Whether you are a weekend warrior or an elite athlete, your osteopath can help prevent and treat many sporting injuries 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. Using skilled evaluation, diagnosis and a wide range of hands-on techniques, osteopaths can identify important types of dysfunction in the body. Osteopathic treatment uses techniques such as stretching and massage for general treatment of the soft tissues (muscles, tendons and ligaments) along with mobilisation of specific joints and soft tissues. Australian osteopaths are government registered practitioners who complete a minimum of five years' university training in anatomy, physiology, pathology, general medical diagnosis and osteopathic techniques. Osteopaths are primary healthcare practitioners and are trained to recognise conditions that require medical referral. They are also trained to perform standard medical examinations of the musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, respiratory and nervous systems. Osteopathy is covered by most private health funds and by Medicare's Chronic Disease Management (CDM) Plans. Osteopaths are registered providers for DVA patients, workers’ compensation schemes and motor accident insurers. Most people, regardless of age or gender, will suffer from back or neck pain, headaches, sport injuries, stiffness or pain at some stage. Osteopaths can help to identify the cause of the pain or injury and develop a safe and effective course of action to manage health issues – so people can make the most of their active lives. Osteopathy is not an alternative health option – osteopaths are university trained, government registered, allied health professionals. Osteopaths collectively treat over 50 000 people a week, generate over $250 million in the economy. Osteopathy has been practiced for over 100 years in Australia.