The first visit to an osteopath will run along the same lines as an initial visit to a GP. A complete medical history is taken and questions asked about lifestyle, diet and emotional status. The osteopath will want to hear about all symptoms, as well as details of any past accidents or traumas, even if they may seem unrelated to the patient’s current problem.

The osteopath will then perform a musculoskeletal assessment, observe how the patient is using their body, identify any obvious mobility impairment and evaluate posture. Neurological and orthopaedic tests help the osteopath to eliminate possible underlying pathologies and differentiate the basis of the patient’s complaint.

Osteopaths are highly trained to manually locate points of restriction or excessive strain in various parts of the body. Using a finely tuned sense of touch or palpation, the osteopath will assess the spine, joints, muscles and tendons. An osteopath may also refer for further testing (X-rays) to confirm findings, or review existing diagnostic results where available.

The initial consultation will take around 45 minutes to complete, after which the osteopath will be able to offer a diagnosis and discuss a treatment program. Treatment could include such techniques as soft tissue (massage) stretching, to increase blood flow and improve flexibility of joints and muscles; articulation to mobilise joints by being passively taken through their range of motion; dry needling muscle energy, to release tightness on the muscles by alternatively being stretched and made to work against resistance.

If the diagnosis is one that requires further investigation or specialist intervention, an osteopath will suggest a referral to an appropriate practitioner. Osteopaths often treat in conjunction with a GP, dentist, podiatrist or other health care professional.

Because osteopathy emphasises self-healing, an osteopath may also advise, home exercise programs and lifestyle adjustments. All treatment programs are highly individualised and depend on the patient’s current condition, past history, and ability to adapt to change. Determining number of consultations/treatments: Different conditions and individuals will require a different number of treatments to help get you back on track. In general, the longer you have had a condition, the longer it may take to resolve or become properly managed.

Some people find they only need a few consultations, some with more persistent problems require more. A management plan and treatment approach will be discussed with you at the time of consultation.

We use a wide range of gentle treatment techniques including:

  • Soft tissue massage and stretching techniques
  • Articulation/mobilisation techniques – the movement of joints through their range of motion in order to restore function.
  • High Velocity Low Amplitude techniques (HVLA) – the technical term for manipulation, whereby the Osteopath uses a gentle method of maintaining precise positioning of a joint, followed by a mild thrust action.
  • Muscle Energy techniques (MET) – in which tight muscles are gently released by alternately being stretched and made to work against resistance. This helps to restore function to the muscles and surrounding joint structures.
  • Counter-strain techniques – in which a release of restriction is achieved by the placement of the affected joint or muscle in a position of comfort, while applying a ‘counter’ stretch to the antagonists of the tight muscles.
  • Functional techniques – whereby the dysfunctional joint is placed into its preferred resting position, allowing a gentle release of the joint to occur.
  • Osteopathy in the Cranial Field/Biodynamic Approach – gentle release of all structures using the fluid forces of the body.
  • Dry needling (using acupuncture needles) can increase blood supply to a specific area and promote muscle relaxation and fluid drainage
  • At North Melbourne Osteopathy, we will also provide you with specific stretching and strengthening exercises.  This will allow you to be in control of your condition and manage your symptoms away from the clinic.



Australian Osteopathic Association

External website