frequently asked questions
What's the difference between Osteopaths, Manual Therapists, Chiropractors and Physiotherapists?
It's not the role of any health professional to try to define what another health care professional is, and what they do. If you want a definition, it would be best to ask people in those professions. What we can do is tell you about the defining characteristics of Osteopathy, which are its underlying philosophy and its broad range of techniques.
While "Biomechanics" has become one of the most rapidly developing areas of medicine in recent years, Osteopathy was an early profession to incorporate biomechanical analysis of how injuries occur and what the secondary effects are likely to be. To take a simple example, if you go to an Osteopath with a knee injury, the Osteopath will do much more than just examine and treat your knee. They will want to know exactly how the injury occurred in order to assess not just which tissues in the knee are injured, but also whether there may be any involvement of other areas with a mechanical relationship to the knee, such as the foot, hip, low back and pelvis, and the associated soft tissues.
They will then want to analyse any possible secondary effects. For instance, you may be "avoiding" the bad knee and putting more weight on the other side. Over a period of time, this may lead to problems developing in the low back or the "good" knee. The Osteopath will then use this information to prescribe a treatment plan that addresses not just the knee, but all of the other areas of the body and associated tissues that may be involved. The plan will include attention not just to the joints and their associated soft tissues, but also to the blood supply to the affected areas, the lymphatic drainage, the nerve supply etc., in order to include all those factors which will affect the success of healing. It is this "whole body, multi-system" approach that has been the basis of Osteopathy's success over the last century.
What will happen on my initial visit? (45-60 minutes long)
A comprehensive case history will be taken. You will be asked about your problem, general health, hobbies and occupation – please bring a list of any medication that you are taking, if you have x-ray results please bring these along. This will help establish the best course of action and if any further screening tests need to be completed such as a blood pressure check. The body works in an integrated way: a problem in one area could be caused or maintained by a problem in another, therefore a full postural examination normally takes place, the examination routine will also involve a combination of joint movements and may involve some other medical tests. Your diagnosis will be explained along with discussion and delivery of a tailored treatment plan to help you. Further actions will be suggested for you to take to help you recover. Initial visit will last between 45 – 60 minutes.
How often will I need treatment?
This depends on your problem. We may need to treat you again within a few days, but in most cases the ideal interval between the first and second treatment is a week. This gives your body time to adjust to the alteration that has taken place.
After significant improvement, it is often better to leave even longer between treatments. Follow up treatment tends to last 30-45 minutes.
Do I need to attend for regular treatment?
Many cases of musculoskeletal disturbances that are treated involve degenerative change of one sort or another. Osteoarthritis of the hips and spine are two such common problems.
By attending for treatment once each month for treatments involving gentle manipulation and mobilisation of the joints our patients find they need less medication and retain good mobility and an independent life. Lots of patients are treated well into old age finding real benefit and relief from pain due to their maintenance treatments.
Can I help myself?
After your first treatment, we will suggest that you rest. This helps avoid any further stress to the damaged area and shows us how you are reacting to treatment without any other influences.
Later, when you are recovering well, we may suggest some exercises to keep you mobile. In general we prefer you to keep as active as you can and - where possible - to keep up your daily routine of work and other activities. Researchers have found that people who can keep their normal routine get better quicker than those who rest completely.
We will also advise you on ways to improve your posture and movement at work.
Should I tell my doctor that I am seeing an osteopath?
We prefer you to tell your doctor about any treatment that we give you, just as we like to know about other treatments that your doctor gives you.
If we think that for any reason your doctor should be informed on medical grounds, we will discuss it with you.
Will I have to undress?
We do get a better idea of how your body moves without clothes, so we prefer you to undress down to your underwear. It is advisable to wear tight fitting and modest underwear or come along with shorts. Whilst being treated you will be covered with towels – apart from the area that is being treated. Your comfort is my utmost concern, so if you are uncomfortable with this for religious or other reasons, please let us know when you make the appointment. You may also bring along a friend or relative. Anyone under the age of 16 needs to have a parent or guardian present.
Is Osteopathy treatment painful?
In general, no. There may be some mild aching or a slightly "bruised" feeling after treatment – this can last for up to 24 hours. Many patients feel freer and more comfortable almost immediately. If you feel worried or concerned about the body's reaction to your treatment then you should call the practice and ask to speak to Amanda for advice and reassurance. If Amanda is not available leave a message on the answer phone and she will call you back as soon as possible.
Do I need to be referred for treatment?
No, you can refer yourself. Although some GP's will recommend or refer you for treatment.
Do you get in touch with my Doctor?
Yes we do, but not automatically. If your GP has referred you to us, we may with your permission, write back to him/her with details of the osteopathic findings, diagnosis, treatment and any progress. We will write to your GP, again only with your consent, if we need any more clinical information on your case, or if we need to send you back for further medical tests, treatment, or for referral to a specialist.
How much does treatment cost?
For costs, please see the Treatments & Techniques page.
What are Treatment Hours?
For hours, please see the Treatments & Techniques page.