All about Osteopathy
Osteopaths are primary healthcare practitioners who utilise a holistic approach to consider each patient as an individual, complementing medical healthcare approaches.
Osteopathy recognises that much of the pain and disability we experience stems from the link between the structure of the human body and the way it functions.
Osteopaths diagnose and treat musculoskeletal problems which occur due to injury, stress or disease, to enable the body to work as efficiently as possible, thus allowing the body to restore itself to normal function.
By treating joints, muscles, ligaments, bones and fascia, osteopaths aim to ease pain, reduce swelling and improve mobility through gentle, manual techniques. They use a highly developed sense of touch to apply techniques which vary from soft tissue massage, joint mobilisation and joint manipulation, to very gentle techniques such as cranial osteopathy and functional release. This variety of techniques allows us to work with all age groups and addressing many problems.
In addition osteopaths will give advice regarding self help and life style changes which may include recommending exercises. Whilst osteopathy does not involve the use of drugs or surgery, osteopaths are able to refer patients to other medical practitioners if they feel that further investigation is required, or that osteopathy is not an appropriate treatment modality for the patient.
Osteopaths treat musculoskeletal aches and pains. The list below is drawn up by the Advertising Standards Authority and is based on research which shows conditions in which osteopathy has been found to be beneficial.
* Generalised aches and pains
*Joint pains including hip and knee pain from osteoarthritis
* Arthritic pain
* Acute & chronic backache/pain
* Muscle spasms
* Neck pain
* Headache arising from the neck
* Migraine prevention
* Circulatory problems
* Digestion problems
* Rheumatic pain
Based on our experience, Osteopathy can treat the musculoskeletal symptoms of a wide variety of conditions. If you would like advice on whether osteopathy will be beneficial to you, please contact us and ask to speak to one of our osteopaths.
We may use massage, stretching, resistance techniques, or joint mobilisation or manipulation to release tissue tension or improve the range of movement in joints, improve the blood flow and nerve supply to the body. The majority of techniques are gentle, and if any pain is felt it should be a good pain which feels like it is helping to ease the problem.
We also use cranial, functional and fascial osteopathic techniques which are gentle ways to release tension in the whole body including the head.
Osteopathy is very safe, osteopaths will spend the first part of your initial consultation taking a detailed case history to determine whether or not osteopathy is suitable for you, they will then examine you. Once these have been completed your osteopath will determine whether or not they think if osteopathy is appropriate for you, or if you should seek alternative medical advice.
The Institute of Osteopathy – www.iosteopathy.org/osteopathy/ (26/09/2014) states that “It is estimated that between 1 in 50,000 and 1 in 100,000 patients will suffer a reaction to osteopathic treatment that is serious enough to require further medical treatment or does not resolve within 48 hours.”
Many patients will experience some localised discomfort after treatment which may last up to 48 hours. Using over the counter painkillers should help relieve this. If you have any concerns please contact your osteopath.
Osteopaths & NHS
All osteopaths have to be registered with the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC) which regulates Osteopaths. Look for the I am Registered logo – you cannot call yourself an osteopath unless you are qualified and registered.
To qualify as an osteopath you need to undertake as a minimum a 4 or 5 year degree during which an osteopathic student will undertake at least 1000 supervised clinical hours.
Once qualified an osteopath must complete a minimum of 30 hours of continuing professional development (for examples relevant courses or research)
The GOsC maintain a strict code of professional practice, which if not followed can result in an osteopath being removed from the register. Go to https://www.osteopathy.org.uk/register-search/ to check an osteopaths registration.
Whilst a growing number of osteopaths do work for the NHS either in MSK (Musculoskeletal health) departments in their local NHS trusts or in GP surgeries (either employed by the surgery or working privately renting space in the surgery), the majority of osteopaths work privately in either group practices (single or multi disciplinary) or as sole practitioners.
Osteopaths are recognised as Allied Health Professionals (AHP’s) by NHS England. Our holistic approach to healthcare, allows us as AHPs to help manage patients’ care from birth through childhood and adulthood . AHP’s focus on maximising the health and wellbeing potential for individuals through prevention and improvement to allow them to live full and active lives, at home, socially and at work.
