What is Osteopathy?

As Honsberger Physio+ continues to grow, we are constantly evaluating our services, technology and tools to better serve our clients! 

To elevate our caused based, functional movement approach and talented clinical team, we will be offering Osteopathy in both our Markham and Aurora clinics starting Monday, October 5th!

Daneil Hilborn is a Certified Athletic Therapist and Osteopathic Manual Practioner with a wealth of experinece! 

Dan specializes in treating patients holistically. He does this by not only assessing an individual injury but investigating how improper biomechanics can lead to pain, dysfunction, or decreased athletic performance. Throughout his professional career he has had the opportunity to work with a wide variety of patients from industrial and office workers to weekend warriors and elite athletes including spending time working for a number of varsity collegiate sports programs, Team Canada Baseball, and the Toronto Blue Jays.

As an osteopathic manual practitioner he also specializes in treating organ and visceral mobility to improve symptoms associated with conditions such as IBS, acid reflex, or post surgical rehab from abdominal surgeries, including appendix/gall bladder removal and c-sections.

When he’s not at work he enjoys keeping active as he is regularly involved in competitive hockey, baseball, golf, and volleyball leagues or spending relaxing time with his wife and son.  

Dan also has a very impressive resume: 

  • BA Honors Specialization Kinesiology, Western University
  • BAHSc Athletic Therapy, Sheridan College
  • Certified Athletic Therapist, Canadian Athletic Therapy Association CAT(C)
  • Diploma Osteopathic Manual Practitioner, National Academy of Osteopathy
  • Certified Osteopathic Manual Practitioner, National Manual Osteopathic Society

But WHAT is Osteopathy and how can it help?

1. How would you describe Osteopathy to someone who has never heard of it before?

Osteopathy is a holistic practice that looks at the movement and mobility of the body as a single unit rather then a number of individual parts. When treating a specific injury or dysfunction an osteopath will not only look at the individual muscle, joint, or body part that is affected but rather will look deeper to discover the underlying causes of the specific injury and treat the causes of that injury rather then the symptoms. This could involve assessing spinal and joint mobility, muscle flexibility and strength, superficial and deep fascial restrictions, visceral (organ) mobility, and cranial sacral motion.

2. What is the difference between Osteopathy to other forms of manual therapy (ie. Physio)?

I believe osteopathy and physiotherapy have a number of similarities in terms of assessment and treatment style. A few of the main areas that osteopaths specialize in, is the treatment of the cranial sacral system and visceral (organ) mobilization.

Restrictions in visceral mobility can be caused by poor posture, trauma, digestive issues (IBS, acid reflux, etc), inflammatory diseases such as crohn’s disease or abdominal surgeries including c-section, gall bladder removal, and appendectomy to name a few. These restrictions in visceral mobility can lead to musculoskeletal dysfunction and pain and it is important to assess and treat visceral mobility to ensure we are correcting all the underlying causes of pain and dysfunction our patient is presenting with. Treatment of viscera can also help to alleviate the symptoms of digestive issues such as IBS and acid reflux by improving the mobility of the organs which in turn can allow them to function at a more optimal level. Lastly, any time a patient has had an abdominal surgery it is important to assess this and create a treatment plan to ensure proper recovery. After any orthopedic surgery such as ACL reconstruction, hip replacement, or Tommy John surgery a rehabilitation program is almost always recommended. After abdominal surgeries it is very rarely recommended for the patient to seek out treatment to speed up the healing process and ensure proper recovery. In any abdominal surgery the surgeon will cut through skin, fascia, and our abdominal musculature and a proper rehabilitation program is required to ensure this heals correctly and proper strength and mobility is returned to the area.

The cranial sacral system is a long continuous tissue that runs from the top of our head all the way to our tail bone. Because there is one continuous tissue that runs from the top of our head to our tail bone if we have a dysfunction at one end of this system there must be dysfunction at the other end as well. When treating a pelvic, hip or low back issue it is important to assess and treat the neck and cranium to ensure proper mobility of this entire chain and vice versa.

Cranialsacral therapy is also highly effective for the treatment of headaches. Most people think of our skull as one singular bone that doesn’t really move when in fact it is made up of a number of individual bones that all need to move separately. If these bones aren’t moving properly it can affect circulation into and out of the skull/brain, the movement of cerebral spinal fluid that our brain and spine need for proper function, sinus drainage, and the mobility of our cranial nerves. When any of these areas are affected, a patient can present with a number of symptoms, but headaches are one of the more common ones.

