Shared Care - Working Together for a Healthier Australia
Health Professional


What does an Osteopath do?

An osteopath provides manual therapy to treat a wide variety of musculoskeletal problems and other functional disorders of the body, taking a 'whole of body’ approach. Osteopaths are primary care practitioners, and are trained to be able to recognise conditions that require medical referral. They are also trained to carry out standard medical examinations of the cardiovascular, respiratory and nervous system.


Osteopaths most commonly work with patients suffering from:

  • Back and neck pain
  • Sciatica
  • Headaches
  • Pain in peripheral joints such as shoulders, knees and ankles, tendonitis and  muscle strains
  • Work-related and repetitive strain injuries
  • Sports-related injuries
  • General musculoskeletal conditions

Osteopaths frequently work as part of a multidisciplinary team to treat a number of chronic conditions, particularly related to musculoskeletal conditions, including maintaining mobility or rehabilitation associated with arthritis, type 2 diabetes, COPD, congestive heart failure and stroke recovery. Trigger points for referral to an osteopath include:

  • Patient exhibiting mobility problems or postural problems
  • Patient exhibiting lethargy and immobility leading to back or joint pain

Medicare Eligibility

To be eligible to provide services under the Medicare's chronic disease management items, osteopaths need to be registered with the Osteopaths Registration Board in the State or Territory in which they are practising. Most private healthcare insurers provide rebates.


A five-year full-time Master of Osteopathy Degree is the entry-level qualification to practice as an osteopath. An osteopath also needs to undergo mandatory CPD to be a
member of the Australian Osteopathic Association. Mandatory CPD with registration varies from State to State.



MBS item #10966