Exercise-based Rehabilitation

Exercise-based rehabilitation is a unique focus in osteopathy. It uses movement and movement instruction, often with limited manual therapy, to enhance physical capacity or movement in patients who:

  • Have sustained an injury

  • Have undergone recent surgery

  • Have a chronic illness or injury

  • Are seeking recovery and improvement to their general health and wellbeing

  • Have experienced loss of normal functional ability.

Exercise rehabilitative osteopaths develop programs either for individuals or groups. Programs aim to restore patient functionality to pre-injury capacity or adjust patients to life with a chronic illness or injury. Exercise rehabilitative osteopaths may provide exercise-based interventions in private practice, other healthcare settings or within communities.

An assessment performed by an exercise rehabilitative osteopath may include the following clinical components: 

  • Identification of your lifestyle, functional goals and requirements in partnership with you

  • Movement based assessment using physical tests. It involves an assessment of your body and how it moves to identify your strengths or imbalances that may impact your ability to perform daily activities, live your preferred lifestyle, or meet your functional goals

  • Assessment of resting blood pressure and heart rate, body composition, strength, control, balance, cardiorespiratory fitness, muscular fitness and ability to perform specific functional tasks

  • Identification of factors that may have contributed to any loss of your normal function through a discussion of your history.

An exercise rehabilitative osteopath will involve you in developing an exercise program that meets your assessed needs and assists in building your physical and mental resilience. It means you will: 

  • Be involved in selecting an exercise setting or settings that meet your individual requirements

  • Be engaged in selecting exercise techniques from a range of appropriate exercises determined by the exercise rehabilitative osteopath

  • Receive advice about how to apply prescribed exercises with correct technique to avoid aggravation or exposure to further injury.

After you start an exercise program, an exercise rehabilitative osteopath will review how well your clinical exercise program meets your needs. They will reassess changes to your function before, during and after an exercise program has been applied. Adjustments to your exercise program may be recommended.

Exercise rehabilitative osteopaths understand treatment options that may work in combination with exercise-based programs. They have links with other health practitioners, as well as with wellbeing program providers. They regularly give referrals to and work with medical practitioners, psychologists, exercise physiologists and other health professionals, as well as fitness programs like personal training, cross fit, yoga and pilates.

Osteopathy Australia's Clinical Practice Group (CPG) in exercise-based rehabilitation exists to recognise osteopaths with further skills in clinical exercise prescription. Click here to find out more about our CPGs. 

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