- Who is osteopathy for?
- Is osteopathy appropriate for me if I have an existing condition?
- What happens at my first visit?
- What should I wear?
- What tools do we use?
- What is palpation?
- Is it going to hurt?
- How much does it cost and how can I pay?
- Is Osteopathy regulated?
- Other useful links
Osteopaths examine and treat people of any age, from the newborn to the elderly and from pregnant women to athletes. Whilst not suitable for people with fractures, breaks and bleeds, most other musculoskeletal problems can be treated. It would be important to tell us about any past or existing conditions.
Osteopaths are trained to perform a complete medical screen in order to make a clinical decision on whether osteopathy is appropriate for you or not. Please feel free to contact us for further information. We would be happy to answer your questions. You could also ask your GP.
The first appointment will last for about 60 minutes.
- case history taking
Like a GP or a doctor does, we will ask you questions about your current complaint, your general health, and any medications you are taking. Even if it does not seem relevant to you, all information is important to us, and may affect the treatment. Any previous X-rays or MRIs may be useful. This information will help decide what kind of physical examination is needed in order to form a diagnosis.
- physical examination
We will generally ask you to remove some clothing so that a detailed functional and structural assessment can be done. We might try and reproduce the pain to form a clinical assessment by running some specific movements to determine what the problem or injury might be. There are usually a number of tests to avoid causing unnecessary pain.
As osteopaths we are also qualified to make orthopaedic, neurological and circulatory examinations. You might not have seen your doctor for a while, so these examinations may be important to allow us to determine any safety concerns, or need for further medical investigations, such as MRI scan, x-ray or blood tests.
Once the examination is complete, we can then give you a diagnosis, a prognosis, a treatment plan and appropriate advice.
- treatment and advice
Treatment will depend on the area and injury, and how it feels. Therefore feedback is useful to avoid causing further unnecessary pain.
-After the treatment
We might give you some exercises for you to practice at home and other advice to improve and prevent your current condition.
Sometimes you might feel sore after the treatment in the same way you would after having done a lot of exercise but this should be short term. You should generally feel much better afterwards. If you are in doubt or have any questions, just give your osteopath a call.
It is generally better to keep moving, but don’t overdo it!
Follow up treatments will last from 30 minutes to one hour depending on your osteopath and/or your needs.
An examination is generally an observation of the relevant area and joints in motion. This may require the removal of some clothing, particularly if preventing movement. Appropriate underwear/shorts may avoid embarrassment.
We use a wide range of “hands on” approaches, choosing specific, adapted and appropriate techniques such as
soft tissue massage is a technique which helps to restore blood flow and encourage healing, working primarily on muscles;
joint mobilisation and articulation, are techniques which are known to improve and restore quality and range of movement, affecting neuro-muscular control of the joint;
cranial techniques offer a gentle and non-invasive approach to treat patients. The practitioner works with a subtle pumping motion, generated within the spinal cord, and felt throughout the body. Encouraging relaxation in injured or stressed tissues allows healing, by helping fluid drainage.
These various approaches allow us to adapt the treatment to each patient, depending on their needs.
In the same way as a trained blind person can read Braille through their fingers, osteopaths are highly trained at reading what is happening under their fingers while they treat. In a clinical context palpation is the act to clinically and professionally feel through the skin in order to determine the quality of the underlying tissues (muscles, joints, ligaments). Palpation is one of the many tools, together with the case history taking and assessment of movement, which the osteopath uses in order to form a diagnosis. Palpation is also used during the treatment to get a feedback on how the tissues are responding to the particular osteopathic technique used, and to decide if more or less pressure is needed. Particular importance is given to develop and improve palpation.
The treatment in itself should not be unduly painful, depending on the extent of the injury. You can interrupt the treatment at any time and for any reason, and feedback is useful. It may feel sore later or the next day. It is common to hear: “It was painful the next day, but then it felt much better!” Do not hesitate to contact your osteopath if you have any worries about how you may feel.
You will find our fees on our individual pages as these depend on the practice you will visit. Prices usually range between £50 and £80. We only accept cash or cheque payments.
To qualify, an osteopath must study for four or five years. Osteopathic studies emphasise anatomy, pathology and musculoskeletal medicine, and include over 1,000 hours of clinical experience. To be able to practice osteopathy, practitioners must register annually with the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC) www.osteopathy.org.uk and attend regular CPD (Continuing Professional Development) course.