Osteopathy is a gentle and safe manual therapy that is centered around treating the whole person. This means that your osteopathic practitioner will listen attentively to your concerns while taking into account the various factors that can influence pain or discomfort. Your practitioner will ask you questions relating to your medical history and the details of your symptoms. This information will help your practitioner to develop a treatment plan with you that is tailored towards your individual needs and goals. Osteopathic practitioners understand that physical problems can be caused by emotional stress and strain, and work to help you find the source of your problem.
Osteopathy uses gentle manual techniques to help decrease or eliminate pain. These include soft-tissue techniques, which may involve light, sustained touch, or indirect techniques where the symptomatic joint is placed in a position of least discomfort to help with relaxation. Myofascial release, cranial sacral, and visceral manipulation are among the various tools that osteopathic practitioners are trained in. As well, gentle, rhythmic oscillatory joint mobilization and contract-relax type techniques may be used to try to increase the range of motion. Each treatment is tailored towards the individual’s specific needs and generally involves little to no discomfort. In other words, the hands-on treatment should feel good, and quite often has a relaxing effect.
In addition to manual techniques, osteopathy sessions often include an educational component where your osteopathic practitioner will provide you with information to help you to make sense of your pain and will provide you with movement strategies, modifications to daily activities, or exercises to give you control over your pain management.
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What happens during my first consultation?
Your osteopathic practitioner will ask about your problem and symptoms to get an idea of how they can help you. This will include your medical history, any medications you are taking or other factors that may not appear to be directly related to your problem. Your osteopathic practitioner will advise you if they can treat you or you need to be referred. Your osteopathic practitioner will conduct an assessment and clinical tests. These include postural assessments, observing range of motion, and activities or exercises, which will help determine how to formulate a plan to help you. For example, you may be asked to lift your arm or legs, or to bend so that your practitioner can observe your movements. Osteopathy takes a whole of body approach to treatment. Your osteopathic practitioner may look at the area that is troubling you as well as other parts of your body. For example if you have a sore knee, your osteopath may also look at your ankle, pelvis and back. With your permission, your osteopathic practitioner may feel your joints and tissues with their hands. Your osteopathic practitioner 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.
Is Osteopathy covered by health insurance?
Osteopathic manual therapy is not covered by MSP, as we are not physicians. However more and more extended benefits companies will now cover osteopathy (when provided by an Osteopathy BC member) so please check with your company for the specifics of your plan. Payment is due at the time of your appointment. We will issue you with a receipt which you may submit to your insurance company for reimbursement (if covered by your plan).
Do I need a doctor’s referral?
No, you do not need a doctor’s referral to visit an osteopathic practitioner, unless it is required by your insurance company.
What should I wear to my appointment?
Comfortable, stretchy clothing is ideal, for example, sweat pants or shorts and tank top or cotton t-shirt.
What do I need to bring?
Bring along any X-rays, scans or test results that you may have.
Is osteopathic treatment painful?
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 osteopathic practitioner will aim to make you as comfortable as possible and will only do so with your permission. If at anytime you wish for your practitioner to stop, let them know and they will do so. You may 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 osteopathic practitioner to discuss your concerns.
How many treatments are generally needed, and how often?
The first follow-up visit is usually booked within 1-2 weeks following the initial consultation. Most people can expect to begin to feel relief within the first three treatments, however, more chronic conditions may take longer to resolve. Follow up visits are typically booked anywhere from 2-4 weeks apart, and treatment frequency is based on individual needs, which your practitioner will discuss with you as you formulate your treatment plan together.
Osteopathic Practitioners treat people of all ages and osteopathic treatment is tailored to meet the individual needs of each patient. Because osteopathic practitioners look at the ‘whole’ picture of human functioning, they also use a variety of approaches which acknowledge the many factors contributing to balance and health.
Osteopathic manual therapy can be effective for pain relief and increasing joint range of motion.
Additional benefits can include a deep sense of relaxation, reduced stress, and the ability to be more active with less pain.If you are experiencing pain or dysfunction, or want to take preventative measures to improve your health, osteopathy may help.
Osteopathic Practitioners may be able to help if you are experiencing problems such as*:
*Osteopathic practitioners are not medically trained and do not diagnose medical conditions. Any information provided by an osteopathic practitioner is not intended to replace medical advice. Osteopathy is not a replacement for medical diagnosis and treatment.