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.
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
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.
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