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Why some osteopaths call themselves doctors in Australia...

Updated: Aug 23, 2023

In Australia, the use of the term "doctor" by osteopaths can be a bit confusing. It's important to understand that there are different types of healthcare practitioners who can use the title "doctor" in Australia, and the context in which they use it may vary.


In Australia, osteopaths are registered and regulated by the Osteopathy Board of Australia, which is a part of the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA). Osteopaths undergo extensive education and training in the field of osteopathy, which focuses on the musculoskeletal system and its impact on overall health.


The confusion arises because some osteopaths in Australia choose to use the title "doctor" when addressing their patients. This is allowed by the Osteopathy Board of Australia, as long as they clearly identify themselves as osteopaths to avoid any potential confusion with medical doctors. Osteopaths who use the title "doctor" typically do so to indicate their level of education and expertise in their field.


It's important to note that although osteopaths in Australia can use the title "doctor," they are not medical doctors (MDs) and do not have the same scope of practice as medical doctors. Medical doctors have completed medical school and are trained to diagnose and treat a wide range of medical conditions, while osteopaths focus primarily on musculoskeletal health and may use manual techniques, exercise, and other modalities to support their patients' well-being.


An osteopathic treatment room
Osteopathic treatment room

If you have any concerns or questions about the qualifications or credentials of a healthcare practitioner, it's always a good idea to directly inquire about their background, training, and professional qualifications.

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