Does Osteopathy work?
Osteopathy has been around for a long time, it was developed in the 1870’s by a Doctor, Andrew Taylor Still, and is now widely recognised throughout the world as one of the most scientifically validated physical therapies.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) recognises the Osteopathic model of musculoskeletal dysfunction as being scientifically proven, and the British Medical Association also recognises Osteopathy as a discrete medical discipline.
There has been much research which not only provides a physiological basis for Osteopathic diagnosis and treatment, but also provides statistical data on outcomes. Reports have shown not only a consistent level of success, but also a high degree of patient satisfaction, so you know you’ll be in good hands.
Is osteopathic treatment safe?
Unfortunately there’s no such thing as a medical treatment that is guaranteed 100% safe; even the paracetamol and ibuprofen we commonly use for headaches may cause severe side effects in some people.
Osteopathy however, has one of the best safety records of any medically-related profession. As primary care practitioners, Osteopaths are trained to carry out standard medical examinations of the cardiovascular, respiratory and nervous systems to identify any condition that might make Osteopathic treatment inadvisable and to recognise conditions which require medical referral.
Just as your GP regards safety as the number one factor in selecting your medications, our Osteopaths will select treatment styles & techniques with your safety as their prime consideration.
Do I need a referral?
As primary care practitioners our osteopaths do not require a referral to see you but referrals are always welcomed and we are more than happy to work together with your existing healthcare team to ensure you get the best results.
The only time you need a referral is if you wish to see an osteopath under Medicare’s Enhanced primary care program, in this case you’ll need to see your doctor first.
Otherwise you can simply book online or call to book to see our osteopaths directly.
Who pays? Am I covered?
Under the federal governments Medicare Plus initiative, patients with chronic conditions may be referred by their GP for osteopathic treatment under an Enhanced Primary Care (EPC) plan.
Patients under the WorkCover and Transport Accident compensation schemes can have their treatment costs reimbursed by those schemes.
We offer instant, on-the-spot rebates through HICAPS for members of a Private Health Fund with ancillary or “extras” cover. Rebate amount and conditions however vary between insurers, so check the details of your policy.
Is long term preventative care useful?
Why fix a problem when you can prevent it? When it comes to long term health care our Osteopaths don’t believe in getting patients to return every few days, every week or even, every few weeks for treatment as the best form of long term preventive care.
The key to preventing many health problems from developing and recurring lies in educating our patients; arming you with an understanding of the causes of your pain and giving you advice on how to reduce or eliminate them.
We aim to get you through the acute phase of an injury and then help you to take your health back into your own hands.
What do I need to bring?
Bring along any X-rays, scans or test results that you may have. More information about your overall health will give us a better understanding of your condition and how to best tackle it.
Any referral from your GP or other therapist will also be appreciated.
Should I arrive early for my first appointment?
It’s advisable to arrive a little early for your first appointment, particularly if you haven’t already submitted your new patient paperwork electronically.
This paperwork is essential as our therapists will need to obtain details of your medical history and get your consent to treat you based on this.
What should I wear?
It’s important that you feel comfortable, so wear a comfortable shirt and loose pants or bring a pair of shorts to change into.
Depending on the area of your body requiring examination and treatment, you may be asked to undress to your underwear, we will make every effort to keep you covered with towels and keep you comfortable.
Can I bring a friend or relative?
Yes – if you wish, you can have someone present throughout your consultation and treatment.
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 us to discuss your concerns.
How many treatments will I need?
The number of treatments you need depends on your condition and how you respond to treatment. 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 a couple of 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.
Why see an osteopath over a chiropractor or physiotherapist?
It’s not up to us to define how other practitioners treat or how ‘good’ they are. The truth is we all treat many of the same problems like back pain, headaches & migraines, we just treat them in slightly different ways.
What we can tell you is why you should see us at Melbourne Osteohealth and it’s simple really…
- At Melbourne Osteohealth, our osteopaths are highly educated, having completed a minimum of 5 years full time at university.
- Our practitioners are experts in the field; lecturers with Victoria University and osteopaths and myotherapists to elite sporting teams including Essendon football club, Melbourne storm and the ACT Academy of Sport cycling team.
- We only treat one patient at a time, we won’t run between rooms, juggling 2 or 3 patients at a time so when you come in you know you’ll have our undivided attention.
- You won’t be in & out in 5 minutes…not even in 15! Our Osteopaths will take the time to provide you with an individually tailored, evidence based approach to your health & well-being. We take the time to listen to you, thoroughly assess the problem area (as well as any area that may be referring pain) and treat you for longer to ensure you don’t have to come back as often.
