports and explain why not only a more flexible person can perform longer and more consistently but why a less flexible person pushing them self to a high level is at great risk of injury.

Osteopaths use a variety of 'hands on' treatment techniques to improve your muscular flexibility and joint range of motion and they will assess and treat not only the area of pain but all those related regions which may have predisposed to the injury or are being affected by it. The benefit of seeing an Osteopath for a sporting injury is that they will identify the cause of the injury, which not only aids full recovery but also greatly reduces the risk of re-occurrence.

The most common sporting injuries our Osteopaths treat and manage are:
  • Ankle Ligament sprains/tears
  • Shoulder tendonitis/impingement
  • Knee ligament and tendon injuries
  • Muscle strains/tears
  • Chronic Hip/Groin/Hamstring injuries
  • Rehabilitation of knee/ankle/shoulder reconstruction and arthroscopes

Osteopaths will generally prescribe for you the appropriate exercises to maintain joint range of motion and muscular flexibility and where required the relevant strengthening exercises also.

Knee Pain

Knee pain can be caused by a range of factors and can be painful and debilitating.

Some people worry that their knee pain will result in the need for surgery. Often this is not the case. Knee trauma is common from falls and collisions however most knee pain is due to altered muscle mechanics, often involving the kneecap.

Osteopaths will determine the cause of your knee pain and most importantly help you correct the mechanics of your knee and other joints so that you can move around with confidence and comfort. If need be, your osteopath will refer you for further medical assessment.

Further information on knee pain

Most knee pain is due to altered joint and muscle mechanics particularly of the kneecap (patellofemoral joint).

The kneecap slides up and down on the cartilage surface of the thigh bone and is enveloped by the thigh muscles (quadriceps). The main action of the kneecap is to increase the leverage of the thigh muscles and increase power and range of knee extension.

If the kneecap is not sliding evenly in this groove, pain is highly likely to occur, especially when the thigh muscles are contracting (e.g squatting, walking up and down stairs, running). This is usually a gradual occurrence and explains why people may experience episodes of swelling after these activities.

The patellofemoral joint is reliant on flexibility and strength of the thigh muscles. If the muscles on the outer thigh are tighter and stronger, the kneecap will be pulled toward the outside of the joint surface. This is a common occurrence as the muscles of the outer thigh and buttocks are used whenever we weightbear and gradually become tighter and tighter. If this tension is not released (particularly by stretching) the kneecap will continue to be pulled off centre increasing the likelihood of patella tendonitis, bursitis and ultimately arthritis of the knee joint.

Further contributing factors to the kneecap moving off centre include:
  • Wasting of inner thigh muscles (often after previous injury).
  • Feet rolling inward due to unsupported arches and poor footwear.
  • Wider hips (especially females) increase the angle of thigh muscles.
  • Legs bowing inward (knock knees) increase the angle of thigh muscles.

Musculoskeletal Injuries

Musculoskeletal conditions are the leading cause of disability in Australia Arthritis is the major cause of disability and chronic pain in Australia.

3.85 million Australians are affected at a cost to our economy of more than $23.9 billion each year in medical care and indirect costs such as loss of earnings and lost production. According to the Global Burden of Disease estimates, low back pain is ranked first in Australasia (including Australia and New Zealand), compared to sixth in the world. Neck pain is ranked 10th compared to 21st in the world, and osteoarthritis is ranked 23rd compared to 38th in the world. 28% of Australians have arthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions.

Arthritis is a common condition that can affect people of all ages. Arthritis affects the muscles, bones and joints and usually involves inflammation of one or more joints. The symptoms of arthritis are pain and swelling in the joints and surrounding tissues. This is often accompanied by stiffness and decreased movement.

There are 4 common forms of arthritis:
  • Osteoarthritis: caused by wear and tear on joints
  • Rheumatoid arthritis: an autoimmune disease that causes pain and inflammation in joints
  • Gout: caused by a build-up of uric acid in the bloodstream
  • Rheumatologically or auto immune types of arthritis, such as ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, lupus and others.

According to Australia’s Health report people with arthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions were more likely than the overall population to also report the following:

  • limitations in performing core activities
  • high or very high psychological distress mental disorders.

Osteopathy can be one of the possible treatments for patients suffering from arthritis. Osteopathy is a form of manual healthcare which recognises the important link between the structure of the body and the way it functions. Osteopaths focus on how the skeleton, joints, muscles, nerves, circulation, connective tissue and internal organs function as a holistic unit.

Osteopaths can help arthritis sufferers by:
  • Working on the surrounding muscles to reduce stiffness and soreness.
  • Improving lymphatic drainage to reduce swelling.
  • Gently moving and stretching the arthritic joint to encourage better fluid movement.
  • Providing advice on ways to reduce inflammation. 

