What is Osteopathy? What should I bring to my first consultation? How much does it cost? All of these questions and more answered below.
Osteopaths are allied health professionals that offer patient-centred approaches to
healthcare and functional improvement which recognise the vital link between the
structure of the body and the way it functions. Osteopaths focus on how the
skeleton, joints, muscles, nerves, circulation, connective tissue and internal organs
function as a holistic unit.
In Australia, osteopaths are government registered practitioners who complete
minimum accredited university training in anatomy, physiology, pathology, general
healthcare diagnosis, and osteopathic techniques.
Osteopathic medicine is based on the following principles. These direct the
osteopathic diagnosis and treatment.
- The body is a unit, and the person represents a combination of
body, mind and spirit.
- The body is capable of self-regulation, self-healing and health
- Structure and function are reciprocally interrelated.
- Rational treatment is based on an understanding of these principles:
body unity, self-regulation, and the interrelationship of structure and
My First Consultation
Your osteopath will ask questions about your problem and symptoms. They may also ask about your health history, any medications you are taking, as well as factors that may not appear to be directly related to your problem. If your health condition changes between osteopathic consultations you should tell your osteopath at your next consultation.
Osteopathic assessment involving clinical tests. This may involve diagnostic, orthopaedic or neurological tests, postural assessments, movement and functional assessments. Some assessments involve the osteopath observing you while you undertake an activity or perform a sequence of movements. Assessments may also include passive and active movements – where the osteopath manually lifts your arms or legs or applies resistance while you perform a stretch or movement.
Osteopathy takes a holistic approach to treatment, so your practitioner may look at other parts of your body, as well as the area that is troubling you. For example, if you have a sore knee, your osteopath may also look at your ankle, pelvis and back.
Your osteopath may also provide education and advice to help you manage your condition between appointments. This may include giving you exercises to do at home or work.
It is advisable to arrive a little early for your first appointment, as you will need to fill out some paperwork.
You will probably be asked to sign a general consent form, but you will have the
opportunity to consider and consent (or not) to specific treatment in the consultation.
Many patients are referred to osteopaths by their doctors, other health practitioners
or personal trainers. However, as osteopaths are primary care practitioners, you can
make an appointment directly without a referral.
Bring along any X-rays, scans or test results that you may have. Depending on the
area of your body requiring examination, your osteopath may ask you to undress to
your underwear (you will be provided with a clean gown to wear). It is important that
you feel comfortable, so you may want to bring a pair of stretchy gym shorts to
change into. You may bring a chaperone if you wish. Plan to attend along with your
child if your child is the patient.
Osteopathy combines hands on manual therapy with exercise programming, dry
needling, other interventions like equipment prescription and movement advice when
clinically indicated. Hands-on treatment may include massage, stretching, repetitive
movements, mobilisation and/or manipulation.
If your injuries require hands-on treatment of painful and tender areas, your
osteopath will exercise care to make you as comfortable as possible.
Some people experience mild soreness for a day or two after treatment, similar to
that felt after mild exercise. If this soreness persists or increases, call your osteopath
to discuss your concerns.
Because your osteopath is diagnosing and correcting mechanical imbalance and
restriction, after a treatment you will usually feel more energetic, balanced and
mobile. If yours is a chronic or acutely inflamed problem, the massage and
mobilisation may well cause some post treatment soreness, which usually passes in
a couple of days. You may find that after treatment you feel inexplicably lighter, and
are able to sleep well and wake refreshed for the first time in a long while. This is
indicative of reduced mechanical strain in your structure. Quality of sleep is a great
indicator of both your need for osteopathic therapy and your response to it.
All sessions are 30 – 60 minutes long of face-to-face treatment. Duration will
depend on who you see, what service you are receiving and whether you are a new
patient or a returning patient.
Depending on the severity of your injury, we may expect to see you initially for up to 4 – 6 sessions in the first month. Some people may not require any further treatment, others may benefit from a maintenance regime. People who do benefit from a maintenance regime, we attempt to push the distance out between appointments as far as possible but not too far as to compromise your health. As we have come to understand this helps people avoid the acute episodes… unless they do something really silly like trying to lift a piano.
Modern scientific medicine and Osteopathy work well together. At Osteopathic & Healthcare Clinic we embrace all medical care – surgery, rehabilitation, antibiotics and other pharmaceuticals, public health initiatives, radiology, and immunisation, when these interventions are required and appropriate. There is no such thing as alternative, or complementary, or orthodox, medicine – there is only effective medicine and ineffective medicine. As responsible practitioners we will always refer you for care to other effective modalities, when required.
Unfortunately, Osteopathy and other allied health modalities do not receive public funding of research through the NHMRC, such as that offered to medicine, so very little high quality research is done into these cost effective (and low profit) modalities. In Britain however, research has recommended that Osteopathy be included in the NHS since it has been found to be effective in the management of back pain. We suggest you ask around to see what our patients say about the results of their treatment.
Our fees do differ depending on what services you require and if you are a new or an existing client. We do try to maintain a commitment to be affordable and accessible.
HICAPS allows you to make your private health claim on the spot to reduce your outlay. Clients seeing us under Medicare’s Chronic Disease Management program are able to claim your rebate directly, however there are certain conditions and there is an out of pocket gap payable.
Most of the services offered at Osteopathic & Healthcare Clinic are covered by private health insurance, claimable through HICAPS. Osteopaths are Government registered and so are also claimable through the Motor Accident Authority (3rd Party), WorkCover and under the Medicare Chronic Disease Management plan. See your GP for advice and referrals for each of these.
Osteopathic & Healthcare Clinic has no financial links with any other clinics, and all our referrals are made on a needs basis. We receive no remuneration for our referrals.