We don’t just treat your muscles or your joints; we’ll selectively test the muscles, joints, nerves, ligaments and blood vessels in your problem area and then formulate an individual treatment plan to address all of the tissues involved so you get relief faster.
What is a custom orthotic?
A custom orthotic is an in-shoe device designed to align the foot and leg in the most anatomically efficient position. They look like regular insoles, but are custom made to correct your specific imbalances.
How do I know if custom orthotics can help me?
The symptoms of poor foot mechanics can include any of the following:[su_list_fav]
- Foot pain
- Bunions, hammer toes or claw toes
- Arch or heel pain
- Calf or knee pain
- Hip or back pain
What should I do?
Book an appointment with one of our osteopaths, we can scan and examine your foot and do a full body screen to determine if custom orthotics can help correct your specific body imbalance and help reduce your pain.
If we think orthotics will benefit you, we’ll order you a custom made pair that are tailored to your unique structure and function.
If we don’t feel your problem is caused by your foot posture or biomechanics, we won’t recommend orthotics…it’s that simple.
Will orthotics correct my foot problem?
Orthotics will aid control of foot posture and mechanics. While this will not change the anatomical structure of the adult foot, it may prevent the development of degeneration, deformity and disability.
When they are not worn, abnormal function returns- much like when you wear glasses to aid with vision or dentures to aid with chewing.
Do I have to wear my custom orthotics all the time?
The more you wear your custom orthotics the more benefit you’ll get from them.
Why do my new custom orthotics feel uncomfortable?
Most patients never have any “break in” discomfort but when it does happen; it usually only lasts two or three weeks. If you experience discomfort it’s advisable to gradually “break in” your new orthotics by wearing them in two hour intervals and slowly extending the wear time over a period of a few weeks.
Since the orthotic works to realign the primary structure of your foot you may feel pressure in some areas as the custom orthotic attempts to do its job. Some people develop discomfort in the foot, leg, or even the low back when they first start wearing orthotics. This is fairly normal and is due to realignment of the entire lower limb and pelvis. Muscles and ligaments have to adjust to this new alignment and as they do, the discomfort should disappear.
Persistent discomfort may mean we need to adjust your orthotics so we’re more than happy to provide adjustments for 90 days after your new orthotic arrives.
What kind of shoe do I need for my custom orthotics?
For the most part any shoe that has a removable insole will work with your custom orthotic. Just remove the insole that came with the shoe and replace it with the custom orthotic.
If your daily activities vary to the extent that you change your footwear, then you may need a second pair designed for that specific activity (e.g. going to the gym or for a run after work or wearing dress shoes).
MOH can also offer a carefully-selected range of footwear that can be custom made to have your orthotic prescription built right in.
Will my muscles get weaker from wearing orthotics?
Custom orthotics will not reduce muscle tone or strength. Each muscle is pre-programmed by the nervous system to work best within the ‘neutral range’ of the joint it acts over; so by optimising your foot posture throughout your gait cycle you will be using the right muscles at the right time, minimising fatigue and maximising efficiency.
Do I need special orthotics for sports?
Standard orthotics are suitable for most activities, including sports that don’t involve excessive impact. Sports such as running, football, aerobics, tennis and squash however all involve considerable ground forces. Sports specific orthotics can be fabricated to order from more resilient materials which help dissipate some of this force.
Exercise Physiology FAQ’s
What is Exercise Physiology?
Exercise Physiology is an evidence-based approach to health where we use specific exercise prescriptions and protocols to achieve specific health outcomes. We prescribe exercise in much the same way a doctor would prescribe medicine, where the type and dose of medication- or in this case, exercise – is customised to you.
Our protocols can be tailored to address specific rehabilitation goals, and to prevent, manage and treat a range of complex medical conditions.
This includes conditions such as (but not limited to): heart disease, diabetes, mental illness, cognitive decline, some cancers, lower back pain, osteoporosis, and osteoarthritis.
It’s geared to provide you with the tools and strategies you need to manage your health safely and independently.
An EP treatment plan might include strength, aerobic or flexibility exercises at the clinic or for you to do at home. In clinic training may be individual or in a small group, depending on your needs.
What is an Exercise Physiologist?
An Accredited Exercise Physiologist (AEP) is a university-trained and registered allied health professional.
AEPs undergo a minimum of 4-years of university training, and are registered with Exercise and Sport Science Australia (ESSA).
They are required to participate in continuing professional development every year to ensure they remain up to date.