Pelvic Pain

Pelvic pain can be caused by a wide variety of conditions. Osteopaths can help with pain caused by trauma or repetitive strain.

Muscles from the abdomen and lower limbs attach to the pelvis and overuse or over exertion of these regions can result in pelvic injury and pain.

Your osteopath will work with you to determine the cause of your pain and decide on a course of treatment.

Common pelvic injuries include:
  • Osteiitis Pubis: inflammation of the pubic bone
  • Sacroiliac joint pain and inflammation
  • Pelvic instability with pregnancy
  • Inguinal hernia
Symptoms of pelvic pain may include:
  • localised pain and tenderness on the pubic bone
  • pain on abdominal contraction e.g coughing, turning in bed, bearing down or when going to the toilet
  • groin pain
  • pain in the buttocks and down the back of the leg.
Osteopaths may help your pelvic pain by:
  • improving muscular flexibility in the region
  • improving joint range of motion in the low back, hips and pelvis
  • maintaining correct alignment of the lower back and pelvis
  • providing advice on maintaining flexibility and strength around the pelvis.

Your osteopath may also suggest you see a GP for any additional medications or treatment.

Osteopathy & Pregnancy

During pregnancy, a woman’s body undergoes numerous changes, both hormonally and structurally.

Early stages of pregnancy may be associated with symptoms such as nausea, morning sickness, headache, dizziness and fatigue. As the pregnancy progresses, the extra weight creates a shift in the body’s centre of gravity (forward weight carriage), an alteration of the spinal curves and relaxation and softening of the muscles and supporting ligaments of the body. These changes may cause an increase in mechanical stress to the musculoskeletal system, resulting in pain and discomfort.

The most common complaints associated with pregnancy include:
  • Lower back and buttock pain.
  • Sciatica (leg pain).
  • Neck, shoulder and middle back pain.
  • Headaches.
  • Pelvic girdle instability.
  • Sacro-iliac Joint pain.
  • Pubic symphysis pain.
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
  • Pelvic floor weakness and incontinence.
  • Poor abdominal tone.
Is it safe to have osteopathic treatment during pregnancy?

Absolutely! The osteopathic techniques used to treat a pregnant woman are both gentle and carefully selected to ensure that the mother-to-be is comfortable at all times.

Should I have an osteopathic treatment following the birth of my newborn?

Many new mothers receive osteopathic treatment following the birth of their newborn in order to correct the body imbalances that may be present, particularly to the pelvis, lower back and mid back region. Ask your osteopath when it would be appropriate to commence your osteopathic treatment following the delivery of your newborn.


Sciatica is a painful syndrome caused by compression or irritation of the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve runs deep through the buttock and down the leg.

Sciatica can range from a dull ache to an incapacitating pain. Symptoms may be constant or intermittent, depending on activities or time of day.

Osteopathy can be useful in relieving the symptoms of sciatica

Osteopaths will usually conduct a full musculoskeletal and orthopaedic examination to find the true underlying cause of the sciatica. Osteopaths treat the related joints, muscles, ligaments or tendons to reduce the pressure on the sciatic nerve.

Sciatica can often resolve quickly with the appropriate management and self-care.

Symptoms of sciatica may include the following:
  • pain in the buttock or down the leg
  • numbness
  • muscular weakness
  • pins and needles or tingling
  • difficulty moving or controlling the leg.
The pain associated with sciatica can be caused by a number of underlying conditions. These may include:
  • herniated (bulging) disc in the lower back
  • bony growths on the spine
  • arthritis in the low back or hip
  • tight muscles in the buttock or trauma to the lower back
  • pregnancy, due to changes in the pelvis and lower back.

Osteopathy & Seniors

Ageing is a natural physiological process in life. One part of the body which is greatly affected by the process of ageing is the musculoskeletal system.

As we get older, the elasticity present within our body deteriorates, which increases the risk of injuring the soft tissues and bony structures of the body.

The effects of ageing on the body’s structure give rise to symptoms, including:
  • Generalised early morning stiffness and reduced mobility.
  • Lower back pain and stiffness.
  • Neck, shoulder, arm or hand pain.
  • Hip, knee and foot pain.
  • Arthritic pain and joint swelling.

However gentle osteopathic treatment, consisting of soft tissue massage, articulation and stretching, can be used to relieve these distressing symptoms.

Furthermore, osteopathy can also help with:
  • Rehabilitation following surgery/replacement (for example: back, hip or knee).
  • Keeping shoulders, hands and wrists mobile for tasks of daily living, including cooking, writing and driving.
  • Avoiding or delaying the need for surgery.
  • Exercise prescription

Shoulder Pain

Shoulder pain has become extremely common over recent years as a result of frequent computer and smartphone usage and increased sedentary lifestyle.

