Osteopaths: A Vital Role to Play in Aged Care

Tyler Burrowes - Osteopath, Shared Services Consultant - Vivir Healthcare

Tyler Burrowes - Osteopath, Shared Services Consultant - Vivir Healthcare

22 October 2021

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Choosing an Osteopath to play an active role in the care and support of an older family member can significantly improve their happiness, wellbeing, and treatment outcomes.

What can Osteopaths offer patients?

Osteopaths receive a minimum of five years of Tertiary education in Anatomy, Physiology, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Rehabilitation. Furthermore, Osteopaths are trained to recognise patterns in movement, posture, and activities of daily living that may cause pain or altered motion over weeks, months, or years. This unique perspective and desire to bring set and achieve new goals makes Osteopaths a great option to aid in one’s journey.

Case Study: The Rehabilitation Journey

Following a serious fall at home, Josette* was discharged from hospital into a residential aged care facility in December 2020. When Josette arrived at her new home, she was assessed by an Occupational Therapist for a new walking frame. Whilst undergoing the fitting of her walking frame, Josette explained that prior to her fall she’d experienced knee and ankle pain, which had led to her developing a limp, which she attributed to losing her balance during her fall.

Josette’s Occupational Therapist referred her to an Osteopath within their facility for entry into the Pain Management Program and to assess her suitablity for additional one-to-one Osteopathic services under Vivir’s On-Call program.


The Osteopath’s assessment included a detailed medical history assessment including:

  • A review of her X-Rays

  • A post-hospital discharge plan

  • A lower-limb neurological examination

  • A balance screening

  • An orthopaedic examination of her ankle, knee and lower back

The Osteopath discovered Josette’s history of ankle pain had led to muscular atrophy on the lateral side of her ankle, and hypertrophy on her contralateral (opposite) hamstring.

During Josette’s orthopaedic lower back examination her Osteopath discovered she had a history of untreated lower back pain, which had been due to a nerve root impingement and disc herniation in her lower back, and led to increased muscle contracture and sensitivity in her thigh. This diagnosis also explained the worsening of her existing limp. Josette was re-assessed by her Osteopath upon each visit and goals were reviewed and reset every week.


Through a tailored treatment plan over the course of eight weeks, that consisted of:

  • Gentle knee articulation

  • Soft tissue massage

  • Stretching and conditioning exercises targeting muscular imbalance and previously untreated back pain

Josette’s treatment plan was supported by:

  1. Post-hip-surgery rehabilitation from her hospital-physiotherapist

  2. Vivir’s Pain Management program

  3. A custom-prescribed walking frame from Vivir’s Occupational Therapist


Josette was able to regain her mobility over the course of three months. She was able to walk with significantly less pain and tie her shoe-laces, a goal she begun working toward during week three of her treatment plan.

Josette's Osteopath played a vital role in supporting rehabilitation ensuring that she received tailored care specific to her needs.

For more information on how Vivir’s Osteopath’s can help you please contact us.

*Some names have been changed to protect the identity of the individuals

Want to learn how Physiotherapists can support your journey to recovery? Read about Viktor's rehabilitation journey here.