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Frequently asked questions

About Osteopathy

Osteopathy is a form of manual therapy used to diagnose and treat musculoskeletal pain, injuries and disorders.

Osteopathy is a hands on approach to healthcare recognising the important link between the structures of your body and the way it works. Osteopaths focus on how your skeleton, joints, muscles, nerves and circulation work together to improve your health and well-being.

Osteopathy does not only address the individual injury or disorder but furthermore focuses on the underlying cause to avoid future recurrence.

Osteopaths treat more than you think. They focus on how your skeleton, joints, muscles, nerves, circulatory system, connective tissue and internal organs function as a whole body unit. Osteopathic treatment is commonly sort for musculoskeletal injuries, pain or discomfort including but not limited to:

  • Neck and back pain
  • Sporting injuries
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Muscular pain
  • Hip, knee and foot pain
  • Shoulder, elbow and wrist pain
  • Postural problems
  • Pregnancy related pain
  • Sciatica
  • Arthritis and joint pain
  • Repetitive muscle strains
  • Tennis elbow
  • Tendonitis.

It’s not the role of any health professional to try to define what another health care professional is, and what they do. If you would like a definition, please speak with somebody currently practicing in the relevant profession. What we can do is explain the defining characteristics of Osteopathy, its underlying philosophy and its broad range of techniques.

While “Biomechanics” has become one of the most rapidly developing areas of medicine in recent years, Osteopathy has always incorporated biomechanical analysis of how injuries occur and what the secondary effects are likely to be. To take a simple example, if you go to an Osteopath with a knee injury, the Osteopath will do much more than just examine and treat your knee. They will want to know exactly how the injury occurred in order to assess not just which tissues in the knee are injured, but also whether there may be any involvement of other areas with a mechanical relationship to the knee, such as the foot, hip, lower back, pelvis and the associated soft tissues.

They will then want to analyse any possible secondary effects. For instance, you may be “avoiding” the bad knee and putting more weight on the other side. Over a period of time, this may lead to problems developing in the lower back or in the “good” knee. The Osteopath will then use this information to prescribe a treatment plan that addresses not just the knee, but all areas of the body and associated tissues that may be involved. The plan will include attention, not just to the joints and their associated soft tissues, but also to the blood supply of the affected areas, and nerve supply etc., ensuring all factors are considered to promote successful healing. It is this “whole body, multi-system” approach that has been the basis of Osteopathy’s success over the last century.

All osteopaths in Australia complete five years of university education, achieving both undergraduate and post-graduate Masters qualification.

A large component of the university education is developing the osteopath’s “hands on” techniques, which are involved in all 5 years of the university degree.

Osteopathy is a gentle form of hands on health care that can help women with pregnancy related pain and discomfort throughout all stages of pregnancy. Your osteopath will carefully select the most appropriate treatment techniques to maximise the safety and comfort of you and your growing baby1.

Many women can experience musculoskeletal pain and discomfort throughout their pregnancies. Osteopaths can assess and treat many pregnancy related complaints enabling women to enjoy and continue through their pregnancy in comfort.

1 Research and Evidence
Osteopathic manipulative treatment of back pain and related symptoms during pregnancy: a randomized controlled trial. Licciardone JC, Buchanan S, Hensel KL, King HH, Fulda KG, Stoll ST

Published in American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 2010 Jan;202(1):43.e1-8.

Osteopathy recognises the particular stresses a child’s body may experience as they grow from babies to teenagers, and has developed an approach to work with children of all ages.

Osteopathic care is gentle. It can assist the young body to adapt to growth-related changes which may prevent other health problems. It aims to allow your baby to grow into a healthy child and, ultimately, a healthy young adult.

Osteopaths treat babies, children and teenagers for a range of conditions. Early treatment may prevent other problems from occurring.

For specific information regarding your child’s condition or injury, please contact us at the clinic.

No, you can make an appointment directly without a referral. A referral is generally not required to see an Osteopath.

The only time you will need a referral is if you wish to consult an Osteopath under Medicare’s Enhanced Primary Care program or the Referrals are required if you have been diagnosed with a chronic medical condition and are eligible for Chronic Disease Management (CDM) assistance. A GP must complete a specific referral for this in addition to if you qualify for the Veterans’ Affairs scheme.

Nine months of growing and carrying a beautiful baby through pregnancy, actually means 9 months of muscles, tendons, joints and ligaments undergoing many postural changes and strain. In addition to the body finally enduring a long-awaited labour and birth natural or caesareanit is not uncommon for new mums to experience pain and discomfort as their bodies recover and try to readjust to postnatal postures.

As wonderful and natural as pregnancy and labour can be, there’s no escaping the fact that a large amount of stress and strain are placed on the entire body, particularly the spine, pelvis and sacrum.

Here is a list of things that a woman who has recently given birth and now caring for a newborn baby or infant (breast-feeding or not) could be experiencing:

  • Lower back pain
  • Hip pain
  • Groin pain
  • Pain around the pubic bone
  • Pain around the tail bone (coccyx)
  • Mid to upper back pain (especially during and after breastfeeding)
  • Neck pain
  • Headaches
  • Wrist pain

It is important for all women to have a check up with their preferred practitioner (ie osteopath ) and seek treatment for any aches and pains post childbirth. There can be alignment issues, strains, imbalances and postural issues that Osteopathy can address and treat to improve the comfort of the mother in the short term and help minimise ongoing issues long term. Osteopaths will also offer advice with the rehabilitation and strengthening of your pelvic floor and core stability muscles.