3. What is your favourite thing about being an Osteopath?

I really enjoy finding the underlying issues of pain and dysfunction. A lot of patients come to me as a last resort when other methods of rehabilitation have not previously been effective. By having a through understanding of the bodies anatomical structure and biomechanical function I can find areas of restriction that other therapists may have missed that can ensure my patients pain goes away, stays away, and proper function returns.

4. Who can benefit from working with an Osteopath? 

Anyone who is in acute pain from a recent injury or someone who is experiencing chronic long- term pain and dysfunction can both benefit from seeing an osteopath. Using our holistic full body approach when treating an acute injury, we will work to decrease inflammation, improvemobility, and strengthen the surrounding musculature.

In an acute injury an osteopath will also investigate and assess your alignment and biomechanics to see if this made you more susceptible to the injury. By correcting the alignment and biomechanical dysfunctions we make you less likely to reinjure yourself when you return to your activities of daily living or sport.

When a patient is experiencing chronic pain and dysfunction a similar approach is taken. We want to assess and treat the area of dysfunction but also investigate all of the underlying issues that caused the initial injury as well as areas of your body that have now compensated due to the chronic pain/dysfunction.

5. How do you know when to use your Athletic Therapy techniques vs. Osteopathic techniques?

As an athletic therapist and osteopath, I find it very difficult to solely treat as one or the other. I have adopted a treatment style that encompasses the best of both worlds and choose my techniques based on the patient I am seeing and what will benefit them the most. With any patient I see I will perform an in-depth assessment that utilizes osteopathic skills such as joint range of motion and muscle strength/flexibility testing, posture and alignment assessment, as well as visceral and cranial sacral mobility. Along with this I believe it is important to also assess how a patient moves and how this contributes to pain and dysfunction. This is where the athletic therapy skill set takes over and I will assess several functional movement abilities to see where the body is breaking down biomechanically. After assessing a patient, a treatment plan is then created that will utilize a combination of the hands-on manual skills from osteopathy along with the creation of an exercise program from the athletic therapy background. This will adjust and correct the bodies biomechanical dysfunctions and ensure the patient can return to their activities of daily living and sport safely, effectively, and pain free.

6. Describe your treatments style in three words!

  • Goal focused
  • Educational
  • Holistic

7. Did you always want to be an Osteopath?

No, as I began my post graduate studies, I wanted to be an athletic therapist that worked with a professional sports team primarily in baseball. After graduating from the athletic therapy program, I started working with the Toronto Blue Jays and Team Canada Baseball. I really enjoyed my time working with both organizations but after a few years, I realized the extensive time commitment and excessive travel was not for me and not conducive to starting a family.

At this point I started looking for clinical jobs where I could utilize my skill set to help improve the health and wellbeing of patients and athletes I worked with. After a few years working clinically, I wanted to expand my education and I was extremely interested in the philosophy and treatment approach of osteopathy. The reason I was interested in osteopathy is that it is very similar to athletic therapy in terms of the holistic approach in treatment style. I already had the movement assessment, biomechanical, and strength and conditioning background from athletic therapy but becoming an osteopath would dramatically improve my hands on, manual therapy skills.

After completing the osteo program I found the two skills sets really did complement each other well and I developed a treatment style that incorporates both that has allowed me to achieve amazing results with the patients and athletes I work with.

8. How has your practice evolved due to COVID-19?

With COVID the biggest changes I have made to my practice is ensuring I give my patients the tools they need to help alleviate their pain and improve their mobility if they are unable to come into the clinic for their sessions. I try to ensure patients understand why they are in pain in the first place and importance of the home program I am prescribing to them. I also ensure I am very accessible through email if patients ever have questions regarding their treatment plan or changes in their symptoms. I also have begun to offer virtual sessions when possible.

To book an appointment with Dan, please visit:
Markham: https://honsbergerphysio.janeapp.com/locations/markham/book#/staff_member/56 
Aurora: https://honsbergerphysio.janeapp.com/locations/aurora/book#/staff_member/56 

We also provide home visits! Please call us for further information:
Markham: 905-940-2627
Aurora: 905-841-0411

Orthopedic Rehabilitation
105-675 Cochrane Drive, Markham, ON L3R 0B8 P (905) 940-2627 F (905) 940-3136 HONSBERGER@HONSBERGERPHYSIOPLUS.COM
81 Temperance Street, Aurora, ON L4G 2R1 P (905) 841-0411 F (905) 841-7311 AURORA@HONSBERGERPHYSIOPLUS.COM