What is Osteopathy?
It is a form of manual medicine that uses a variety of techniques to treat musculoskeletal problems and aid movement throughout the body.
Osteopaths recognise that the skeleton, joints, muscles, nerves, circulation, connective tissue and internal organs function as a unit.
Osteopathic techniques may include soft tissue massage, stretching, muscle energy, neuromuscular, high velocity thrusts (whereby audible click can sometimes be heard), articulations and some more indirect techniques which entail an extremely gentle approach.
Osteopathy is a holistic form of medicine; therefore many aspects of your life will be explored as treatment progresses in order to gain better insight as to how injury came about and how future injuries can be prevented. You may be asked questions about your diet, lifestyle, occupation, children, exercises, hobbies and so forth. Prevention of recurrence is therefore fundamental within a treatment plan. For example, you may require an ergonomic assessment, advice on lifting or alterations made to your exercise regime.
Osteopathic medicine has been government regulated in Australia for 30 years.
What conditions can Osteopaths treat?
- Back and neck pain
- Pains in peripheral joints such as shoulders, knees, ankles
- Work related injuries
- Sports injuries
- Period pains
- Irritable bowel pain
- Pregnancy associated pains
- Disc injuries
- Growing pains
- Unsettled infants
- Chronic sinusitis
The list is not exhaustive
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Osteopathy was founded by a Physician from Virginia, US, called Andrew Taylor Still (1828-1917). He believed that obstructions within the flow of lymph and blood cause dysfunction within all systems within the body. If these obstructions are removed manually, then patients have the ability to heal themselves. Four basic principles have evolved from his theories, and to this day, form the basis Osteopathic medicine.The History and basic principles of Osteopathic medicine
- The body is a unit; the person is a unit of body, mind and spirit.
- The body is capable of self-regulation, self-healing and health maintenance.
- Structure and function are reciprocally interrelated.
- Rational Treatment is based upon an understanding of the basic principles of body unity, self regulation and the inter-relationship of structure and function.
Osteopathic treatment focuses on health as opposed to disease.
Frequently Asked Questions about Osteopathy
What is the Difference between an Osteopath, Chiropractor and Physiotherapist?
So many people ask me this question and I shall do my best to answer it. All three professions treat the same conditions, it is the approach and techniques used that differ.
As mentioned above already, Osteopathy is a manual and complementary form of healthcare whereby the use of touch and manipulation are utilised to treat musculoskeletal dysfunction within the body.
Chiropractic medicine also bases the principles on the body being a self-regulating, self-healing organism, and that indeed structure and function are related.
Function of the body is based on a healthy nervous system therefore obstruction of any nervous pathway needs to be removed via adjustments with much emphasis on the spine, skull and pelvis. Only then can health be restored.
Physiotherapists are very much movement orientated and they can treat people with movement disorders which may have been present from birth for example cerebral palsy, injuries obtained through accidents or injuries or other life-changing events such as stroke. They use a variety of techniques to increase joint and muscle movement. Physio’s tend to work within a more acute and rehabilitative environment.
What can I expect the first time I come to see an Osteopath?
The first visit will entail an initial consultation whereby a full case history will be taken including your reason for being there as well as gaining information about your past medical and surgical history, any traumas, accidents and hospitalisations.
Following the consultation, a full examination will proceed and will include biomechanical analysis, postural assessment, palpation, as well as any special orthopaedic or clinical tests as necessary. The latter may include checking your blood pressure or conducting basic neurological testing.
The information obtained from the case history and examination will enable me to make a diagnosis so treatment can proceed. Occasionally I may need to refer you back to your doctor for further investigations prior to commencing Osteopathic treatment.
How many treatments will I need?
On average most people require 3-4 treatments but this really is a rough guide. There are many variables that affect your healing such as age, compliance, medical history, length of time you have had the condition and so on. When you are feeling better, it is advisable to come for treatment every month or so to prevent future injury and to keep you healthy.
Is Osteopathy covered by private health insurance?
Yes, if you have Extras cover, however the rebate will depend on the type of cover and the fund you are with. Bring your private health fund card and we can process your health fund payment at the time of consultation with HICAPS and you are only required to pay the difference saving you time and having to wait in a queue to claim!
Do Osteopaths treat Work Cover Injuries?
Yes. You will need to see your doctor and have Osteopathy stated as part of your management/treatment on your Work Cover Medical Certificate. Please speak to your GP or ring to speak to the osteopath to find out more information.
Do Osteopaths treat Motor Vehicle Accident Injuries?
Yes. You will need to see your doctor and register the claim. Please speak to your GP or ring to speak to the osteopath to find out more information.
Do Osteopaths treat Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) patients?
Yes. You will need a referral from your doctor. Treatment is entirely covered by the Department of Veterans Affairs. You will need to bring your DVA card with you for osteopathic treatment.
Is Osteopathy covered by Medicare?
Not generally, however there is a government initiative called the Enhanced Primary Care (EPC) Program. This allows someone with chronic pain or a chronic condition to have five (5) osteopathic (or other approved allied health service) consultations a year when referred by their doctor. A Medicare rebate covers some (but not all) of the osteopathic treatment. Please speak to your GP or ring to speak to the osteopath to see if you might be eligible.
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