Osteopathy: Frequently asked questions
How can an osteopath help?
As a complimentary health service, osteopathy can provide benefits in the treatment of many complaints, independently or in conjunction with appropriate medical intervention. Scientific studies have shown osteopathy to be a particularly effective intervention for back pain. Generally, osteopaths can be effective in treating and managing the following:
Neck, back, pelvic pain
Muscular or joint pains
How does Osteopathy differ from physiotherapy or chiropractic?
The philosophy of osteopathy is unique in that it takes a much more holistic or inclusive approach to treatment. By acknowledging and addressing the connections that exist throughout the body, osteopaths treat more than just local sites of pain. They also utilise a multitude of different techniques specialised to address different tissues and systems of the body. For example pain around a particular level of the spine may be successfully treated by addressing the organs that receive their nerve input from the same level and vice versa when treating digestive related complaints. The ultimate aim of osteopathy is to assist the innate self-healing properties of the body by promoting unrestricted circulation of nerve signals, blood and lymphatic fluid.
Are there any risks involved?
Osteopathy is considered to have one of the safest approaches to treatment amongst the complimentary modalities that treat pain and disease.
Overall, an osteopathy session is generally gentle and relaxing. In most cases following treatment there is at least partial relief of symptoms however depending on the types of techniques used, some people may feel some soreness around the sites of treatment or experience a light lethargy in the days after a session. Refer to: "What can I expect after a treatment"
Is Osteopathy covered by my health insurance?
In Quebec osteopathic sessions with a D.O. are covered by most private health insurance providers. Some insurance providers will not cover sessions by osteopaths registered as M.F. or M.R.F as these practitioners are still in the process of completing all necessary professional requirements.
Can I be treated while pregnant?
Yes. Osteopathic treatment throughout the course of pregnancy can assist in helping your body adjust to and cope with the extensive physical changes taking place. Gentle articulation and massage through the spine and pelvis can relieve aches and strains to provide a more comfortable pregnancy and can result in an easier delivery.
Is osteopathy recommended for babies?
Yes, in conjunction with conventional medical treatment, osteopathy can assist in promoting the baby’s optimal development and providing relief from persistent strains following birth. Commonly developed issues that can be addressed by osteopaths in babies include:
Uneven head shape
What can I expect during a treatment?
The first consultation with an osteopathic practitioner will start with a thorough investigation of your medical history. The osteopath uses this to identify any significant events that may be a factor in your presenting complaint. There are obvious elements to take into account, like surgeries or past illnesses, as well as current conditions and medications taken. Important emotional events are also relevant factors in presenting complaints, as the body can often react to psychological stressors. Knowing as much as possible about your unique presentation will help the osteopath develop a treatment approach that works best for you.
Following the investigation of your medical history, an osteopathic evaluation will be performed during which the osteopath will explain to you his observations and how they possibly relate to your presenting complaint. Treatment will then begin once you have a clear understanding of the goals, plan and scope of osteopathy for you.
At the end of the session you will be given recommendations to follow as part of your recovery. This usually includes diet and exercise advice, but may also include the suggestion of stretches or specific methods of relaxation.
What can I expect after a treatment?
Depending on the techniques used during the session, it is common to feel the following sensations in the days following a treatment:
Symptoms are usually strongest after the first session, as the body needs time to adjust to a new experience. Symptoms typically result from the release of toxins and metabolic by-products that have accumulated within stressed parts of the body. It can take up to 48 hours to eliminate these toxins and to fully incorporate the beneficial changes from treatment.
If you feel unsure about any side affects you experience following a treatment, please don't hesitate to contact and discuss them with your osteopath.
What is the cost of an osteopathic treatment?
The fee per treatment session is $90-$100, depending on location (approx. 45 minute duration). These fees are exempt from taxes. Osteopathy treatments are covered by most private health insurance plans and are tax-deductible as medical expenses.