Osteopathy & You

Osteopaths and their place in Australia's health landscape

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 patient care. 

Why should I consult an osteopath?

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 may consult an osteopath for:

neck, back or sciatic pain headaches and migraines
muscular strains or pain chronic pain management
sports injuries and rehabilitation  occupational injuries
shoulder and elbow pain exercise prescription
hip and knee pain postural concerns 
heel and foot pain management of arthritis
tendon related pain shin splints

What do osteopaths do?

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 an extensive range of ‘hands-on’ techniques. Manual therapy may support tissue reparation, movement and recovery.

When you see an osteopath....

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 the patient need and anticipated patient benefit.

On consulting an osteopath, you can expect specific clinical processes to be followed through 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

Treatment FAQs

Before your first osteopathic treatment, always be fully prepared!


Sports osteopaths aim to help patients enhance sporting performance in their chosen sport

Pain Management

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

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

Occupational Health

Occupational health osteopaths often work in primary practice as treating practitioners, assisting injured clients to return to work safely

Osteopathy Australia Partners

We work with these complementary key organisations as an essential part
of providing high quality healthcare for Australians.

RMIT University
Guild Insurance
VIC Worksafe
Wentworth Advantage
Member Advantage
Better Pain Management
Red Cross Australia
NSW Workcover
TAS Workcover
Health Workforce Australia
National Rural Health Alliance
Brooks Shoes
Victoria University
Pain Australia
SA Worksafe
Worksafe ACT
Arthritis Australia
Insurance Commission of WA
NT Worksafe
Workcover WA
Associations Forum
QLD Worksafe