What sort of training does an osteopath have?
Modern osteopathic colleges give either four years of full-time medical training to provide an honors degree or five years full-time medical training providing a masters degree in osteopathic medicine. All osteopaths in New Zealand must complete at least 25 hours of ongoing training every year.
What is the difference between osteopathy, physiotherapy and chiropractic treatment?
The way that osteopaths view, diagnose and treat the body is quite different to other modalities. The sensitive palpation (diagnosis by feel) skills that osteopaths use, allow us to feel even subtle changes to normal movement in your structures.
We use these skills to assess and specifically adjust the skeleton, ligaments, fascia, musculature, as well as the viscera (organs), and have special techniques for each of these. Osteopaths view the body as a whole and treat the whole body.
Why do osteopaths work quite differently to one another?
Osteopaths are taught a wide range of techniques so have many in their tool box to choose from. Some osteopaths use mainly our direct (structural) techniques which you will associate with “clicking” joints, these are great at providing short term changes. Other osteopaths use more gentle (indirect) techniques. These may not feel like much is happening on the outside, but with their ability to feel through different structures to the bones, they are able to both diagnose even subtle changes and make adjustments that lead to long term changes, as this process is guided by the body. These are the treatment of choice for osteopaths who want to deal with impact injuries and chronic problems and create permanent change. There are also osteopaths who use both types of techniques. Every osteopath will change and adapt their techniques according to what they want to achieve in practice and the type of injuries they are presented with.
Why would I visit an osteopath?
If you are experiencing pain in any area of the body, or your body may just simply not be functioning as well as you would like. We take a very detailed case history and if we feel your pain needs to be investigated by your GP we will refer you. It is also a good idea to have occasional treatment in the absence of pain and dysfunction to maintain a healthy functioning system.
How long is a session?
You will need to allow 45 minutes for a session, which will include assessment, diagnosis, treatment, exercises and management programs where appropriate.
What do I need to bring?
Any documents that you feel are appropriate such as x-rays, ultrasound or MRI/CT scan reports and your ACC claim number if you have an existing claim. If you need to fill out a new ACC form we will provide you with this.
What should I wear for a treatment?
Most types of clothing can be worked around but if you are wearing particularly tight jeans or pants you may want to bring some shorts or loose clothing or undress to your underwear if you are comfortable with this.
Will my osteopathic treatment hurt?
The treatment provided at the Wanaka Osteopathic Clinic is generally gentle, but releasing of tight muscles can give some discomfort, just like receiving a firm massage.
What can I expect to feel during and after the treatment?
Depending on the area you have had treated and the condition of your body, you may feel aching as your musculoskeletal system releases in areas that have been treated and areas where related compensation is occurring.
Generally people feel that their pain or discomfort is a little easier after the treatment and this continues over the following days.
Sometimes chronic areas can “flare up” a little as new blood supply is delivered to areas of chronic dysfunction or inflammation. Patients often comment that they can feel their body adjusting in the days following the treatment.
How long do the effects of the treatment last?
Because the treatment is very specific to the type and cause of the problem, it is normal to get long term effects and resolve of painful and stiff areas.
The maintaining factors which make up the problem will also be identified, which will allow the patient to avoid situations where poor posture or aggravation may be occurring.
Is there anything I should do/not do in between treatments, and will I be given any specific exercises?
Depending on the presence of maintaining factors (factors which cause/aggravate the problem), some activities may need to be altered or changed. Often specific stretches or strengthening exercises are given.
It is recommended to avoid any excessive lifting, straining or very strenuous activities while you are undergoing treatment initially to allow the areas that need to heal the energy and space to do so.
How many treatments will I need to have?
This depends on what is being presented. We recommend a minimum of two treatments to allow for changes and chronic issues will take some weeks to change and heal.
Your first follow up will be within a few days for acute injuries or 1-2 weeks for chronic problems. Achieving results sometimes requires two sessions per week, in some cases, for 1-2 weeks.