An Osteopath takes a ‘holistic’ approach (‘whole person’ focus) to the evaluation, diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Osteopaths are not only interested in relieving your pain, but also focus on trying to improve your overall levels of general health and fitness.
Diagnosing your Condition
After completing a full medical case history in which the osteopath will discuss your symptoms in detail and carry out appropriate physical examinations, a diagnosis will be made where possible, and if you are safe to treat a treatment plan will be discussed. Alternatively, if your osteopath thinks you would benefit from being referred to your GP or a Specialist, then arrangements will be made.
During the examination you may be asked to move the painful area into different positions in order to try and reproduce the pain. Other examinations may be performed including standard orthopaedic and neurological testing in order to make an accurate diagnosis.
Planning your Treatment
Having made an accurate assessment of your problem, the osteopath will be able to devise an appropriate treatment plan that is specific to you. During treatment an osteopath will use a wide range of manual techniques in order to try and correct the problems associated with your muscles, ligaments and joints that may be causing the pain you experience.
Each treatment session (whether it is for an initial consultation, or a follow-on treatment) is priced at £60.
Osteopathy is generally associated with back pain, although Osteopaths treat the whole body. Treatment for back problems tends to focus upon improving or correcting faulty joint movement as well as the specific injury that caused the problem in the first place. Spinal manipulation (a commonly used technique by osteopaths) aim to loosen and free-up, rather than re-align the faulty joints. Other techniques include soft tissue stretching and joint mobilisation to try and restore optimal range of movement. The soft tissue stretching techniques may also be used to relax and loosen the tissues prior to any specific manipulation of the joints.
Treatment is based on the idea that problems in any part of your body system are all related to structural and mechanical problems within your musculoskeletal system. The osteopath will palpate (feel) your muscles, other soft tissues and joints to check their tone and their response to movement. This will help to formulate a diagnosis and plan a course of treatment appropriate to you. The osteopath will normally start by using gentle soft tissue stretching/massage for a few minutes to relax the muscles and make you feel more comfortable. This initial treatment will help reduce the pressure on the faulty joints and tissues causing your pain. Stronger techniques may then be applied to the painful area in order to help return painless function to the area in question.
Other areas of the body may be treated that are not necessarily painful, but may be contributing to the dysfunction and pain currently experienced. Some osteopaths who have undertaken additional post-graduate training in other therapies such as Western medical acupuncture (dry needling) may be employed in order to help manage your pain.
Consultation/Treatment sessions will take 30 minutes. (Occasionally we may allow up to 45 minutes for the Initial/First Consultation session but you will be notified of this at the time of booking.)
On your first visit, the osteopath will ask about your condition and take a medical history. He/she will also ask if you are currently taking any pain-relief medication or other drugs. If you were referred by your doctor, your osteopath should have details regarding your current condition and any previous treatment and illnesses. The osteopath will then examine you thoroughly and possibly treat you briefly with some gentle manipulation or soft tissue massage and stretching. Subsequent visits will be devoted to mainly treatment to alleviate your painful symptoms.
Most people notice a difference after two to three sessions, but no two people are the same and a range of factors will affect how quickly you progress with treatment. Once you are free of pain and feeling generally better and more able to manage your symptoms with prescribed exercises, it may be useful to visit your Osteopath every two or three months for maintenance treatment.
This will depend on your problem. In a certain cases, Osteopathy may cause some discomfort. It is, however, a very gentle form of manipulation/treatment, and Osteopaths are trained never to use force when working with a joint. If one form of manipulation is not proving effective, your Osteopath will usually try another. Any pain after treatment can be likened to the delayed onset of pain one often gets after a good physical workout.
Osteopathy is one of only two complementary therapies that are regulated under UK law (the other is chiropractic). This regulation works in the same way as regulation for medical doctors. Under the term of the Osteopaths Act 1993, only people registered with the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC) can practice and use the title ‘Osteopath’. The GOsC will only register practitioners who have a recognised qualification in Osteopathy and who comply with their rigorous standards of practice. If an Osteopath fails to adhere to the standards of practice, you as a patient may complain to the GOsC, who have a duty to the public to investigate such a complaint.
No, but if you have already consulted your doctor about your problem, it would be courteous to inform her/him that you are planning to see an Osteopath. Most doctors will be happy to give you a letter of referral, detailing information about your condition and any previous treatment. A referral can provide your osteopath with useful information about the condition, your general health and detail from any prior investigations (X-ray, MRI). Furthermore, you may not be able to make a claim on your health insurance unless you have been referred by your doctor or specialist*.
* Staff employed by Lloyd’s Corporation, Catlin or QBE who hold AXA PPP medical cover, are eligible to receive ‘fast track’ access to physical therapy services provided at the Wellbeing Centre. This means that no GP referral is required before commencing treatment.
Wear comfortable clothes that are easy to adjust or remove. Your osteopath will require access to the relevant problem area, in order to assess, make a diagnosis and treat.
All of our Osteopaths have undertaken a minimum of 4-5 years undergraduate training and are registered by The General Osteopathic Council (the equivalent of the General Medical Council which regulates doctors); which can be verified online.