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Osteopathy - FAQ's

Osteopathy is a bit of a misnomer. Although the word means disease coming from bones it would be more appropriate to refer to disease coming from the joints. However osteopathy involves work on muscles, tendons, ligaments and all the tissues of the body directly and indirectly.

Generally no. Only in very specific circumstances are these types of imaging required, in which case you will be referred accordingly.

Radiologists say that 95% of X-rays conducted on behalf of doctors are not necessary.

Chiropractors often like to use X-rays for their diagnosis. Osteopathy involves refined palpation (touch) and observation which is generally sufficient to obtain more information than that shown on an X-ray.

No. Conventional diagnosis is part of osteopathy. This screens out patients with pain that is not coming from their muscles and joints, and they are referred accordingly.

On some occasions the revenue insists on a doctor's referral letter for osteopathy to validate claims for tax rebate.

Osteopathy and chiropractic have common historical origins and treat similar conditions with similar techniques.

Chiropractors tend to focus on spinal manipulation and often prescribe many frequent short sessions (10-20 minutes). Chiropractors often keep patients coming back for treatment when they are well.

Osteopathy tends to involve longer treatments (30-45 minutes) with less frequency.

Osteopathy involves work on joints other than the spinal ones and various techniques on muscles and other tissues.

Chiropractors often use the title doctor, but they are "Doctors of Chiropractic" not medical doctors.

Training in osteopathy is primarily structural. Continuous professional development can involve studying various post-graduate courses such as "cranial osteopathy". Cranial osteopathy involves very gentle energy based techniques, which can be used throughout the body and not just on the head as the term implies.

Some practitioners of osteopathy may describe themselves as primarily structural and others as a primarily cranial.

Structural osteopathy has a greater similarity to chiropractic than cranial osteopathy.

Osteopathy is a 4-5 year full time degree course whereas Physiotherapy is a 3-year degree course. This is partly because training in osteopathy involves becoming a primary care practitioner (able to use conventional diagnosis to screen for pain not coming from muscles and joints).

Physiotherapists tend to have a muscular approach to diagnosis and are more likely to use machines such as ultrasound, TENS electric nerve stimulation and laser. Some physiotherapists do postgraduate courses in manipulation but primary training does not include it.

Osteopathy and physiotherapy often involve massage, specialised stretching techniques and exercise advice.

Physiotherapists are often perceived as more mainstream due to involvement in post-surgical rehabilitation in hospitals and treatment of sport's injuries.

William Hauxwell primarily uses structural osteopathy when it comes to the treatment of adults.

William Hauxwell focuses a lot on manipulation of the sacroiliac joints (large joints in the pelvis). These joints are generally ignored by Chiropractors and (he believes) insufficiently treated by other practitioners of osteopathy.

He believes these joints are generally the source of mechanical problems leading to back pain and headaches and certain knee problems. When these joints are manipulated properly he believes he can get a greater proportion of people better with long-term preventative effects.

William Hauxwell often uses rib manipulation and sometimes a specific type of acupuncture as well as other techniques for the treatment of shoulder problems.

He believes he can often resolve shoulder problems, which have not responded to other therapies or therapists.

Yes. Many people experience back pain during pregnancy and osteopathy is safe and effective. It will not harm your baby.

Yes. Osteopathy can be very helpful for babies particularly those with infantile colic. This type of osteopathy involves very gentle techniques.

Yes. Strain patterns produced at birth can give rise to immediate discomfort in the form of colic but will remain if left untreated and can cause problems later in life. 2-3 sessions of osteopathy after the baby has passed the 2-week mark should be sufficient to remove these patterns.

A T Still, the founder of osteopathy, said, "Find it fix it then leave it alone". Most problems once resolved do not need further treatment.

However some people that get recurrent pain or problems, which cannot be resolved completely, may require osteopathy for maintenance.

If you have any kind of fall or accident it is advisable to have osteopathy to free up locked joints which may store up problems in the future.

It is prudent to bring children for osteopathy once or twice a year as knocks and falls can occur and create problems for the future when they are harder to resolve.

All the private healthcare providers cover osteopathy. The amount per treatment and number of treatments covered depends on the scheme and provider.

Osteopathy is a tax deductible expense (now only at the lower rate of tax). MED1 forms can be downloaded from www.revenue.ie. Sometimes they require a letter of referral from your GP.