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Osteopathy FAQs

What happens with my first consultation?

Your osteopath will ask questions about your problem and symptoms. They may also ask questions about your medical history, any medications you are taking or other factors that may not appear to be directly related to your problem. If your medical condition changes during the course of your osteopathic treatment, you should tell your osteopath.

Next, your osteopath will conduct a full osteopathic examination and if necessary, clinical tests. This may involve diagnostic, orthopaedic or neurological tests, postural assessments and activities or exercises, which will help determine how best to manage your condition.

The examination may include passive and active movements, such as the osteopath lifting your arms or legs. As part of the examination, you may also be asked to bend over or stand in your underwear. Be sure to wear comfortable, flexible and appropriate underwear.

As osteopathy takes a holistic approach to treatment, your practitioner may look at other parts of your body, as well as the area that is troubling you. For example, if you have a sore knee, your osteopath may also look at your ankle, pelvis and back.

Your osteopath may also provide education and advice to help you manage your condition between treatments. This may include giving you exercises to do at home or work.

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Can I bring a friend or relative?

Yes – if you wish, you can have someone present throughout your consultation and treatment.

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What should I wear?

Your practitioner will need to have access to the area of pain. Therefore, it is best if you can wear shorts (and a sports bra in the case of women). We have gowns and shorts on site should you not have appropriate attire. You will not need to disrobe to your underwear. During your consult you may also be required to complete exercise so wearing clothing suitable for this is recommended.

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Should I arrive early for my first appointment?

It is advisable to arrive a little early for your first appointment, as you will need to fill out additional or initial paperwork. Under the law, an osteopath needs to obtain your approval to treat you, so you will probably be asked to sign an ‘informed consent’ form.

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What do I need to bring?

Bring along any x-rays, scans or test results that you may have.

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Do I need a referral from my GP?

Many patients are referred to osteopaths by their doctors, other health practitioners or personal trainers. However, as osteopaths are primary care practitioners, you can make an appointment directly without a referral.

If you have been diagnosed with a chronic medical condition and require complex care you may be eligible for Chronic Disease Management (CDM) assistance. The GP must complete a special referral form (PDF, 201kb) to refer you to an osteopath for treatment.

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Is osteopathic treatment painful?

Osteopathy is a form of manual therapy, so hands-on treatment may include massage, stretching, repetitive movements, mobilisation and/or manipulation.

Most osteopathic treatment is gentle and should not cause undue discomfort. If your injuries do require hands-on treatment of painful and tender areas, your osteopath will exercise care to make you as comfortable as possible.

Some people experience mild soreness for a day or two after treatment, similar to that felt after mild exercise. If this soreness persists or increases significantly, call your osteopath to discuss your concerns.

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How long will my treatment take?

Your initial consultation may last up to one hour. This will enable your osteopath to take a thorough history, examine and treat you. Follow-up treatments are usually shorter. Depending on your condition, they can take 30-40 minutes.

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Are there additional investigations or treatments?

Following treatment, your osteopath may decide that additional investigations such as x-ray, scans or blood tests are required. This will enable them to make a more exact diagnosis and develop a suitable treatment plan for you. If necessary, your osteopath may refer you on to another health professional.

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How much does treatment cost?

The costs of treatment vary from practice to practice and across the country – make sure you ask before booking

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How many treatments will I need?

The number of treatments you need depends on the condition and person we are treating. We aim to keep your appointments to a minimum. Your osteopath will be able to tell you within a short period of time whether they can treat you or if they need to refer you to someone else.

Generally you would expect to see some changes in your symptoms after one or two visits; however, some long-term or chronic conditions may require a longer course or more frequent treatment. If you have any concerns, your osteopath will be happy to discuss these with you.

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