• Can osteopathy help with my problems?


Osteopaths are very well trained to evaluate whether the treatment is suitable for you or they should refer you to your GP or other therapist.

• What qualifications do osteopaths have?

Osteopaths are highly trained healthcare workers. They need to complete the training of minimum 5 years, if they study part-time, or 4 years, if they study full-time. It is essential for every osteopath and the related school to be registered at the one of the world’s recognised osteopathic associations. After training completion, at least twenty-five hours of professional updating are a must.

• Do I need a GP referral to see an osteopath?

Osteopaths are healthcare workers who deal with functional disorders, therefore, they establish their own clinical diagnosis based on the history of medical illness and detailed osteopathic examination. Although you do not need a GP’s referral to see an osteopath, the patient and both practitioners could benefit greatly from this cooperation. If your osteopath thinks that your condition requires an MD’s visit, he/she will refer you to your GP. Osteopaths deal primarily with functional disorders, whereas pathology remains in the domain of conventional medicine. For this reason, there are no conflicts between the two. Quite the contrary, they are rather complementary.

• Who can be treated?

Osteopathy is suitable for everyone – newborn babies, seniors, even for people in great shape. Age is not an obstacle to have an osteopathic treatment. Treatments are specifically tailored to suit individual needs of every patient.

• Can I have osteopathic treatments after surgery (e.g. spine surgery)?

Osteopathy is a very effective postoperative treatment (part of postoperative rehabilitation) which, because of its gentle and non invasive approach it helps the natural process of recovery and body healing. Some people, who had e.g. spine surgery, may have, after a while, recurrent symptoms. Osteopathy can prevent the need for a new surgery, in fact, if done in time, osteopathic treatments can prevent the need for any surgery at all. Better safe than sorry.

• Why do children need osteopathic treatments?

For eventual complications at birth or (traumatic) birth itself, it can happen that the baby’s body has to cope with imbalance just from the start. In time, the body starts to compensate for this, but the signs and symptoms of the imbalance may occur soon after the birth or much later afterwards. Therefore, children are recommended to have osteopathic treatments soon after birth. The reasons for this are many changes happening in a child’s cranium during the first six years of life. Even the anatomy changes gradually to adapt to a child’s growth and development. Children should only undergo treatments done by practitioners additionally trained to work with children.

• Can I have osteopathic treatments during pregnancy?

Having osteopathic treatments during pregnancy can be highly beneficial to both mums and babies. During this time osteopathy is a very safe therapy and your osteopath will only use techniques to improve your general condition and health. Osteopathic treatments can make pregnancy much more comfortable. It relaxes the old pelvic stress and ensures a good pelvic structural balance, which enables the baby’s easier passage through the birth canal and reduces the possibilities of complications during labour.

• Why is osteopathic care more important as we grow older?

As we grow older, some unpredictable developments happen in our bodies, but it is possible to postpone them. Osteopathic care is extremely important for all people in their Third Age exactly because of intense age-associated changes. As we grow older, joint, ligaments, muscles and other tissues become much less able to withstand daily stresses. As a result, the pain caused by degenerative changes and tissue injuries increases in frequency whereas the recovery time becomes protracted. Gentle osteopathic treatments accompanied with physical exercise and good health tips will decrease the pain, muscle tensions and increase mobility.

• Does every person get equal treatment?

Both osteopathic evaluation and treatments are holistically based, in other words, focused on every person’s individual needs. The choice of techniques used depends on the severity of the problem, but also the patient’s health condition, age and nervous tension. In general, osteopathic techniques are very gentle, especially when treating children or seniors.

• How many treatments will I need?

Several factors influence and determine patients’ recovery time – age, the persistence and severity of problems, patients’ daily requirements and general body condition. Some patients experience an immediate relief, whereas the others learn that they need more time. After assessing the patient’s response to the treatment, osteopaths can estimate the recovery time. Most patients feel some improvement after just one or two treatments, but, the longer you have had the problem, the longer it will take to recover. Patients’ commitment, regular treatments, doing exercises at home and a diet, or modifications in the way of life, will also determine the final result and your long-term healing benefit of the osteopathic therapy.

• To what extent does your profession/workplace cause your problems?

