Osteopathy is a method of assessing, treating and preventing a wide range of health problems. Osteopaths use a combination of movement, stretching, targeted deep tissue massage and manipulation of a person’s muscles and joints to improve function, relieve pain and aid recovery.
Over 30,000 people a day visit an osteopath for treatment for help with a variety of muscle and joint problems causing pain and/or some loss of movement and fuction.
The body has the natural ability to maintain itself and, by helping this process, an osteopath can promote restoration of normal function. The principle of osteopathy is that the wellbeing of an individual relies on the way that bones, muscles, ligaments, connective tissue and internal structures work with each other.
An osteopath will take the time to understand their patient, and their unique combination of symptoms, medical history and lifestyle. This helps 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 formulate a treatment plan that will achieve the best outcome.
Osteopaths frequently work alongside other health professionals, such as GPs, nurses and midwives as well as alternative medical practitioners. Osteopathy works well to complement other medical interventions including surgery and prescribed medication.
The National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) advises that GPs can safely refer patients to an osteopath for treatment.
The aims of treatment are to reduce or get rid of the painful symptoms, and improve or completely restore movement and activity: if that is possible depending on what your problem is.
The treatment is focussed upon improving your physical quality of life, for example, reducing pain and improving ease of movement if you are suffering from arthritis or an injury. Treatment may speed up your recovery from pain and restore function, enabling you to return to work or recreational activities/ sport sooner.
Those seeking help through treatment by an osteopath include all ages from newborns to the very elderly; including those suffering from work strain and sports injuries, pregnant mothers and those experiencing stiffness and discomfort related to advancing years
You can directly book an appointment for treatment, (Call: 01777-719062). You do not need a referral from your doctor and you should be able in most instances be able to make a prompt appointment and not have the sometimes long waiting times that can often occur with other treatment options.
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.