Frequently Asked Questions

How do Osteopaths treat?

Osteopaths can call upon what is probably the largest range of techniques used in any manual therapy. These include massage and stretching techniques; articulation techniques in which joints are mobilised by being passively taken through their range of motion; muscle energy techniques in which contracted muscles are released by alternately being stretched and made to work against resistance; functional techniques which involve gentle mobilisation of joints in a way which “probes” barriers to normal movement until a way is found through the restriction; and manipulation, which may be used where it is appropriate and safe to do so, though it is not the mainstay of most osteopathy treatments.

What’s the difference between Osteopaths, Chiropractors and Physiotherapists?

It’s not the role of any health professional to try to define what another health care professional is, and what they do. If you want a definition, it would be best to ask people in those professions. What we can do is tell you about the defining characteristics of Osteopathy, which are its underlying philosophy and its broad range of techniques.

While “Biomechanics” has become one of the most rapidly developing areas of medicine in recent years, Osteopathy was an early profession to incorporate biomechanical analysis of how injuries occur and what the secondary effects are likely to be.

What about long term preventative care?

Osteopaths believe that getting patients to keep returning for more treatments is not the best form of long term preventive care. The key to preventing health problems recurring, and to developing long-term solutions, lies in increasing patients’ awareness of the causes of problems, and in giving them the help they need to take responsibility for their own health. This is done by: identifying the causative factors of a patient’s problems, such as problems with workplace ergonomics, and trying to reduce or eliminate them; teaching patients more efficient / less strenuous body usage at home or at work; helping patients become aware of postural problems and how to correct them; providing individually tailored exercise programmes both for rehabilitation and prevention; teaching relaxation techniques to reduce stress; and working in conjunction with other practitioners such as dieticians, occupational therapists etc. where appropriate.

Do I need a referral to see an Osteopath?

The only times you will need a referral are if you wish to consult an Osteopath under Medicare’s Enhanced Primary Care Program, the Veterans’ Affairs Scheme or for WorkCare in Queensland only. Remember that not all Osteopaths are Veterans’ Affairs providers. Otherwise, you can simply contact an Osteopath directly.