Osteopathy… that’s bones, right?

Dr Liam McCambridge
BSc (Clin Sci), MHSc (Osteo)

“So, what do you do for work?” It’s a common enough question for us all, be it at parties, seminars, the local bar or just as part of general chit-chat. Common enough answers include teacher, lawyer, physiotherapist, accountant, nurse, mechanic and a whole host of others. The person that asked the question then knows a little more about you and the conversation goes on, with the second person repeating the initial question. Aaaah, social convention!

When I get asked that question, the enthusiastic reply of “I’m an Osteopath” is generally met with puzzled expressions and the standard line: “So… that’s something to do with bones, right?” I pause, and the explanation begins.


BonesDefinitely nothing to do with that Bones! Image courtesy of buddytv.com


I knew when I became an osteopath that my profession was not as widely known as its younger cousins physiotherapy and chiropractic. I knew that I would have to explain what I do for many years, but I love osteopathy and I really enjoy spreading awareness of what osteopathy is and the benefits it can have for people. And while bones do play a role, it is so much more than that!


From the Land of Opportunity to the Land Down Under

Born in good ol’ mid-west USA in 1872, Dr Andrew Taylor Still found that the medical ‘marvels’ of the time including leeching, arsenic, castor oil and unsanitary surgical practices often caused more harm than good. Using his understanding of the body as a physician, he helped people through the use of musculoskeletal manipulation and surgery. He coined the name ‘Osteopathy’ (Greek: ‘Bone Suffering’) from his belief that the muscles and bones of the body held a lot of responsibility for many ailments.

A.T. StillDr A.T. Still, the founder of osteopathy… with a bone. Image courtesy of https://www.eso.co.uk

Fast-forward 145 years to 2017 and the profession has expanded through the continents to say g’day to Australia. It has also evolved over time, becoming a system of treatment that approaches the body as one whole unit, including, but definitely not limited to bones! Osteopaths address the structure of the body to help it heal and get people back to doing the things they love most. Massage, joint manipulation, stretching, muscle strengthening, injury rehabilitation and ergonomic advice are all in a day’s work for osteopaths. With a good history, assessment, some treatment and advice, osteopaths can help to re-train the body’s muscles and nerves, improve blood flow to the joints, ligaments and muscles, and get the body moving more freely and with less pain.


Osteopathy and Me

I love osteopathy, and I love all the wonderful people I get to meet throughout the course of my day. I see men and women both young and old with back pain, neck pain, arthritis, headaches and jaw pain. I see pregnant women with back and hip pain and new mums with tight shoulders from the many hugs they give. I treat tradies, farmers, miners and office workers, providing preventative lifting and ergonomic advice to help them work. I get to talk to military and veterans, whose battered bodies have served and continue to serve our country with pride. I help rehabilitate injuries of professional sporting stars, weekend heroes, actors and dancers, getting them back to what they love. I see the butcher, the baker, the… well… you know the rhyme! The point is that osteopaths can treat many different people from many different walks of life, with no referral required. Getting to know these people, their stories, and helping them to get moving is one of osteopathy’s greatest pleasures. It is also the reason why I’m proud to say to anyone I meet, “I’m an Osteopath.”

Liam PicThis strapping young osteopath! ­Image courtesy of Liam’s phone

So, if you see me on the street, say hi! Having only recently moved to the wonderful city of Townsville from Melbourne, I’m more than happy to meet new people and learn about this great place. If you walk past the clinic, come and see for yourself what osteopathy is all about. Whether you know a miner with back pain, a teacher with a headache, a footy player with knee problems or a farmer with sore shoulders, you can say “have you tried an osteopath?” Then, when they ask if it is to do with bones, you can refer them to us, and as you have read, they can find out that it’s so much more.


Dr Liam McCambridge is a full-time Osteopath at Townsville Osteopathy, part-time hack golfer and occasional amateur chef who is looking forward to what life in Townsville has to offer. You can find out more about Townsville Osteopathy on our site, and follow Townsville Osteopathy on Facebook and Instagram.

Townsville Banner515 Flinders St, Townsville, QLD, 4810
0437 676 730

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