What to expect from Osteopathy?

Osteopathy is an established, recognised system of diagnosis and treatment that focuses on the structural integrity and function of the body. It is distinctive in the fact that it recognises that a lot of the pain and discomfort we feel is derived from changes in the function of the body's structure as well as damage caused by disease. Osteopathy's core strength lies in the unique way the patient is assessed from a mechanical, functional and postural standpoint. This is complemented by the distinctive manual methods of treatment applied to suit the needs of each individual patient.

Osteopaths use their hands both to investigate the underlying causes of pain and to carry out treatment using a variety of techniques. These may vary from muscle and connective tissue stretching, rhythmical joint movements (articulation) to high velocity thrust techniques. More gentle techniques are often also used, especially in the very young and the elderly.

What should I expect from my first visit?

The initial consultation usually takes about an hour. During this time the Osteopath will take a full case history including questions about your current complaint, previous injuries, general health and medical history, as well as a few questions about your lifestyle.

You will then normally be asked to remove some of your clothing* and to perform a simple series of movements. A full examination routine, including Osteopathic and standard Medical diagnostic tests, will be used to determine any areas of weakness, strain or inflammation in your body.

*Depending on the complaint it is quite usual to be asked to undress to your underwear. This is to allow for a full holistic diagnosis, for example, recurrent head or neckaches could result from the pelvis or lower back segments not functioning properly. A gown is available. If this would make you feel more comfortable please do not hesitate to ask. Equally, feel free to wear shorts, a bikini top or open backed swimming costume.

On occasion, additional investigations may be required (via your GP) before a suitable treatment plan can be developed. Once the examination has been completed and a treatment plan formulated, this will be discussed and agreed with you.

Providing it is appropriate and time allows, a treatment will be given on your first visit. (Therefore it helps if you have considered your medical history in advance and can give a succinct version.)

At the end of the consultation, advice on exercises and posture will be given to perform at home between treatments so that you can aid your own recovery. If there are any questions at any point during the consultation or afterwards, please do not hesitate to ask or telephone.

Side effects?

Some people have no soreness, others do experience some discomfort after their treatment, usually similar to the soreness you would feel after some new unaccustomed activity, but it is usually short lived. You will be advised during your consultation what to expect and to ring if you have the slightest concern or need advice.

Other FAQs

Do I need to be refered by my doctor? No. Unless you are going to use certain health insurers e.g. Axa/PPP, in which case check with your insurer first.

Is this confidential and are my notes secure? Absolutely! No information will be passed to anybody. Occasionally, the osteopath might suggest the need to contact your doctor, but this will only be with your consent. All notes are kept in a secure filing cupboard and no personal details are computerised.

How many treatments will I need? Advice will be given at your first visit, as it depends on many things - your age, the area in pain, the length of time you have been in this condition etc. On average people have 2-6 appointments for the pain they present with. (Some people then come back with other injuries or for an 'MOT'.)