Careers including static sitting position on often inadequate chairs, such as when using personal computers or driving, over a longer period of time can provoke incorrect posture. Such posture will create stresses and cause restricted motion of some parts of the spine. The common examples are shortened tendons.
Symptoms such as back, neck, shoulders, arms, joints and fist pain will occur only because your body cannot continue adapting to your irregular positions. These symptoms can be caused by physical effort, emotional stress or a disease. Sometimes minor efforts can provoke more pain and/or treatment can last longer than anticipated. This happens because your body has reached the bounds of its capacity to cope with the combined effects of poor posture and past injuries – every new stress is “the drop that spilled the glass”. To solve this kind of problems, regular treatments, as well as adding exercise to your daily life, are an imperative.

• How can osteopathy improve your workplace?

Low back pain and repeated lower back injuries have been connected with decreased quality of life in an individual. Timely and effective osteopathic health care could not only prevent lost working days but also contribute to the quality of life in the workplace as well as during time off.
Certain companies have already recognised the value of osteopathy and now gain great benefits from their cooperation. This has enabled them to create a healthier atmosphere in the workplace, increase productivity and reduce the amount of sick leaves.

• What is an osteopath?

Over the past years, osteopathy has become increasingly popular in Croatia and more people are acquainted with osteopathic treatments. Becoming an osteopath requires a basic education of several years, but to become an expert in it, it takes lifelong learning and continuous perfection. People who completed only one part of the training shall not use the title “osteopath”, but are free to apply acquired osteopathic principles and techniques within their own therapeutic practices. Osteopaths who have graduated from an osteopathic school have a title DO. Ask your osteopath, how many years of training he/she has! All osteopaths must complete about 5 years of training. They have extensive knowledge in anatomy, physiology, neurology, orthopaedics, radiology, pathology, biomechanics and paediatrics, which makes them be skilled enough for osteopathic diagnostics and provides the medical ground for the treatment. After the first 5 years of basic education, some osteopaths specialise in specific areas, e.g. paediatrics who work mostly with children. The upgrade is huge, so that even patients themselves notice the differences among particular osteopaths, which depends on their area of specialisation. Osteopaths establish their osteopathic diagnosis and, if the symptoms of the patient do not require osteopathic treatment, will refer the patient to their GP.

• What is the difference between an osteopath, a chiropractor and a physiotherapist?

Osteopaths, chiropractors and physiotherapists treat the same conditions but have different approaches and techniques. If you are thinking of visiting a physiotherapist or a chiropractor, which is much more common in Croatia, than having an osteopathic treatment is the right choice for you. Many of my clients went to see numerous therapists and now prefer a holistic, osteopathic approach. The most important thing is that your therapist is well trained and that he/she respects the code of ethics of his/her school.

• What is the difference between an osteopath and a chiropractor?

Osteopathy was founded in 1874 by Andrew Taylor Still, the American Doctor of Medicine. One of his students was Daniel David Palmer who founded chiropractic in 1895. This relation between Dr. Still and Palmer is not commonly mentioned in the history of chiropractic. Despite these early links, osteopathy and chiropractic are nowadays rather different. The philosophy that both osteopathy and chiropractic share is the importance of the integrity of the spine in ensuring good health. Chiropractors focus on spine manipulation techniques. On the contrary, osteopaths do not manipulate the joints like chiropractors do but use other structural and soft tissue techniques, as well as cranial osteopathy in order to avoid possible side effects. Osteopathic treatments last longer, mostly up to 60 minutes and require fewer sessions, approximately once or twice a week. This is my expert opinion as well as the clinical experience of patients, but chiropractors might have slightly different views and opinions.

• What is the difference between osteopathy and craniosacral therapy?

Osteopathic training is longer and requires wider medical knowledge. Cranial osteopathy is only one part of osteopathy, thus, every osteopathic practitioner is a cranial practitioner as well, which can also be studied individually. When studied individually, it is usually called craniosacral therapy and represents an excellent therapeutic system, but it cannot be compared to craniosacral osteopathy which is part of the basic osteopathic training and represents more stratified and precise system. Osteopathy is a kind of manual therapy that does not only look into the physical symptoms, but also tries to find the underlying cause of problems. By examining in detail any changes in the structure and functions of joints, muscles, ligaments, bones or connecting tissues, osteopaths are able to interpret the patterns of functional dysfunctions. Osteopathic manipulative treatment can restore the normal movements of dysfunctional areas, enabling the tissues to renew themselves naturally, and by doing so, osteopathy is an extensive support for health.