Summer Diet Plan

Osteopaths & Weight Loss

Osteopaths and weight loss

Of all the excuses people use not to lose weight, the only one I have sympathy for is when someone can't exercise because of injury. Having experienced this myself, I know it can be frustrating when you want to exercise but can't.

Having said that, I believe that in the majority of cases, most injuries can be worked around so that at least some form of calorie burning exercise is possible with the right kind of help. That's where Osteopaths come in.

What is an Osteopath?

Osteopaths practice Osteopathy, which is a form of drug free, manual medicine, which focuses on total body health by treating and strengthening the musculoskeletal framework, and through this, balancing the body's nervous, circulatory and lymphatic systems.

Osteopaths help people maintain good health for life by not only treating the immediate problem but also providing advice on things like diets, exercise, stress reduction, posture and breathing that will help prevent future injury and pain caused from daily life.

Osteopaths also encourage individuals to proactively prevent their injuries and ailments, which in the long term leads to better overall health.

What injuries and ailments do Osteopaths treat?

In adults and teenagers, Osteopaths can help us overcome:

  • Back and Shoulder pain
  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Menstrual pain
  • Headaches
  • Pregnancy related ailments
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Diet problems
  • Sporting injuries
  • Migraines
  • Digestive problems
  • Symptoms of the Common Cold

These are only a few examples of the health conditions osteopaths can treat and according to the Australian Osteopathic Association, last year alone Australian osteopaths provided over one million treatments for conditions as diverse as colic, back and neck pain, asthma, arthritis, and migraines.

Because many ailments can be relieved within three to four treatments, Osteopaths may be able to get those of us who want to exercise more but can't because of injury or illness back on track quickly.

Let's have a closer look at the most common ailments preventing us from exercising and see how Osteopaths can help.

Back Pain

Back pain affects 80% of Australians at some point in their lives and is a very common reason that people don't exercise.

Osteopaths can often help overcome back pain because they are "back experts".

Osteopathy treats the body's musculoskeletal components (joints, muscles and spine) through gentle hands on techniques such as soft tissue stretching and massage, deep tactile pressure, and the mobilisation and manipulation of joints.

Apart from pain relief, osteopathy has other benefits for the bad back sufferer. The manipulation and mobilisation performed in treatment positively affects the nervous, circulatory and lymphatic systems, to deliver a better balanced body and better health overall.

Back pain has lots of causes from injury in a work or recreational accident; muscular spasms or a disease like scoliosis; through to the weight of a pregnancy or decreased flexibility with age.

Back ache can also be a secondary effect of hip, knee or foot problems or can come from simple causes like bad posture, a jerky sudden movement, a lumpy mattress or poor lifting techniques.

Osteopaths will do more than offer treatment. They will devise an ongoing management programme to prevent recurrence, and advise on diet, exercise, posture and breathing to ensure long term relief.


People of all ages can suffer from arthritis symptoms including stiffness and swelling in the joints, pain in the lower back, neck, arms and hips or restricted mobility of the body.

For a drug free alternative to treating the painful effects of arthritis, people with these symptoms often visit an osteopath and receive a gentle non-invasive treatment for the body's joints and muscles.

Arthritis causes the body's joints to become stiff, sore, fragile and less flexible, and osteopaths work in conjunction with GP's to ease the effects of the disease on the body.

Osteopaths help improve joint mobility through the following techniques:

  • Soft tissue massage to increase blood flow to the joints
  • Manual techniques such as gentle mobilisation of the joints
  • Indirect release and manipulative techniques
  • Posture and structure alignment of joints, to minimise wear and tear on joints

Osteopathy doesn't aim to replace arthritis medication; it acts as a complementary therapy.


Osteopaths help asthma sufferers breathe a little easier.

One in four primary school children and one in ten adults in Australia suffer from asthma and whilst sufferers look to medication to ease the effects of asthma, an osteopath can provide an extra helping hand to enable the body to breathe easier.

People with asthma have highly sensitive airways. Through various triggers, these airways can become constricted, inflamed and full of mucous, and the muscles surrounding the airways can tighten, making it hard to breathe.

Osteopathy does not aim to replace asthma medication but to work with the body's natural systems to "free up" the body's breathing mechanisms.

The treatment works on all aspects of the breathing mechanisms, including the ribs, spine, diaphragm and other muscles of breathing; nerve supply to the chest; and the blood supply to the bronchii and lungs.

As well as working on the breathing mechanisms of the body, an osteopath will also recommend preventative measures such as appropriate breathing exercises and diets for asthma sufferers of all ages.

Migraines and Headaches

Common symptoms of exercise preventing headaches include:

  • Dull pain on both sides of the head
  • Tightening of neck muscles
  • A stuffy head, with pain above or behind the eyes or on either side of the nose
  • Throbbing pain or ache on one side of the head

The most common causes of these headache symptoms are:

  1. Neck and back pain
  2. History of neck injury - e.g. whiplash
  3. Stress and tension in the body
  4. Poor posture
  5. Jaw misalignment (following dental work)
  6. Eyestrain (especially from a computer screen)
  7. Sinus problems

Osteopaths help treat headaches by:

  • Improving mobility of the body's joints, muscles and tissues - especially in the neck
  • Reducing muscular tension and nerve irritation
  • Improving blood supply and drainage to and from the head and neck
  • Helping prevent future headaches by providing advice on posture & stretching for the neck & back
  • Offering advice on ways to relieve stress


Most people know the keys to successful long term weight management are leading an active lifestyle, which includes both aerobic and resistance exercise, and eating a healthy diet. So why aren't more of us successful at losing weight? One reason is that too many of us use excuses instead of doing what we should.

If one of the reasons that you don't exercise more is back and shoulder pain, arthritis, asthma, menstrual pain, headaches or migraines, pregnancy or post-pregnancy related ailments, chronic fatigue, diet problems, sporting injuries, digestive problems or even symptoms of the common cold, visiting your local osteopath could be just what you need to help you take another step towards becoming a happier, healthier you.

Copyright Ultimate Weightloss.

This article was written by Scott Haywood.

Scott is the editor of Scott has developed an expertise in fitness and nutrition, and their roles in weight loss, which led him to launch in 2005. Today, provides weight loss and fitness information, including hundreds of healthy recipes, weight loss tools and tips, articles, and more, to millions of people around the world, helping them to lead happier, healthier, lives.

You can follow Scott on Google+ for more interesting articles.

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