Medical History Explained: Why do your previous injuries matter?

Remember that old childhood song? “The thigh bone’s connected to the hip bone, the hip bone’s connected to the back bone…” Well when it comes to Osteopathy and the way we think about your body, the old skeleton song could not be more relevant.

During an Initial Osteopathy Consultation, we always start by asking about your previous injuries. The reason is that we are trying to create a timeline of events that may have led to your presenting complaint. For example, most of us remember having rolled an ankle at some point – but do you remember limping around the office for half a week until the pain settled down? It’s most likely that you didn’t think anything about what this might lead to down the track. Perhaps try limping around the office now to get an idea of what the rest of your body will do to compensate for a common injury like this.

This component of your history is pivotal to our diagnosis. Even it’s been 10 years since you sprained that ankle, just because the pain has gone away doesn’t mean it has returned to it’s full function. After an injury, the body is very good at forming a compensation pattern, which in turn loads up another area of your body. Perhaps that low back pain you have come to see us with was actually born out of a compensation pattern from a seemingly unrelated injury like this?

Now it’s not as always as simple as this. This is just one of an endless list of examples. The cascade of events that can emerge from a somewhat simple injury is the reason we ask in-depth questions about your previous injuries rather than just focusing on the current complaint.

So even though you may be presenting to your Osteopath with back pain, part of our diagnostic process at MOSIC is making sure we perform our due diligence in rehabilitating that old injury which has predisposed your presenting problem. This not only makes you feel better for longer, but it helps keep your presenting injury from returning. Furthermore, by addressing your movement patterns we are helping to decrease the risk of other compensatory injuries developing in the future.

Although you may think that asking these questions is a waste of your time and perhaps irrelevant to the reason you came to us in the first place, I can assure you that it is not. Remember that just as events from your past shape who you are today, previous injuries to your musculoskeletal system shape the way you move, and more importantly, the way you are injured.

Dr Aidan Sianidis is an experienced Osteopath at Melbourne Osteopathy Sports Injury Centre. He has a keen interest in shoulder, elbow, neck and jaw injuries and the way in which many of these problems interrelate with one another.

If you would like to speak to Dr Aidan Sianidis or one of our other practitioners about how an Initial Osteopathy Consultation may be able to diagnose the base cause of your complaint, please feel free to ask a question, contact us or email us at:

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