WHAT IS OSTEOPATHY ?
Osteopathy is an established system of diagnosis and treatment for a variety of musculoskeletal conditions involving joints, muscles, bones, ligaments and intervertebral discs.
The NHS defines osteopathy as:
“Osteopathy is a way of detecting, treating and preventing health problems by moving, stretching and massaging a person’s muscles and joints. Osteopathy is based on the principle that the wellbeing of an individual depends on their bones, muscles, ligaments and connective tissue functioning smoothly together. Osteopaths believe their treatments allow the body to heal itself. They use a range of techniques but do not use drugs or surgery. Most people who see an osteopath do so for help with back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain or other problems related to muscles and joints”
“There is good evidence that osteopathy is effective for the treatment of persistent lower back pain. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends it as a treatment for this condition”.
Osteopathy can also help with conditions such as:
- lower back pain
- neck pain
- shoulder pain
- problems with the pelvis, hips and legs
- sports injuries
- problems with posture caused by driving, work or pregnancy
When choosing your osteopath please ensure they are registered with the general osteopathic council.
What to Expect from an Osteopathy Consultation
When you first visit an osteopath they will spend some time taking a 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 touch 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 welcome to bring someone with you into the examination room if this puts you at ease and you may wish to seek an osteopath of the same sex as yourself, we can help you find an osteopath that suits your needs.
The osteopath will make a diagnosis and discuss a course of treatment with you. This may involve visiting them a few times for manual therapy, some exercises that you can do by yourself and some lifestyle changes. They will discuss the likely cost of this treatment and ask for your consent to begin treatment. If the osteopath believes that your condition would not be improved with osteopathic treatment 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 osteopathic treatment would not help you.
Is Treatment Painful?
Osteopaths 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 treatment about half of patients report some mild soreness in the area of their body that was treated, this can usually be relieved with an over the counter pain killer and will go away within 48 hours. If you experience serious or unusual symptoms after treatment you should contact your osteopath straight away for advice.
Commonly treated by an Osteopath include:
- Tension headaches
- Whiplash injuries
- Trapped nerves
- Shoulder and arm pain
- Wrist and hand pain
- Hip and knee problems
- Postural problems
- Calf, ankle, foot and heel pain
- Stiff and painful necks
- Frozen or stiff shoulders
- Tennis and golfers elbow
- Low back pain
- Slipped disc
- Arthritic pain and associated stiffness