What can Osteopaths treat?
One of the most frequently asked questions about osteopathy is "Is this something I should see the osteopath for?"
When in doubt, when in pain, unless you are sick, the answer is YES.
Despite the common misconception that they only provide care for back problems, osteopaths are there to help people who are in pain or discomfort, no matter where the problem is, from the top of your head to the tip of your toe.
This applies to all types of pain: -
Repetitive strain injuries (RSI)
Headaches, jaw pain
Sciatica, low back pain
Rib pain (difficulty breathing)
If you are experiencing numbness or pins and needles, that is also a good reason to get an assessment from an osteopath.
Osteopaths are trained to sort through the different types of pain, and know when to refer to a medical practitioner for further diagnosis. In most cases though, pain is due to musculoskeletal factors (muscles and joints, etc) and osteopathic treatment may help. Even some types of abdominal pain and digestive issues may be helped by applying gentle care to the tissues and facia involved in digestion (visceral osteopathy).
Osteopathic care is all about encouraging the body to heal and self-regulate by acting on the structures of the body, so everything can move and work to its best of abilities.
Are Osteopaths ACC registered?
Osteopaths are primary health care practitioners and are registered to lodge and treat ACC claims for patients without need for a referral from a medical doctor and can also refer patients for x-rays and to other health professionals if required.
Southern Cross Health Society Easy-claim available for members
What happens at your first osteopathic consultation and how do osteopaths work?
The first time you see an osteopath at Knox Rehab Clinic, the consultation will last approximately one hour.
The osteopath will ask you about your complaint, followed by a series of medical history questions so they have a full overview of your current health. Be prepared to be asked information about past imaging and tests, current medications, work environment, physical activities, diet, sleep, etc.
All this information allows the osteopath to understand your health in all its dimensions, and create a treatment plan that is safe, and suits your particular needs.
Next, the osteopath will examine your posture and perform orthopedic tests to gain more clues about the cause of the problem. It is best for the osteopath if you remove clothing to wear only underwear or comfortable shorts during this phase of the treatment, so please let the osteopath know if you are uncomfortable and would prefer to be treated through clothing.
The hands-on part of the osteopathic appointment, performed on the treatment table, can involve a broad range of techniques and is tailored to the individual. You can expect various degrees of massage/pressure point work, articulatory movements applied to joints, and joint manipulation (HVLA). Some techniques may be very gentle and others quite vigorous depending on your needs. Most techniques are passive, and you can just relax during the appointment. Osteopathy should be a positive experience. Communication with your osteopath is very important during this part of the consultation, so please let them know if there is anything you are uncomfortable with.
At the end of the consultation, your osteopath will give you specific advice and a management plan will be put in place. Occasionally, your osteopath may request an additional 15 minutes to your appointment to go through specific rehabilitative exercises, strength and movement training or another type of treatment such as breathing retraining.
Can osteopathy be preventative?
Patients are not expected to continue receiving regular appointments after their pain has resolved for practical reasons. But continued "check-ins" every month or even every three months can be a wonderful way to keep on top of your health.
Osteopathic care does not guarantee to prevent injuries but it may help your body cope better with the various stresses it faces day-to-day. For individuals with high demand laboring jobs, athletes, and people who want to improve their health and strength, osteopathy may help to ensure the body works in the most efficient way.
Your osteopath is always happy to share advice on health and exercise and can accompany you on your health journey if that's what you choose to do.