Shoulder pain is often very complex. As a result, shoulder injuries can be more difficult to treat.

Your osteopath will work with you to determine the cause of your pain and decide on a course of treatment.

Common Shoulder injuries include:
  • rotator cuff tears
  • tendonitis
  • shoulder impingement (Subacromial bursitis) – when shoulder tendons are trapped and compressed during shoulder movements
  • frozen shoulder (Adhesive Capsulitis) – when the shoulder capsule swells and stiffens, restricting mobility
  • postural tension
  • referred pain
Symptoms of shoulder pain may include:
  • 'catching' sensation when raising the arm or reaching
  • sharp pain when moving your arm
  • weakness in your arm or grip
  • throbbing and aching in shoulder whilst sleeping
  • pain radiating down the arm
  • neck and shoulder stiffness
Osteopaths may help your shoulder pain by:
  • improving muscular flexibility in the shoulder area
  • improving range of joint motion in the mid back, neck, shoulder blade and shoulder
  • addressing postural strains and bad habits
  • providing advice on maintaining flexibility and strength around the shoulder region
  • providing exercises for stretching and rehabilitation

Your osteopath may also refer you to a GP for any additional medications or treatment.

Sports Injuries

Give yourself a sporting chance with osteopathy. Whether you are an elite athlete or you run around the park once in a while for general fitness, your osteopath may help prevent and treat many sporting injuries.

Commonly treated injuries include:
  • neck and back strains
  • shoulder, elbow and wrist injuries
  • hip and pelvic injuries
  • knee, leg and ankle injuries.

Reduced joint or muscle flexibility will affect your performance. It may result in injury. If you do become injured, your osteopath is highly trained to facilitate a return to optimal function and prevent compensatory strains from occuring. This aims to minimise re-injury and allow a quicker return to physical activity.

Osteopathic treatment involves manual techniques, including soft tissue stretching, mobilisation, inhibition and manipulation. These techniques assist in improving elasticity, strength, endurance, mobility and performance.

Sports and children

Children need to grow with optimal mobility, strength and balance. Sport and exercise can place exceptional demands on their bodies. Children should be cared for by professionals who are fully aware of the needs of young growing bodies.

Before treating your child, the osteopath may perform a comprehensive physical examination and refer to other health care professionals if necessary. The osteopath can provide nutritional advice along with strategies, exercises and routines to help your child avoid further injury and stay healthy, happy and active.

Using Mobile Devices & Computers

Australians are increasingly experiencing back and neck pain due to prolonged use of mobile devices and computers.

Australians send more than 20 billion texts every year and spend more time in front of a screen than they do asleep. Shockingly, the average number of screen‐time hours has crept up to 9 per day and is affecting posture, comfort and quality of life. A recent study found that 70% of adults and 30% children and adolescents in Hong Kong reported musculoskeletal pain in relation to their use of electronic devices. These figures reflect a similar trend in Australia where more than 11.2 million use smartphones. Device related back pain is a growing trend worldwide.

The direct cost of back and neck pain to Australians is over $1 billion each year. Indirectly, this pain costs $8 billion as a consequence of lost productivity and disability.

Mobile device use results in many Australians spending hours hunched over a small screen or slumped on a couch or bed, causing muscular tightness and joint restriction of their upper back, neck and shoulders. Extended periods looking down or slouching often result in conditions like headaches, shoulder impingement and neck pain. Hunching the shoulders is even more problematic in children and teenagers as their spine is still developing. Poor posture caused by prolonged device use may cause permanent postural problems heading to potential complications later in life.

Osteopaths are experienced and qualified to assist with these musculoskeletal and postural problems. Osteopaths will work with your to reduce muscular tension, inflammation and nerve irritation; improve joint mobility; reduce the duration of low back pain episodes; offer advice on posture, exercises and stretching and help prevent future episodes.

Workplace Injuries

Are you fit for work? Workplace injuries account for many millions of working days lost each year.

No matter whether your work is in the office or outside on the land you need to be able to cope with the individual demands made on your body by the style of work you do. Manual work inevitably carries the inherent risk of injury caused by heavy and often awkward lifting, overstretching, and periods of prolonged bending causing back and disc injuries, sciatica, and muscle strains.

In the office where desk work is more common, there are the dangers of 'computer hump' and 'mouse wrist', whilst frequent telephone use affects the neck and shoulders causing headaches and carpal tunnel syndrome* etc.

Those who drive for a living need to be aware of their driving position as it affects not only their back, neck and shoulders but also can affect hips, knees and feet. Ask an osteopath for advice on the correct driving position for you and any exercises which may help.