What is Osteopathy?
Osteopaths are trained in therapeutic approaches that are suitable for a broad range of individuals, including pregnant women, children and babies. Osteopathic care is delivered through a range of interventions which may include onward referral, health management advice, manual therapy, exercise therapy and others. Osteopaths adapt their therapeutic approach depending on the individual needs of the patient and their presenting complaint. Manual therapy techniques employed may include articulation and manipulation of joints and soft tissues.
Osteopaths have been regulated by statute since 1993 by the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC) and may refer to conditions for which medical supervision should be sought if they hold convincing evidence of the efficacy of their treatments.
What can I expect on my first visit to an osteopath?
At the first consultation, the osteopath will compile a full case history of your symptoms, as well as asking for information about your lifestyle and diet. The osteopath will also observe you making some simple movements to help them make a diagnosis. You will usually be asked to remove some clothing near the area of the body to be examined – loose fitting clothing can be helpful as this doesn’t hinder establishing the movement of any particular joint. A gown can be provided should this be required.
Osteopaths are trained to examine areas of the body using a highly-developed sense of touch, known as palpation, to determine conditions and identify the body’s points of weakness or excessive strain. Osteopathy is a ‘package’ of care that includes skilled mobilising and manipulative techniques, reinforced by guidance on diet and exercise. The osteopath will discuss with you the most appropriate treatment plan, estimating the likely number of sessions needed to treat your condition effectively. If the osteopath thinks that your condition is unlikely to respond to osteopathic treatment, you will be advised about how to seek further care. Osteopaths are skilled in diagnostic techniques and trained to identify when a patient needs to be referred to a GP.
What do osteopaths treat?
Osteopathy focuses on the diagnosis, management, treatment and prevention of musculoskeletal and other related disorders without the use of drugs or surgery. Commonly treated conditions include back and neck pain, postural problems, sporting injuries, muscle and joint deterioration, restricted mobility and occupational ill-health. We aren’t just about backs and sciatica; osteopaths know all about pain. We treat more than just backs and necks. From toes to fingers, knees and ankles to wrists and elbows, we are trained to treat the whole body.
Osteopathy is a system of diagnosis and treatment for a wide range of medical conditions. It works with the structure and function of the body, and is based on the principle that the well-being of an individual depends on the skeleton, muscles, ligaments and connective tissues functioning smoothly together. Osteopaths have a holistic approach and believe that your whole body will work well if your body is in good structural balance.
Whatever your age, treatment is specifically tailored to each individual and will be different for all.
Can anyone call themselves an osteopath?
The title ‘osteopath’ is protected by law, and only those included on the Register are entitled to practise as osteopaths. Unregistered practice is a criminal offence in the UK.
What training has the osteopath undertaken?
To qualify, an osteopath must study for four to five years for an undergraduate degree. This is similar to a medical degree, with more emphasis on anatomy and musculoskeletal medicine and includes more than 1,000 hours of training in osteopathic techniques. By law, osteopaths must register with the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC). Osteopaths are constantly committed to a rolling three-year cycle of revalidation through (CPD) Continued Profession Development. This involves keeping current through attending and participating in regular post graduate events.
Can I claim on my private medical insurance?
Many private health insurance policies provide cover for osteopathic treatment. It may be possible to claim for a course of treatment but you should check in advance with your insurance company before seeking osteopathic treatment, in order to confirm the available level of cover and whether you will need to have a referral from your GP or a specialist.
Do I need a GP referral to see an osteopath?
Most patients ‘self-refer’ to an osteopath for treatment. Although referral by a GP is not necessary, patients are encouraged to keep both their GP and osteopath fully informed, so that their medical records are current and complete and the patient receives the best possible care from both healthcare practitioners. Alternatively, the British Medical Association’s guidance for general practitioners’ states that doctors can safely refer patients to osteopaths should they choose to do so.
What should I wear?
You will need to remove some clothing for examination and treatment purposes. It’s not essential, but you may prefer to bring loose fitting clothing such as shorts or leggings. A vest top would allow the shoulders to be examined for example, whereas jeans would restrict effective examination of the hips or lower back.
You are welcome to be accompanied by a friend/colleague for chaperone purposes only.
How much does an appointment cost and how long will it usually last?
The first appointment (being the longest) takes into consideration your case history, examination and treatment (where indicated) it is usually around 1 hour in duration and is charged at £65.00. Subsequent appointments are approximately 30 minutes in duration and are charged at £50.00.
What should I avoid doing after treatment?
Generally, you are encouraged to not challenge the area that has been treated. You will receive the relevant aftercare advice from your osteopath and any exercises/activities that can aid and support you in the road recovery.