Whether you’re experiencing acute or chronic pain, or just want to improve your posture and body functions, a visit to a physical therapy practitioner in the Netherlands can have many benefits.
Back pain – what a plight. It is even the leading cause of disability worldwide, according to the Global Burden of Disease 2010, and 80% of the population will experience it at some point.
The culprit is rarely a serious condition (such as fractures or arthritis), but more often than not, a simple mechanical issue that can be fixed or at least relieved by the right adjustments performed by a professional. In the Netherlands, GP’s are loath to simply prescribe pain medication, and prefer to get to the root of the problem, sending their patients to a chiropractor or physiotherapist.
Expatica, give an overview on these services and explain the key information you should know.
Chiropractors in the Netherlands
Chiropractors offer a holistic type of healthcare in the Netherlands that focuses on the neuromuscular system – basically, symptoms and abnormalities in the nervous system that can cause pain to muscles. Commonly associated with back, neck and shoulder pain, chiropractors are actually trained to deal with pain across the body.
Although our focus is on the spine, a common misconception is that we only treat back and neck pain. Chiropractors receive extensive specialist training and are able to examine, diagnose and treat patients experiencing pain anywhere on the body.
Chiropractors offer a range of treatments and services including:
- spinal manipulation (controlled pressure and massage to relieve pain)
- techniques and exercises to improve body stature
- preventative care for sports and work related ailments
- advice and education on well-being, including nutrition, exercise and stress reduction
- x-rays and scans to locate spinal problems
- ultrasound deep heat therapy
- supplementary treatments such as physiotherapy and massage therapy
Chiropractors in the Netherlands are classed as alternative or complementary therapy. They work closely with other health professionals and are strictly regulated so that national standards are ensured.
Visiting a chiropractor in the Netherlands
You can be referred to a chiropractor in the Netherlands through your GP or you can refer yourself directly. You don’t need to be experiencing symptoms to see a chiropractor. Some patients are athletes who go for regular care.
Services are open to people of all ages and levels of fitness. People use chiropractors from birth to 90-plus. There are also special programs for pregnant women. The philosophy is that anyone who has a spine can benefit from chiropractic care.
Your initial appointment with a chiropractor in the Netherlands will usually be an assessment session.
The first session with a chiropractor in the Netherlands lasts around 45 minutes with subsequent sessions taking around 10-20 minutes, so you don’t have to worry about appointments eating into too much of your schedule. The number of sessions needed varies depending on the patient’s situation.
Finding a chiropractor in Amsterdam and in the Netherlands
There are over 270 practising chiropractors in the Netherlands, including many chiropractors in Amsterdam.
All chiropractors in the Netherlands have to register with one of the regulated professional bodies in the country, which include the NCA (Nederlandse Chiropractoren Associatie) and the DCF (Dutch Chiropractic Federation). You can search for qualified chiropractors on their websites.
Costs of chiropractic in the Netherlands and Amsterdam
Typical costs of chiropractors in the Netherlands are between €45-60 for a standard appointment. First appointments may cost a little more. Some chiropractors in Amsterdam charge around €80 per session.
Fees can be reimbursed through your Dutch health insurance, although the exact amount you can claim will depend on your insurance plan.
Chiropractors in the Netherlands deal with all insurance companies, so you won’t have to worry about treatment not being covered. But coverage will vary depending on your plan and the treatment you are receiving. It’s advisable to check your plan or consult your insurer first if you’re unsure.
Insurance for chiropractic treatment in the Netherlands
There are large expat-friendly international health insurance companies which offer private health insurance covering chiropractic treatment. These include:
Physiotherapy in the Netherlands
Physiotherapy (or physical therapy) is another type of complementary treatment on offer if you are experiencing joint or muscle pains. Like chiropractic services, physical therapy (or fysiotherapie, as it is known locally) in the Netherlands can be accessed through GP referrals or self-referral.
A professional alternative to the massages you can get in Amsterdam massage parlours,
Fysiotherapie is a manual therapy that isn’t as holistic and in-depth as that offered by chiropractors, but can be used to treat sports injuries, work injuries and general muscle tenseness. Physiotherapists often work closely with chiropractors to help patients.
To find a physiotherapist in the Netherlands, you can search the Dutch healthcare providers register or use the Dutch Yellow Pages. The costs range from €40-60 per 30 minute session to €50-75 per session for physiotherapists in Amsterdam.
Osteopathy in the Netherlands
Considered an alternative medicine (and officially requiring no medical training), osteopathy is another type of manual therapy, which approaches the body as a unit from three different angles: the musculoskeletal system, the organs, and the skull. Its focus is on the loss of mobility, whether due to pain, tissue adhesions or even stress. Treatment consists of restoring movement by means of soft manual adjustments.
Indications for osteopathy include chronic back pain, migraines, bowel issues, and it has become very popular for parents whose babies have issues such as colic, constipation, difficulty sleeping and even cranial distortion from suction deliveries.
Osteopathy in the Netherlands is not a protected medical profession, so it’s important to do your homework before booking a consultation, as anyone can just open an osteopathy shop. Serious practitioners register with the Dutch Association for Osteopathy (NVO) and the Dutch Register for Osteopathy (NRO), but your safest bet is an osteopath registered with the Dutch Osteopathy Federation (NOF), who only accepts those with a medical education.
A 60-minute session with an osteopath in Amsterdam will set you back €90-100, and will often only be reimbursed by the most comprehensive health insurance packages.