During the pandemic as AHP’s Osteopaths were eligible to work for the NHS under the Bring Back the NHS appeal, over 75% of osteopaths applied to take up positions within the NHS and many worked either within a hospital or community setting, or remotely supporting NHS 111 or the Track and Trace project.
It is not necessary to have a GP referral to see an osteopath. However osteopaths can and do work with GP’s and other healthcare professionals both thorough the NHS and privately. Most patients however see osteopaths privately without a referral.
Under the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) the recommendations for low back pain include utilising manual therapies such as osteopath for treatment. https://www.nice.org.uk/Guidance/Conditions-and-diseases/Musculoskeletal-conditions/Low-back-pain/
I get asked what is the difference between osteopathy, chiropractic and physiotherapy regularly. All three therapies are referred to as manual therapies and are considered Primary Health Care Systems. All practitioners will be trained in anatomy, physiology, pathology, evaluation and diagnostic skills. Whilst initial manual training for each of the disciplines can be very different, it is not unusual for osteopaths to find that chiropractors and physiotherapists attend the same post graduate professional training courses as they do.
Each profession is regulated and is required to complete a predetermined number of continuing professional development hours each year.
The most important factor is that the patient feels that they can trust their practitioner to understand their presenting complaint, and that they can assess them and treat them appropriately.
A.T. Still was the founder of Osteopathy and the key principles he stated form the basis for the osteopathic approach.
Osteopaths believe that the body has it’s own medicine chest and has the capability to heal itself if its structure and function are working together optimally. To achieve this osteopaths believe that “the rule of the artery is supreme”. Osteopaths use a holistic approach considering not only the presenting symptoms, but also other factors which may have resulted in these symptoms.
Whilst chiropractors have a similar approach to osteopaths they believe that the health of the body is related to spinal health and that the neurological system manages this. Chiropractors may use radiography and radiology reports to form the basis of their treatment which is focused around the spinal column and the neurological system.
Physiotherapists tend to use less manual techniques than osteopaths and chiropractors. They will often prescribe a range of exercises to help with rehabilitation. Physiotherapists often specialise in a particular area, for example sports injuries or postoperative rehabilitation.
During the COVID 19 pandemic, Jackie undertook initial consultations either via video or phone calls prior to patients coming in for a face to face hands on appointment. Many found this very helpful and as a result Jackie continues to offer this to patients (if there is enough notice)
The initial consultation will start with your osteopath asking about your medical history including details about the current problem, any other history of musculo-skeletal problems, any other medical problems, diagnosed conditions, operations, history of accidents and family history, as well as any other information they may feel is useful based on the information they gather.
You will then be asked to perform some movements which relate to your presenting symptoms to enable to see how your body functions within its structure. Your osteopath will then examine you, using relevant diagnostic tests to help determine the possible causes of your condition.
Once a full case history has been taken and diagnostic tests have been completed, your osteopath will explain what they believe is causing your problems and the reasons why this may have occurred. Then if appropriate they will discuss with you the treatment approach they intend to use and treat you using a variety of techniques which they believe are suitable for you.
We may also recommend exercises to help you achieve full functionality. If necessary we may recommend further investigations or treatment by other medical professionals, and will refer you to the appropriate people to help achieve these.
Please wear comfortable and loose fitting clothes. Your osteopath may ask you to remove items of clothing to allow them to see your spinal movements, any structural imbalances, or to see the area of concern clearly.
If you would feel more comfortable covered up we do provide a modesty gown (similar to a hospital gown) for our patients, which opens at the rear to allow us to see your back clearly. If you have a lower limb complaint you may be more comfortable wearing a pair of shorts.
Please email Jackie or bring a list of any medication you are taking, and copies of any medical or imaging reports which relate to your complaint if you have had any investigations done (these should be available from your GP).
Yes. If you would like a friend or family member to accompany you please feel free to bring them with you.
Children are welcome to accompany their parents or carers, and we have a small selection of toys for younger children. However some parents feel that they are more able to relax if they do not have to worry about their children. We ask that all patients under 16 are accompanied by a parent or carer with parental responsibility for the full duration of their treatment.
When we are treating new babies it is not unusual for both parents to want to attend the appointment, we understand this and it often proves helpful if the child is unsettled as it allows one parent to focus on the child whilst the other discusses the case history, or the proposed treatment and advice with the osteopath.