questions & Answers
What is Osteopathy?
Osteopathy is form of non-invasive manual medicine. Osteopaths are highly trained and can examine, diagnose and treat a wide variety of aches and pains.
Osteopathy remains principally a form of private healthcare with more than 80% of patients funding their own treatment however, most major private health insurance policies provide cover for osteopathic treatment.
Although most people correctly assume it is to do with bones, it is also much more! Osteopaths work on the whole body, they are specialists in everything from the skeletal system to muscles, joints and nerves. Our Osteopaths are also trained in exercise management as well as nutritional knowledge. The chances are if it moves and it hurts an osteopath can help.
Osteopaths do not prescribe medication, however, they have knowledge and understanding of commonly prescribed medications and will work in conjunction with your general practitioner (GP) to help you achieve wellness. If necessary your Osteopath can liaise with your GP or refer you to other specialists if you require further investigation such as CT scans or X-Rays.
Around 30,000 people in the UK currently consult osteopaths every working day. Osteopaths treat all age groups from babies to the elderly and from many different backgrounds; whether you are an athlete or a mother-to-be, osteopathy could be helpful to you.
Most practitioners will be willing to talk to you about whether osteopathy will work for you and will be able to offer you exercises and advice to help keep you healthy even after you have finished treatment. The ultimate aim is to get you back to fitness as quickly as possible and to arm you with the knowledge and skills to keep yourself healthy for the future.
Osteopathy Initial Consultation: What to expect
Your practitioner will take you into a private room, you will then be asked some basic medical questions. We use this information to direct treatment and to make sure that each session is tailor made to fit you.
We will then discuss the reason for the appointment, your practitioner will ask you questions pertaining to the onset, cause and factors that may be influential in helping us make a diagnosis.
Depending on the area we will be working on, you may be asked to dress down to your underwear or if you are not comfortable, you may wear loose-fitting clothing.
An assessment of how you move and some special tests will be carried out to determine what structures are causing the pain and a diagnosis is formed.
The diagnosis will be explained to you and any questions that you have will be answered throughout the course of the visit.
Treatment will be offered if appropriate, this consists of hands on manual therapy using a variety of techniques designed to influence muscles, ligaments, joints and the nerve and blood supply to the tissues.
Soft tissue, massage and mobilisation are regularly performed in each session, occasionally practitioners may want to perform firm but precise manipulations.
Your practitioner will only use techniques that he or she finds safe, appropriate and necessary, all treatment and techniques are used with your absolute consent and your practitioner will be able to alter techniques to suit every patient.
You may be given some exercises to do at home, this will give you some control over your progress and will help maintain the effects of treatment.
Finally, your practitioner will discuss how many sessions you may need and answer any questions that you have. They will send you away with appropriate advice on how to make yourself more comfortable and education on what is okay to do and what to avoid.
Most patients feel some relief after their first session. Occasionally there may be some residual discomfort from treatment lasting from a few hours to a day or so after treatment. This is completely normal for any type of manual therapy. This soreness will dissipate after a few days as your body adjusts to the positive changes that have been made.
Is Osteopathy Safe?
Osteopathy along with Chiropractic are the only complementary and alternative medicines (CAMs) that are regulated under UK law.
Osteopaths are regulated under the General Osteopathic Counsel (GOsC). Membership is renewed annually and practitioners must fulfil various criteria such as meeting professional development requirements, correct insurance and Disclosure Barring Services (DBS) checks.
Regulation aims to protect patient safety and to ensure that the reputation and integrity of Osteopathy available in the UK is maintained.
Osteopathy has been regulated by statute since 8th May 2000. This means anyone not registered may not call themselves an osteopath - it is a criminal offence to do so.
The GOsC has a register of osteopaths, which you can use to find and check any qualified Osteopath near to your location.
What Qualifications And Training Do Osteopaths Have?
Osteopathic training is a minimum of four years of full time university education.
A degree course includes anatomy, physiology, pathology, pharmacology, nutrition and biomechanics, plus at least 1,000 hours of clinical training before graduation.
Training courses generally lead to a bachelor’s degree in Osteopathy (a BSc Hons, BOst or BOstMed) or a masters degree (MOst).
What Treatments are used?
Osteopaths look for biomechanical, structural or function reasons why your problem may have developed, the solution to long term resolution is to get to the bottom of the issue and not just treat the symptoms.
The vast majority of osteopaths treat just with their hands although ultrasound, medical acupuncture (dry needling) and sports taping are also quite commonly used.
Your practitioner may use a variety of techniques such as deep tissue massage, mobilisation of the joints, stretching and on occasion and if appropriate manipulative techniques performed on the joints (that's the 'cracking') which is commonly associated with chiropractic treatment.
We feel that its very important that you are able to take control of your pain and that you never have to rely on anyone to keep you healthy. Carefully selected exercises and stretches are given to help maintain treatment affects and to encourage injury prevention and reduce re-occurrence to keep you living your life.