What is osteopathy?
Osteopathy is a gentle and effective hands-on approach to healthcare, based on the principle that the way your body moves influences how it functions. Osteopaths are highly competent healthcare professionals, recognised by the NHS as fully qualified to diagnose and treat independently.
Over 30,000 people every day visit an osteopath, seeking help with a variety of conditions including neck or back pain, joint or muscular pain, sports injuries, recurring headaches and more. Many patients are pregnant mothers, unsettled children, or those with work strain, or pain and stiffness related to advancing years.
Whatever your age and no matter what challenges you may have with your health, there is probably something an osteopath can do to help.
What does osteopathy treat?
Osteopathy can help provide relief for the body’s structural, mechanical and functional problems in people of all ages helping to relieve patients from different types of pain and a variety of conditions such as:
Giving a list of conditions that osteopaths help treat can sometimes give a false picture. Osteopaths treat people, not conditions, and we are able to help in many ways when a person’s function is affected by their structure, however that manifests. Osteopathy can help people of all ages recover from all types of pain including those suffered as a result of sports injuries and even women suffering from pregnancy related symptoms.
Is osteopathy safe?
Osteopathy is very safe. It is estimated that between 1 in 50,000 and 1 in 100,000 patients will suffer a reaction to osteopathic treatment that is serious enough to require further medical treatment or does not resolve within 48 hours.
Do I need a referral from my doctor?
No, you don’t need a referral from a GP, as osteopaths are primary contact health care practitioners. All you need to do is phone to book for an appointment.
Are osteopaths regulated?
Osteopaths are regulated by the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC). It is against the law to call yourself an osteopath unless you are qualified and registered with the GOsC. The minimum qualification for an osteopath is completion of a four or five year degree, which includes at least 1000 hours of supervised clinical practice. Many osteopaths also study for masters degrees. They must then continue to update and expand their knowledge by logging a minimum of 30 hours per year of continuing professional development. GOsC can remove an osteopath from the register if they fail to maintain a strict code of professional practice.
Can I get osteopathic treatment on my private medical insurance ?
Many health insurance companies will cover osteopathy for registered General Osteopathic Council (GOsC) members including Aviva, Simply Health, Westfield, Axa PPP and Medicash.
It may be possible to claim for a course of treatment but you should check in advance with your insurance company before seeking osteopathic treatment, in order to confirm the available level of cover and whether you will need to have a referral from your GP or a specialist.
ABOUT THE TREATMENT
Can I have treatments even if I feel ‘OK’?
The simple answer is “Yes”, osteopathy is about maintaining balance, and we have patients who have regular treatments to help maintain their healthy bodies. Prevention is always better than cure!
Can I bring someone with me?
All patients are welcome to bring someone with them to their consultation and treatment. Please be aware that they will become party to all conversation during the appointment.
In the case of under 18’s a parent or guardian over the age of 18 must always accompany them to an appointment.
Do I need to bring anything with me to my appointment?
Please do bring any x-ray or scans with accompanying letters related to your condition, if these are available to you, as they would be useful in our assessment. Also bring details of any prescribed medication or supplements you are taking.
What should I wear?
During the physical examination the patient is asked to undress down to their underwear. This is preferable as the osteopath needs to see the area requiring treatment as well as feel and manipulate affected areas. If you feel uncomfortable getting undressed, you can bring some shorts, leggings or comfortable clothes that will allow you to move freely.
Do I need to bring anything with me to my appointment?
Please bring details of any prescribed medication or supplements you are taking. If you have any recent relevant X-rays, scans or medical reports please bring these with you.
Will it hurt?
During examination, the practitioner will need to assess your movement and palpate areas of the body. In some cases this can be uncomfortable, but often this is short lived.
The osteopath will always discuss with you how the techniques work and if they are expected to be uncomfortable/painful, prior to treatment. The osteopath will keep talking with you during the treatment to ensure that you are comfortable.
What happens during an initial consultation?
An initial consultation includes taking a thorough case history, including details of the current complaint, previous injuries, current and past general medical health.
Once this is complete, if appropriate, the osteopath will examine you. This includes observing posture and active/passive movements as well as using specific tests.
The osteopath will explain what the diagnosis is, how they aim to treat it and ensure you are happy about it before treating. The primary aim of your initial consultation is to establish what is wrong and whether osteopathy is a safe and appropriate treatment for you. Providing there are no contraindications we would normally expect to treat you on your first visit.
What happens in a follow up treatment?
Follow up treatments involve a chat about your progress and thoughts since your last treatment. It is important to alert your osteopath if there are any changes to your health, medications or symptoms.
A follow up examination is completed at every appointment to monitor your progress between treatments. This is often much shorter than at initial consultation, unless the complaint has changed. Follow ups are more treatment orientated.
AFTER THE TREATMENT
How will I feel after the treatment?
Most people initially feel easier after treatment. It is not unusual to then experience a treatment reaction and become more uncomfortable as the day goes on. This is a normal, healthy response to the treatment as it shows that a positive change in your musculo-skeletal structure has occurred, a bit like post exercise muscle soreness. If there is a treatment reaction, then it normally subsides within 36 – 48 hours.
The osteopath will advise you on post-treatment self-help to minimise this reaction. If you are concerned about how things feel after a treatment, please get in touch.
How many treatments will I need?
In most case patients feel a symptomatic relief after 2-3 sessions. However in more chronic case, a longer course of treatment may be needed.
Some patients also like to come in for maintenance once their initial complaint has been relieved. Every patient responds differently and your osteopath will discuss with you the anticipated course of treatment, your prognosis and realistic expectations for recovery.