What is Osteopathy?

Osteopathy is a form of whole body healthcare that looks at maintaining the normal balance between the body’s many systems through focusing treatment on the musculo-skeletal system and its components including muscles, tendons, joints, connective tissue and ligaments.
Osteopaths believe that a normally functioning musculo-skeletal system plays an important role in wellness, disease avoidance and recovery. Treatment can provide relief for conditions affecting the musculo-skeletal, nervous, circulatory, respiratory and immune systems.

back painWhy do people come see an Osteopath?

Most people visit an Osteopath due to physical pain. Osteopathic treatment, however, can help with a wide and varied range of conditions including but not limited to:

  • Back Pain
  • Neck and Shoulder Pain
  • Sciatica
  • Headaches
  • Sports Injuries
  • Poor Posture
  • Foot, Knee and Hip Problems
  • Muscle Spasm
  • RSI
  • Tennis Elbow
  • Arthritic Pain
  • Stress
  • Whiplash

How do Osteopaths treat?pregnancy related lower back pain
Osteopaths have highly developed skills allowing them to utilise a vast amount of techniques suited to individual patients. The techniques employed are safe, gentle and effective. These include;

  •  Massage: which helps promote circulation and relaxation of the associated muscles.
  • Muscle Energy Technique (MET): a stretching technique used to treat a loss of range of motion at a joint whereby contracted muscles are released by being stretched and forced to work against resistance.
  • Strain/Counterstrain Techniques: The Osteopath positions a joint and muscle in such a way that minimises stimulation by the nerves, allowing the muscles to relax. Relaxation results in restoration of range of motion and resolution of pain.
  • Functional techniques: The dysfunctional joint in maneuvered to a position which facilitates easier movement of the joint in all directions.
  • Joint Manipulation: A small high velocity thrust is applied through a joint to help reduce pain and restriction at that segment. Patients may hear a ‘pop’ sound when this is undertaken.

What is an Osteopath?
Osteopaths are Primary Healthcare Professionals registered under the government as practitioners of manual medicine. They assess the body’s structural and physiological change through an extensive medical history involving postural observation, physical examination and palpation (feel) to form a diagnosis. An Osteopath may work with other health professional such as Naturopaths and GP’s or refer for tests to confirm their diagnosis.

Do I need a referral to see an Osteopath? NO, a referral is NOT required to consult an Osteopath.

Can I get Rebates though my Health Fund? YES, all major health funds provide rebates for Osteopathic consultations under their ‘Extras Cover’. HICAPS system of direct health fund rebates is also available at Balanced Life Osteopathy. Just bring your health fund card and claims can be made on the spot.

Can I get Rebates though Medicare? Medicare Plus for Osteopathy allows for osteopathic treatment under the Commonwealth Government’s Medicare plan.With a doctors referral the Enhanced Primary Care (EPC) program allows for Osteopathic treatment which may be of value in restoring health to patients suffering from chronic conditions. A limit of five consultations is allowed in any given year.

What qualifications do Osteopaths have? Professional Education: Osteopathic courses include five years of full time tertiary study wherein a Bachelor Degree in Applied Science and a Master of Osteopathy are obtained. Osteopathic principles are strongly grounded in the biomedical sciences, thus education focuses significantly on Medical Science and Clinical Osteopathic practices such as anatomy, physiology, pathology and general medical diagnosis. Comprehensive practical training in Osteopathic techniques is in undertaken under the supervision of industry professionals and academics. Upon completion, graduates are able to register to practice in all Australian states and territories.

What is the difference between an Osteopath and a Chiropractor? This is always a difficult question to answer definitively because so many practitioners vary in their treatment approach. However to generalise, Osteopaths tend to spend longer in their treatment sessions and treat less often that Chiropractors. They also tend to spend more time in the treatment of the soft tissues (muscles, ligaments and tendons) of the body as well as treating the joints. There are also a number of treatment techniques utilised which are unique to Osteopathy.

What is the difference between an Osteopath and a Physiotherapist? Again, this is a difficult question as treatment approaches vary among physiotherapists. Many physiotherapist use machines in treatment such as ultrasound, interferential etc. whereas osteopaths emphasise manual techniques and spend the whole session working on the patient. i.e they won’t leave the room with you attached to a machine. Some Physiotherapists undergo further training in manipulation however the patient management approach is generally different with osteopaths using different techniques and usually looking beyond the symptomatic area. The undergraduate training of Osteopaths is also longer than that of a physiotherapist.

Any comparison between Osteopathy and other professions is not meant to necessarily imply that Osteopathic treatment is superior, only that a different approach to treatment is utilised.

Continuing Professional Development (CPD): The Osteopathic Association: Osteopathy Australia continually improves and standardises the professional aptitude of its members and the Osteopathy profession. The foremost objective of professional development is continued excellence in the delivery of Osteopathic healthcare services to the public.