Osteopaths can provide advice on effective breast-feeding posture to minimise neck and back discomfort and headaches as a result of poor posture.

About Massage

Benefits of Remedial Massage include general pain relief, reduction of physical tension & stress, increased recovery from injuries, potential quick return to your normal activities and restoration of movement.

These days you can just about go anywhere to get a massage. However as easy as it is to find a massage outlet, it is almost just as easy to be able to call yourself a Massage therapist. This is mainly due to the fact that massage therapy is a relatively unregulated industry. So what does that mean for you?

Well, we believe that it is extremely important to be aware of more than just whether your massage therapist is ‘good’ or ‘cheap’, but more importantly whether they are safe. It is important to know what sort of training the therapist has gone through to acquire the appropriate technical and communication skills, qualifications gained and also what type of experience they have had. Other information that will help you make an informed decision about your therapist is whether they are able to provide health fund rebates and whether they are insured.

At Focus Osteopathy, we take professionalism and safety extremely seriously. As you’ll see below, we have provided a biography of our senior Massage therapist, Craig Hayes, as an example of what we look for in a qualified, safe and professional practitioner. Use this as a guide as to determine if you are in ‘good hands’!

Craig gained his Diploma of Remedial Massage in 2004 after beginning his training of nationally recognised qualification studies in 2002. He has since had over 10 years of clinical experience. He is also registered with numerous Private Insurance Health Funds. In addition, Craig has also performed Sports Medicine with elite and local sports teams prior to his studies and Craig has a genuine passion for helping people.

A treatment with Craig at Focus Osteopathy will involve a detailed medical history in order to understand any pain or discomfort, a full assessment of movement patterns, as well as helpful and practical advice to alleviate the stress in your body so you feel better.
Not only is Craig fully accredited, experienced and dedicated, he strongly encourages a general wellbeing of all of his clients.

To find out more about Remedial Massage Therapy at Focus Osteopathy, please visit our Remedial Massage page.

About Pilates and Exercise Physiology

Pilates is a body conditioning routine that helps to not only build flexibility, but also strength, endurance, and coordination in the legs, abdominals, arms and back.

An accredited Exercise Physiologist is an allied health professional. They provide exercise and lifestyle therapies for the prevention and management of chronic disease, injury and disability. Click here for a list of conditions that an Exercise Physiologist will typically work with.

Exercise physiology is a holistic approach to healthcare that focuses on improving attitudes and behaviour toward exercise and wellness. Exercise Physiologists aim to empower people to be active every day.

Some of the services provided by Exercise Physiologists include:

  • Exercise rehabilitation – following injury, dysfunction or pre and post surgery
  • Exercise prescription – including exercise programs
  • Strength and conditioning training
  • Clinical Pilates

Rather than being facilitated in a large group, Clinical Pilates generally involves private 1-on-1, 1-on-2 or a maximum of 1-on-3 sessions. Clinical Pilates is tailored specifically to the individual’s needs which is particularly important when dealing with injury rehabilitation. Clinical Pilates is usually performed in a clinical setting i.e. an osteopathic or physiotherapy clinic.

About appointments and treatments

Your first appointment will include taking a full medical history and examination of the relevant regions, which will enable the practitioner to gain a working diagnosis of your condition. After this, the practitioner will provide you with a management plan and then proceed with the appropriate treatment.

Appointment duration varies based on the time required by the practitioner to diagnose and appropriately treat the condition(s) presented. Typically, your first visit with the Osteopath is slightly longer, so allow up to 45 minutes.

A return consultation can take up to 30 minutes.

Your first visit with an accredited Exercise Physiologist is usually 45 minutes but can take up to an hour, depending on your condition and history. Any follow up sessions are 45 minutes.

This will depend on many factors concerning your presenting condition. Your practitioner can provide you with a treatment plan based on your individual condition. As health care providers we like to get you back on track to good health as quickly as possible with a focus on long term management.

If you have relevant x-rays to your presenting condition or history, it is always best to bring them in at your first appointment. This will ensure the Osteopath can obtain as much information about your injury or situation as possible.

Loose, comfortable clothing (ie gym or yoga gear etc) is the best for your appointments.

Dry needling is the use of solid needles for therapy of muscle pain, sometimes also known as intramuscular stimulation.

By obtaining a detailed patient history, and performing a thorough examination, your practitioner will be able to determine whether you would benefit from dry needling.

During treatment you will feel a light prick sensation of the needle into the muscle trigger point or “knot”. This stimulates neurological reflexes, promotes muscle relaxation and nerve de-sensitisation, ultimately these changes reduce pain. You may also feel a tingling, deep achy sensation in the region being treated, this is normal.

Superficial Dry Needling is NOT Acupuncture. Acupuncture focuses on re-establishing energy flow along meridians of the body, whereas SDN is based upon myofascial trigger point principles and knowledge of anatomy and physiology.

Benefits of Remedial Massage include general pain relief, reduction of physical tension & stress, increased recovery from injuries, potential quick return to your normal activities and restoration of movement.

Health insurance and Medicare

Rebates from Medicare under the Chronic Disease Management (CDM) program are available at Focus Osteopathy for those patients who are eligible. We are registered to accept referrals for patients with chronic conditions under the CDM program, which allows patients to claim a rebate from Medicare. Consult with your doctor to determine whether you qualify for this program.


HICAPS is available at Focus Osteopathy; this enables you to receive your private health rebate up front. Private health funds provide varying levels of cover for Osteopathy. Please contact your health fund for details of your entitled benefits.