Osteopathy is a hands on treatment and osteopaths are experts at diagnosing and treating strains in the body using their hands.
Osteopaths use touch, physical manipulation, stretching and massage to increase the mobility of joints, to relieve muscle tension, to enhance the blood and nerve supply to tissues, and to help your body’s own healing mechanisms.
They may also provide advice on posture, exercise and nutrition to aid recovery, promote health and prevent symptoms recurring.
Visit the General Osteopathic Council website here for more information.
Visit the General Osteopathic Council for more information.
What to expect
When you first visit an osteopath you’ll be asked about your current symptoms and medical history; this will help them to make an accurate diagnosis. It is natural to worry about what may be causing your symptoms and your osteopath will always discuss your concerns as part of your consultation. They will also conduct a routine examination to check for more serious conditions and advise you of any further action that might be required. All information will be treated as confidential in accordance with standards of practice set out by the General Osteopathic Council and the Data Protection Act 1998. After an initial examination, your osteopath will discuss treatment options with you, to jointly decide upon an appropriate treatment plan and the likely associated costs. Dependant on your case, your osteopath may suggest that you seek further tests before your first treatment, for example blood tests or scans. They may also recommend that you consult your GP or another appropriate healthcare professional for onward care.
Osteopathic care is based on the individual needs of the patient and so varies depending on your age, fitness levels and diagnosis. Osteopaths use a wide range of gentle hands-on techniques that focus on releasing tension, stretching muscles and mobilising joints. This is often used together with exercise and helpful advice designed to help you relieve or manage your pain, keep active and maintain the best of health. Occasionally, osteopathic techniques can result in an audible ‘click’; this is perfectly normal. Research has shown that manipulations can have beneficial effects, especially for back pain, helping you to return to ordinary movement and activity. The health risks associated with having osteopathic treatment are extremely low. If you have any concerns about your treatment, we encourage you to raise these with your osteopath who will be happy to discuss them with you. Most osteopaths will begin your treatment at your first appointment – you may experience mild discomfort afterwards, but in most cases this will resolve within 24 hours. Treatment may require several visits and, very occasionally, further tests and/or referrals to other appropriate healthcare professionals. You’re more than welcome to bring someone with you to your consultation.
As part of your consultation your osteopath will examine the area(s) of your body causing discomfort and may undertake tests such as taking your blood pressure or testing your reflexes. It may be necessary for your osteopath to ask you to remove some clothing, so that they can assess the areas of the body causing concern. If you are uncomfortable undressing to your underwear, you can bring with you clothing such as shorts, t-shirt or close-fitting garments that will enable them to work effectively without making you feel uncomfortable. Your osteopath will feel for changes in your muscles and joints and examine these areas to identify problems. They may also assess your posture and the way you move. Sometimes the cause of the problem may be in a different area to the pain, so they may examine your whole body.