Is that like a Physiotherapist or a Personal Trainer?
A little. Physiotherapists are also university-trained and registered allied health professionals. Physiotherapy interventions are usually acute (immediately after your injury or surgery), early assessment and have a greater focus on hands-on treatment. Physiotherapists may also prescribe exercise; this is usually focused on returning you to pre-injury status.
Personal trainers are Certificate and/or Diploma-trained professionals that prescribe exercise programs to people without injury or chronic disease. They are not permitted to work with populations that require specialist post-injury intervention, chronic disease management and/or other medical conditions as EPs are. In order to achieve certification personal trainers complete 150 hours of practical experience with healthy populations.
n order to achieve accreditation EPs complete this same 150 hours, as well as an additional 350 hours with strictly defined clinical populations.
All three professions may work together depending on the stage of your rehabilitation and needs. For example, you may initially seek treatment from a Physiotherapist or Osteopath to relieve pain and regain range of movement. They may then refer you to an Exercise Physiologist for further strength and conditioning to prevent re-occurrence of the injury. An Exercise Physiologist may then refer you on to a Personal Trainer when you have completed your rehabilitation, but wish to continue to engage in the benefits of exercise.
What is lifestyle modification?
EPs assist in finding solutions to day-to-day barriers that would normally impede your rehabilitation journey. This is particularly effective for people with chronic disease, where management is ongoing.
A discussion with your EP will aim to identify your goals and barriers to goal completion, then together we can develop solutions to best achieve your goals.
For example, a fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) worker or single parent may have very limited time to attend a scheduled class, so an EP would help to incorporate exercise into their routine in a way that minimises additional costs or logistical challenges that would otherwise deter participation.
Can you give me any advice about my diet?
EPs can give general advice about diet and nutrition, however Accredited Practicing Dietitians (APDs) are best placed to give you specific, individually-tailored dietary advice.
An EP may refer you to an APD, or encourage you to ask your GP for a referral to an APD, if it will benefit you.
Do I need a referral to see an Exercise Physiologist?
If you are seeking EP advice under an Enhanced Primary Care (EPC) plan, WorkCover, Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) cardholder, TAC or other insurance claim, you will require a referral.
If you would like to see an EP as a private client, no referral is needed.
What should I expect in an Exercise Physiology consultation?
An initial consultation will include a comprehensive assessment to develop an exercise plan based on your unique requirements. This session will most likely include lots of questions about your health and history.
You may be concerned about what to wear for this appointment. Wear loose, comfortable clothing, as you may be asked to do a range of movements; it is highly unlikely you will be doing any intense ‘exercising,’ so no need to pack the Lycra.
After this session, your Exercise Physiologist will provide you with an action plan. We may also advise a referral to another health or medical professional if needed.
The next step is undertaking the plan as set out by your EP.
Your EP will always compare your current health status with previous results. This helps determine the next course of action and plan your way forward – this could be more sessions with with your EP, or an exercise plan for you to do in your own time.
Throughout the entire process, your EP will work with you to implement a number of strategies to help you manage your health in the future.
What should I not expect from an Exercise Physiology consultation?
There ill be no judgement about your health or body, no unnecessary treatment, no questions left unanswered, no ‘one size fits all’ approaches and definitely none of that ‘no pain, no gain’ mentality…
Clinical Pilates & Rehabilitation FAQ’s
What is pilates?
Joseph Pilates was the founder of what has evolved into Pilates; an intelligent and mindful exercise approach for physical conditioning. Joseph’s definition of physical fitness was:
“easily and satisfactorily performing our many and varied daily tasks with spontaneous zest and pleasure – Everything should be smooth, like a cat.”
Pilates focuses on “natural movements… with the emphasis on doing and being” and is therefore perfect for general conditioning of your body. It helps build strength and flexibility and improves your co-ordination and balance.
At Melbourne Osteohealth, a personalised program will be tailored with different exercises to suit you, depending on whether you’re coming back from injury, post-surgical rehabilitation or looking for general strength and development.
Why do pilates?
Some of the amazing benefits of pilates are:[su_list_fav]
- Longer, leaner muscles
- Core strength and stability
- Better posture
- Improved balance and co-ordination
- Enhanced athletic performance
- Relief from stress and back pain
- Heightened mind-body awareness
- Increased self-confidence
Each movement or exercise in Pilates should be smooth and controlled. Joseph believed “A few well-designed movements, properly performed in a balanced sequence, are worth hours of doing sloppy callisthenics or forced contortion.” This requires the individual to really concentrate on precise and perfect movement – to gain great results and muscle control. Pilates exercises can range from beginner to advanced and the intensity of most exercises can be increased over time to make Pilates always challenging and motivating as you adapt and get stronger.
