What is Osteopathy?

 

 

Osteopathy – helping your wellbeing


A baby has to cope with the stresses of birth, and a toddler falls a lot whilst learning to walk. The school child carries heavy school bags, whilst the student spends long hours hunched over the laptop peering at low level screens. Driving to work and long hours at a desk increase the pains begun as a student. Sports people push their bodies to the limit and over-stretch their ligaments and tendons. In old age our joints stiffen and our circulation slows. These are the types of activities that lead to long or short term discomfort and pain. An osteopath will take all these factors into account when formulating a treatment plan.

 

What is Osteopathy?


Osteopathy recognises the importance of the link between the structure of the human body and the way it functions. Osteopaths focus on the body’s skeleton and joint function along with the underlying muscles, soft tissue and internal organs.

Osteopaths consider each person as an individual. Utilising a highly developed sense of touch, they identify problem areas of the body. Using gentle stretching and mobilising techniques as well as manipulating joints, an osteopath works with the body to create the perfect conditions to facilitate the healing process.
Treatment usually consists of a combination of soft-tissue releasing techniques, and some specific adjustments affecting joints and soft-tissues (muscles, tendons and ligaments). Advice can also be given on self-help treatments.

 

What happens?


On your first visit, a full medical case history will be taken. An examination will be carried out (you may be asked to remove some clothing for this but gowns are available if required) and you may then be asked to perform a few simple movements so the osteopath can assess the problem.

The osteopath will use their highly developed sense of touch called palpation to assess areas of weakness, tenderness, restriction or strain within your body.
The osteopath will make a diagnosis and discuss it with you and if osteopathic treatment is suitable it will be offered to you. Treatment will be aimed at helping to restore normal joint stability and function.

Osteopaths usually start any treatment by releasing and relaxing muscles and stretching stiff joints, using gentle massage techniques, rhythmic joint movements and muscle release techniques. The osteopath may also carry out manipulation using short, quick movements to spinal joints. Other techniques may also be used depending on your problem.



How many treatments will I need?

Osteopathy is patient centred, which means treatment is geared to you as an individual. We should be able to give you an indication after your first visit. For some acute pain one or two treatments may be all that is necessary. Chronic conditions may need ongoing maintenance. An average is 6 - 8 sessions.

What can be treated by Osteopathy?


  •  generalised aches and pains, 
  • joint pains including hip and knee pain from osteoarthritis as an adjunct to core OA treatments and exercise
  • arthritic pain,
  • general, acute & chronic backache, back pain (not arising from injury or accident),
  • uncomplicated mechanical neck pain (as opposed to neck pain following injury i.e. whiplash),
  • headache arising from the neck (cervicogenic),
  • frozen shoulder/ shoulder and elbow pain/ tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) arising from associated musculoskeletal conditions of the back and neck, but not isolated occurrences , 
  •  circulatory problems,
  • cramp,
  • digestion problems,
  • joint pains, lumbago,
  • sciatica,
  • muscle spasms,
  • neuralgia,
  • fibromyalgia,
  • inability to relax,
  • rheumatic pain,
  • minor sports injuries and tensions.

Who can visit an Osteopath

 Osteopathic patients range from babies to children to older people to pregnant women

Do I need a referral from my GP?

A formal referral from your GP is not necessary, the majority of osteopathic patients self-refer. If you'd like to get treatment paid for by a private health scheme contact your Doctor first.

How does osteopathy work?

Osteopaths work with their hands using a wide variety of treatment techniques. These may include soft tissue techniques, rhythmic passive joint mobilisation or the high velocity thrust techniques designed to improve mobility and the range of movement of a joint. Gentle release techniques are widely used, particularly when treating children or elderly patients. This allows the body to return to efficient normal function.

How can I be sure I am in safe hands when visiting an osteopath?

A Registered Osteopath has demonstrated to the General Osteopathic Council via a detailed application process that they are a safe and competent practitioner, that they have adequate malpractice insurance and have agreed to abide by a Code of Practice.

I have noticed many osteopaths have the letters DO and/or BSc (Ost) after their names what does this mean?

These are osteopathic qualifications. The DO stands for diploma in osteopathy the BSc is a degree in osteopathy.

Can I have osteopathy on my private medical insurance?

Many private health insurance schemes give benefit for osteopathic treatment. Some companies will reimburse the total fee or pay a percentage of the costs. Contact the helpline of your insurance company who will explain the actual benefits and methods of claim for your individual policy.

What is the status of osteopathy in the UK?

The 1993 report from the British Medical Association "Complementary Medicine ? New Approaches to Good Practice" recognised osteopathy as a discrete clinical discipline'.
Osteopathy is the first complementary health care profession to be accorded statutory regulation (Osteopaths Act 1993).

More on statutory regulation

This legislation came into force on 9th May 2000 requiring all osteopaths to be registered with the GOsC. You can check that I am registered by looking me up on their website:General Osteopathic Council

What are the origins of osteopathy?

Andrew Taylor Still, born in 1828 in Virginia, USA, trained as a doctor according to the system of medical education available at the time. As time went on he followed a different path from many of his peers, eschewing alcohol and the habit of contemporary physicians of administering crude drugs at their disposal in heroic quantities. This drove him to seek new methods of treating sickness. The outcome of his research was the application of physical treatment as a specialised form of treatment for which he coined the name 'Osteopathy'.

In 1892 A T Still organised a school in Kirksville, Missouri, for the teaching of osteopathy and it was from these small beginnings that osteopathy was brought to the UK around the turn of the century. The first school of osteopathy in the UK was set in London in 1917 and over time other schools and colleges followed.

Today there are around 3,000 osteopaths in the UK performing over six million patient consultations a year.

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