What is Osteopathy?
Osteopathy is a comprehensive form of healthcare used to diagnose, treat, and prevent a wide range of health problems. Osteopaths believe both the structure and function of the human body are interrelated. This means osteopaths see the body in a very distinctive way; where the health of muscles, joints, nerves, arteries, veins, bones, and ligaments “structure” will directly affect the health and wellbeing or “function” of an individual. This fundamental principle of osteopathy ensures that your osteopath will consider all aspects of your individual health and well being during your consultation.
The osteopath will not only identify your specific symptoms but will seek to understand the cause or “trigger” of your condition. In this way your osteopath will aim to not only eliminate your symptoms, but will also strongly focus on preventing future reoccurrence.
Osteopaths use a combination of treatment options such as joint mobilization, stretching, deep tissue massage, joint manipulation, exercise therapy, lifestyle advice, postural advice, and many others! Your osteopath will discuss, in partnership with you, the most appropriate treatment for your individual needs.
Your osteopath will take the time to understand you as a person, and your unique combination of symptoms, medical history, and lifestyle. This helps your osteopath to make an accurate diagnosis of the causes of the pain or lack of function (rather than just addressing the site of the condition), and from that, to create a collaborative treatment plan that considers your individual needs, lifestyle, and goals.
What do Osteopaths treat?
Osteopaths are commonly known for treating back pain, neck pain, and postural problems including changes due to pregnancy, caused by driving or work strain, the pain of arthritis and minor sports injuries.
However, osteopathy can also help with a variety of common conditions such as sciatica, arthritic pain, headaches, muscle spasms, shoulder and elbow pain, digestive and circulatory issues, and many others.
Osteopaths treat patients of all ages and backgrounds, osteopathic patients commonly include the young, older people, manual workers, office professionals, pregnant women, children and sports people.
If you are unsure whether osteopathy is right for you and your specific condition, please contact us for a free telephone consultation with our osteopaths who will be happy to advise you on the best treatment approach.
What To Expect From My First Consultation ?
When you first visit your osteopath they will spend some time taking a full medical history, which will include questions about your general health and lifestyle as well as asking you about the symptoms or injuries that you are seeking help with. With your consent they will then perform a physical examination which is likely to involve the osteopath touching the areas of your body that are experiencing pain and asking you to move around. They may also look at test results, x-rays and scan reports if these are available.
It may be necessary for the osteopath to ask you to remove some clothing, so that they can see and examine the areas of the body causing concern. If you are uncomfortable undressing to your underwear the osteopath may be able to suggest clothing, such as shorts and T Shirt, or close fitting garments, that will enable them to work effectively without making you feel uncomfortable, so please do discuss this. You are also welcome to bring someone with you into the examination room if this puts you at ease.
Your osteopath will then discuss with you what they found, your diagnosis, and will suggest the best course of treatment. Your osteopath will ensure that you have a complete understanding of your condition and what treatment they can offer. We encourage all patients to take an active role in their health by asking questions about their diagnosis and treatment. We believe that the better we can help you understand your condition the more effective our treatment will be!
This may involve visiting us a few times for manual therapy, some exercises that you can do by yourself and some lifestyle changes. We will discuss the likely cost of this treatment and ask for your consent to begin treatment.
As osteopaths we frequently work alongside other health professionals, such as GPs, nurses and midwives as well as alternative medical practitioners. If your osteopath believes that your condition would not be improved with osteopathic treatment alone, they will refer you to your GP or another suitably qualified professional and may provide you with notes explaining their diagnosis and why they feel you would benefit from other treatment approaches. Osteopathy works well to complement other medical interventions including surgery and prescribed medication.
Is Osteopathic Treatment Painful?
Your osteopath will work very hard to make treatment as painless as possible, but you may experience some discomfort during and after treatment. Your osteopath will warn you if they think that the technique that they are about to use is likely to be uncomfortable and will stop if you tell them that you are feeling too much pain. Following osteopathic treatment, about half the patients report a mild soreness in the area of the body that was treated. This is similar to post exercise/massage soreness and will usually go way within the first 24 – 48hrs after treatment. If your osteopath believes you may experience some soreness after treatment, they will suggest ways of helping alleviate this. If you experience serious or unusual symptoms after treatment, you should contact us and we will provide advice to further manage and reduce pain and discomfort.
Do I Need A Referral From My GP ?
Although we do have a good relationship with local GP practices we are independent practioners which means you do not need a referral from your GP to see us. Most of our patients visit us without prior referral in a private capacity. Some insurance companies may require you to be referred by a doctor first before receiving osteopathic treatment, however most insurance companies will pay for a set number of osteopathic treatments. Please contact us with your insurance information and we can inquire whether your insurance company will cover your osteopathic treatment.