Before your first osteopathic treatment, always be fully prepared!
Osteopathy & You
Osteopaths in Australia are government regulated allied health professionals who have inbound and outbound referral relationships with other health care professionals.
Osteopaths have extensive knowledge of functional anatomy, biomechanics and neuromusculoskeletal clinical interventions. As a defining characteristic, the osteopathic profession emphasises the neuromusculoskeletal system as integral to the body’s function, a person’s health and to patient care.
As a patient, you can consult an osteopath for musculoskeletal, neurological disorders and related pain issues - whether acute or chronic, otherwise known as short and long-term complaints. You can consult an osteopath for neck and low back pain, physical strains, and problems with load bearing, physical coordination and movement.
Osteopaths conduct comprehensive physical examinations. They provide orthopaedic, biomechanical, movement, functional, neurological and anatomical assessments. You can consult an osteopath for investigation of underlying physical and other causes of neuromusculoskeletal conditions or issues, and for diagnosis.
Osteopaths can refer you for imaging and other tests when clinically necessary. Osteopaths combine the results of multiple clinical tests to develop a working diagnosis and clinical management plan.
You can consult an osteopath to receive manual therapy. Manual therapy involves skilled ‘hands-on’ treatment provided by an osteopath. The term defines a very wide range of ‘hands-on’ techniques. Manual therapy may support tissue repairation, movement and recovery.
When you see an osteopath they might also give therapeutic needling, like dry needling/trigger point therapy or acupuncture, as well as advice on physical activity, positioning, posture and movement.
Osteopaths also prescribe physical exercises so that patients can become empowered in managing their neuromusculoskeletal health and function in daily life. The driving consideration in osteopathic treatment planning is patient need and anticipated patient benefit.
On consulting an osteopath, you can expect certain clinical processes to be followed before treatment is given. These clinical processes include a thorough health history, discussion of a proposed treatment plan, provision of advice and information on the risks and benefits of any proposed treatment, and confirmation of your willingness to proceed – otherwise known as informed consent.
Osteopaths apply their professional clinical skills with many different patient groups. Some osteopaths see all patient groups and consider themselves generalists while others have a focus area of practice or focus patient group. The clinical area an osteopath works in and patients they work with can influence the types of clinical treatments and interventions given by an osteopath.
Areas of practice
Also in This Section
Pain management osteopaths focus on identifying and managing underlying causes of ongoing or persistent pain
Osteopaths with a focus on paediatrics may provide individual treatment and work in association with a range of other healthcare professionals. They may provide education, information, or learning sessions relating to the identified clinical and functional needs of a baby, infant, child or family.
Exercise-based rehabilitation (EBP) osteopaths uses movement and movement instruction, often with minimal hands on manual therapy, to enhance physical capacity or movement in patients