What is Osteopathy?
A whole body approach
Osteopaths spend four to five years undergraduate training to understand the relationship between the body’s organs, joints and muscles. They are experienced in treating disorders of the musculoskeletal system through out the whole body.
Osteopathy is a person centred approach that strives to provide the optimum conditions for health by working with your body’s own healing mechanisms to achieve results. They see people of all ages, including pregnant women and elite athletes.
The health risks associated with having osteopathic treatment are very low; if you have any concerns about the safety of your treatment your Osteopath will be happy to discuss those with you.
What happens in the initial consultation?
Musculoskeletal problems are common and often painful and debilitating. It is natural to worry about your symptoms, and your Osteopath will always discuss your concerns as part of a routine examination and will discuss your treatment options with you.
At the start of your first session, your Osteopath will take time to listen to you and ask questions about your symptoms, , general health, activities and may also ask about your diet and lifestyle. This will help them to make an accurate diagnosis and suggest appropriate treatment (s) that you can consider.
They will then examine the area (s) of your body causing discomfort, which might include tests such as taking your blood pressure or testing your reflexes. Sometimes the cause of the problem may be in a different area to the pain, so they may examine your whole body. 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.
Most Osteopaths will begin your treatment at your first appointment, but sometimes they may suggest that you seek further tests first, for example blood tests or scans.
Occasionally they may suggest that you consult your GP or another appropriate healthcare professional if Osteopathy is not suitable for you.
What happens during treatment?
Osteopaths use a wide range of gentle hands on techniques. Treatment varies between patients depending on your age, fitness and diagnosis, but often focuses on releasing tension, stretching muscles and mobilizing joints. Before you receive treatment your osteopath and you will jointly decide an appropriate and suitable treatment plan. Occasionally, osteopathic techniques can result in an audible “click”; this is perfectly normal. Research evidence shows that these manipulations can have beneficial effects, especially in the back, helping you to return to normal activity.
Is Osteopathy recognised?
The UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recommends spinal manipulation for lower back pain. Osteopaths are trained to deliver such treatment and offer self-management advice.
The General Osteopathic Council regulates the practice of Osteopathy in the UK, promoting patient safety by setting and monitoring standards of osteopathic conduct. By law, an Osteopath must be registered and comply with strict regulatory requirements. This gives patients the same sort of guarantees and protection as those given by doctors and dentists.