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Healing Systems > Osteopathy

Osteopathy is a well established and widely recognised system of diagnosis and treatment, which lays its main emphasis on the structural and functional integrity of the body. It is distinctive by the fact that it recognises that much of the pain and disability which we suffer stems from abnormalities in the function of the body structure as well as damage caused to it by disease.

What kinds of problems can osteopathy help with?
Whilst back pain is the most common problem seen, osteopathy can help with a wide range of problems including changes to posture in pregnancy, babies with colic or sleeplessness, repetitive strain injury, postural problems caused by driving or work strain, children with glue ear, the pain of arthritis and sports injuries among many others.

Your local Registered Osteopath will be happy to advise as to whether they could help with your own particular problem.

What can I expect when I visit an osteopath?
When you visit an osteopath for the first time a full case history will be taken and you will be given an examination. You will normally be asked to remove some of your clothing and to perform a simple series of movements. The osteopath will then use a highly developed sense of touch, called palpation, to identify any points of weakness or excessive strain throughout the body.

The osteopath may need additional investigations such as x-ray or blood tests. This will allow a full diagnosis and suitable treatment plan to be developed for you.

How much do treatments cost?
Treatments are approximately $30 - $60. for 30 – 40 minute treatment session. Often the first session is longer and may cost more.

How many treatments will I need?
Osteopathy is patient centered, which means treatment is geared to you as an individual. Your osteopath should be able to give you an indication after your first visit. For some acute pain one or two treatments may be all that is necessary. Chronic conditions may need ongoing maintenance.

Do I need a referral from my GP?
A formal referral from your GP is not necessary.

How does osteopathy work?
Osteopaths work with their hands using a wide variety of treatment techniques. These may include soft tissue techniques, rhythmic passive joint mobilisation or the high velocity thrust techniques designed to improve mobility and the range of movement of a joint. Gentle release techniques are widely used, particularly when treating children or elderly patients. This allows the body to return to efficient normal function.

How can I be sure I am in safe hands when visiting an osteopath?
A Registered Osteopath has demonstrated to the General Osteopathic Council via a detailed application process that they are a safe and competent practitioner, that they have adequate malpractice insurance and have agreed to abide by a Code of Practice.

I have noticed many osteopaths have the letters DO and/or BSc (Ost) after their names what does this mean?
These are osteopathic qualifications. The DO stands for diploma in osteopathy the BSc is a degree in osteopathy. The length of training is the same for both, at least four years full-time training. The diploma course has been around the longest but recently some courses have been validated by universities allowing them to offer their students degree passes.

Can I have osteopathic treatment on the Public Health Service?
Most people consult an osteopath privately. Telephone local practices to find out about fees in your area. An increasing number of osteopaths work with GP practices so that it may be possible for your doctor to refer you to an osteopath on the PHS.

Can I have osteopathy on my private medical insurance?
Many private health insurance schemes give benefit for osteopathic treatment. Some companies will reimburse the total fee or pay a percentage of the costs. Contact the helpline of your insurance company who will explain the actual benefits and methods of claim for your individual policy.

Are osteopaths covered by ACC
Yes now many are, do ask first if you are making an ACC claim.

What should I do if I am unhappy with my osteopathic treatment?
Often problems are caused by misunderstandings and can easily be resolved by discussing your concerns with the osteopath directly. If this does not resolve the problem or your concerns are of a more serious nature the GOsC as a Code of Practice which patients may refer to.

The origins of osteopathy?
Andrew Taylor Still, born in 1828 in Virginia, USA, trained as a doctor according to the system of medical education available at the time. Prevailing conditions of treatments at the time drove him to seek new methods of treating sickness. The outcome of his research was the application of physical treatment as a specialised form of treatment for which he coined the name 'Osteopathy'. In 1892 Dr Still organised a school in Kirksville, Missouri, for the teaching of osteopathy and it was from these small beginnings that osteopathy was brought to the UK around the turn of the century. The first school of osteopathy in the UK was set in London in 1917 and over time other schools and colleges followed.

Related practices are Chiropractic and Massage. Find and Osteopath

Osteopathic Organisations

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