How can pilates help me?
Pilates has many benefits. It can help improve your posture and change the way you move, making you more efficient and effective and improving your athletic performance. It can allow you to feel stronger and fitter and this can help improve mood and self-confidence.
Learning a more efficient and effective way of movement can improve your balance and co-ordination which helps prevent injuries and allows you to gain more movement and flexibility. All of these benefits improve your posture by improving your core stability and strengthening “core” muscles.
It’s also fun! By focusing on well-executed movements of a variety of exercises; Pilates improves your mind-body connection and rarely gets repetitive or boring.
What is the difference between clinical pilates and pilates?
Pilates uses specific floor and equipment-based exercises to condition and train the body’s deep stabilising muscles. These core muscle groups include the abdominal and back muscles, as well as pelvic floor and hip muscles. The purpose of training these muscles is to provide stability, strength and control to the lower back, pelvic and hip joints, upper back, neck and shoulder regions.
Pilates specifically enhances stability, movement, alignment, and breathing. It simultaneously works the body and relaxes the mind.
Clinical Pilates is a specialised adaptation of traditional pilates which is blended with a modified osteopathic and physical therapy approach. It is offered by a trained therapist or clinical pilates instructor. Clinical pilates is an evidence-based technique which can improve balance, increase core muscle and spinal stability, enhance performance, and assist with recovery from injury and rehabilitation. Whilst back pain, neck pain, and a variety of sport injuries frequently benefit from clinical pilates, many other musculoskeletal and other conditions can also respond favourably.
Clinical pilates uses floor-based exercise programs together with spring-loaded resistance machines to allow you to develop superior muscle control, improved balance and mobility, and better posture. The end result is typically better function, greater efficiency and reduced pain.
What are the benefits of doing clinical pilates?
Clinical pilates is often beneficial for people looking to address pain and strengthen to help prevent future injury. However, pilates is not just for rehabilitation, nor is it another form of yoga or just “stretching”. In fact, pilates is an effective movement training system for fitness and resistance workouts with the adaptability to allow regression for rehabilitation. That means we can change it to suit your specific needs and capabilities.
Many people find going to a gym tedious, intimidating or just plain hard. Working out on the reformer will give you an opportunity to perform eccentric resistance training, which is vital for bone and muscle health as well as improving your fitness levels.
Pilates provides means for toning and sculpting muscles as opposed to “bulking up”. It also provides great variety from traditional weight lifting, and when done under the instruction of a clinical pilates instructor will allow for the safest possible workout. It’s also a great way of developing the required conditioning to be able to lift weights safely and comfortably if that’s what you’d like to be able to do.
Should I do clinical pilates on a mat or reformer?
Mat pilates is typically done on a mat with light props such as balls and bands and incorporates various exercises to work the whole body or a particular muscle or muscle group.
Reformer Pilates combines similar movement patterns with the use of a machine to achieve more or less load and to help support and set the body up into good form. The reformer is often the easier way to start pilates training particularly if you’re dealing with pain and injury.
What is the difference between mat and reformer pilates?
Joseph Pilates developed extremely vigorous exercises to be performed on the floor using your body as the resistance (mat work); over the years these exercises have been modified and streamlined to provide many achievable steps in the progress to the vigorous “classical mat work”.
Pilates equipment such as the Reformer were designed by Joseph to provide resistance that could be modified depending on the ability of the client and the benefit to be gained from the exercise; often a lighter resistance can make an exercise much harder than when it’s performed with greater resistance! The reformer also allows us to provide more support and stability during recovery from injury.
Melbourne Osteohealth utilises all of these approaches to help you achieve your goals; reflecting your needs and abilities at the time. We believe our flexibility in approach will ensure your classes are always challenging, beneficial and interesting for you.
How often should I do Pilates?
“In 10 sessions you will feel the difference, in 20 sessions you will see the difference, in 30 sessions you will have a new body”
– Joseph Pilates
1-3 times per week is the ideal but this needs to be adjusted to reflect your general health and fitness and your other physical activity.
Can I still do pilates if I have an injury?
At Melbourne Osteohealth, your initial your Initial Pilates assessment is with an Osteopath so you can be sure to be carefully reviewed before starting your regular sessions. Your exercises will be carefully selected to reflect your abilities or injury.
I already do another form of exercise such as running, cycling and/or yoga. Should I stop if I want to do pilates?
Not unless you want to.
Pilates is great on its own as regular exercise but it also easily compliments other forms of exercise by helping to improve your self-awareness, strengthen your core and improves biomechanics (the way your body moves).
Our clinical pilates and rehabilitation programs are typically tailored to enhance your performance in whatever activities you do. People who do a combination of Pilates and yoga often see an improvement in their yoga practice as their joints become freer and easier to stabilise during challenging poses. Runners and cyclists often find improvements as they learn to better track their hip/leg/ankle motions to reduce problems such as ITB syndrome or Achilles tendonopathies.
I'm pregnant. Can I do pilates?
Pilates is usually safe to do in pre/post natal situations where the client has already been doing pilates, does not present with morning sickness, low blood pressure, advanced pelvic instability, a history of miscarriages or advised not to do any exercise by their physician.
Pilates in general helps you to activate and strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and transverse abdominus muscle which supports your stomach and lower back. Both are very important to maintain during and after pregnancy to reduce pelvic and lower back pain, and may help the recovery process.
Talk to our osteopaths about joining a small group session. Smaller groups mean more attention, which may be safest for you and your baby.
I don't have any injuries or problems; can I still do clinical pilates?
Clinical Pilates isn’t just for people with pain or injury. It’s also suitable for the healthy or highly active person who wants some individual Pilates coaching, similar to personal training, to help improve their personal Pilates practice, improve functional movement and fitness, or just for general health and well-being. We can discuss your personal exercise goals with you at your initial Clinical Pilates assessment and tailor a suitable program to achieve your individual goals.
Do I need a referral to do Clinical Pilates?
No, but it may help. If you are coming in with an existing injury/illness which has been diagnosed by a health professional such as your GP or Physio we find a referral letter briefly outlining your condition and your exercise goals can help us to plan the most suitable series of exercises for you. The more information we have, the better.
Can I claim Pilates through my health fund?
Health Insurance funds provide varying level of cover for Pilates depending on which health fund you’re with and the level of cover that you have. Coverage is typically only applicable when a pilates program is implemented for a specific injury or condition but not for general well-being and fitness.
If your health fund covers Osteopathy then you can claim on the spot for the initial Pilates assessment through our HICAPS system.
Massage & Myotherapy FAQ’s
What should I expect during my initial massage?
We will ask you to come in a little early before your initial appointment to fill out some paperwork that will help us better understand your health. We will also ask what you’d like us to focus on and what you’re hoping to get from the session so that we can tailor it to meet your needs.
How often should I get a massage?
The health benefits of a regular massage are AMAZING For both the mind and body. Massage helps in relieving muscle tension, increases joint mobility and flexibility… Plus it makes you feel GREAT. Regular massage is a great addition to any health and fitness routine.
There are many benefits of massage:[su_list_fav]
- Relieves stress and tension
- Reduces pain and stiffness
- Improves circulation
- Boosts your immune system
- Improves movement and flexibility
Will I be covered during the session?
We provide towels so that you are properly draped at all times to keep you comfortable.
Are there any circumstances where I should not have a massage?
Massage is gentle enough to be performed in almost any circumstances but if you have a contagious illness (such as gastro or influenza) you should probably wait until you have recovered.
Post-surgical massage can be really useful in aiding recovery but we usually need to wait 4 weeks before we can work directly on the area. We can certainly work around the area prior to this though.
What is the difference between remedial and relaxation massage?
Our Remedial massage therapists will take into account your posture, muscle tone and any imbalances that you may have. With this information they will tailor the massage to provide treatment for any specific problems you might have. They have times available at 60 minutes and 30 minutes. Rebates can be claimed for these sessions from health funds if you have the appropriate cover.
A relaxation massage uses techniques of both light and deep strokes to treat areas of muscle tension and discomfort within the body caused by stress or injury. Gentle manipulations of the muscles are also performed. They also have times available at 60 minutes and 30 minutes. Private rebates are generally not available on these services.
What can I claim?
Most health care funds offer a rebate for remedial massage and myotherapy. We would advise you to check in with your specific health fund.
There are generally no rebates for relaxation massages.
What is sports massage?
Sports massage uses deep tissue techniques over the body of the muscle, gentle articulation of joints, stretching of muscles that all help to relax and warm the muscles. These techniques improve range of motion, which in turn helps you to work more efficiently and reduces the risk of injury.
What is pregnancy massage?
Like any other massage with a combination of gentle and deeper strokes but in safe positions with tailored supports and cushions to accommodate a growing belly.