OSTEOPATHY FAQs



WHAT IS OSTEOPATHY?

Osteopathy is a way of detecting and treating damaged parts of the body such as muscles, ligaments, nerves and joints. When the body is balanced and efficient, just like a well tuned engine, it will function with the minimum of wear and tear, leaving more energy for living.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN OSTEOPATHS, CHIROPRACTORS & PHYSIOTHERAPISTS

Each professional group will look at any problem with the body; from the head to the feet. Approaches used by these practitioners are individual, and each will have their own unique style of addressing problems. Osteopaths generally use a more holistic approach and look away from the spine as well as at the spine. A good starting point for making a decision for you is a personal recommendation.

ALWAYS check that the practitioner is registered with their governing body!

WHAT TRAINING & QUALIFICATIONS DO OSTEOPATHS HAVE?

Osteopaths undertake four to five-year honours degree programmes underpinned by thorough clinical training.

WHAT IS CRANIAL OSTEOPATHY?

Cranial osteopathy is a refined and subtle type of osteopathic treatment that encourages the release of stresses and tensions throughout the body, including the head.
It is a gentle yet extremely effective approach and may be used in a wide range of conditions for people of all ages, from birth to old age.

WHAT CONDITIONS CAN OSTEOPATHY TREAT?

Osteopaths will look at a variety of common conditions including changes to posture in pregnancy; babies with colic or sleeplessness, repetitive strain injury, postural problems caused by driving or work strain, the pain of arthritis and sports injuries. However, each person is considered individually rather than a treatment for a type of problem.

WHAT HAPPENS ON MY FIRST VISIT TO AN OSTEOPATH & DO I HAVE TO UNDRESS?

On your first visit, the osteopath will spend time taking a detailed medical history including important information about your lifestyle and diet. This helps determine whether you are safe to treat.
You will normally be asked to undress to your underwear or shorts and vest top and perform a series of simple movements and tests. This will allow a full diagnosis and treatment plan tailored to your needs and will also allow your Osteopath to be able to refer on to other practitioners if deemed appropriate.

WHAT HAPPENS DURING TREATMENT?

With their hands osteopaths identify abnormalities within the human structure and function. They then facilitate the body's ability to heal itself through a variety of stretching, mobilizing and manipulative techniques. With added exercises and health advice, osteopaths help to reduce the symptoms and improve your health and quality of life.

HOW MANY TREATMENTS WILL I NEED?

Normally between 2 and 6 sessions are required, though in some difficult chronic cases this may be longer. Many patients decide that they would like to have periodic preventative treatments to avoid recurring problems.

DO MANIPULATION TECHINIQUES HURT?

Some people experience a small amount of discomfort, but not always. If you have previously experienced pain then let your practitioner know, it is always possible to use a different technique.

IS OSTEOPATHY SAFE?

In 1993 the Osteopaths Act was passed by Parliament; it formally recognised and regulated the profession. An osteopath must be trained by a recognised institution and registered with the General Osteopathic Council in order to practise. It is illegal to call yourself an Osteopath unless registered.
Osteopathy is commonly recognised by healthcare professionals in the NHS, many of whom make referrals to osteopaths when other forms of treatment are not successful or are considered inappropriate.

ARE THERE ANY SIDE EFFECTS?

Dependant on what type of treatment you have, some people may experience minor discomfort for 48 hours post treatment. It is important to let your practitioner know this during the next session.

IS OSTEOPATH TREATMENT COVERED BY PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE?

Many private health insurance schemes give benefit for osteopathic treatment. Some companies will reimburse the total fee that you have paid to the osteopath, some only a percentage. All insurances companies have help lines to explain your actual benefits and methods of claiming.

DO I NEED A REFERRAL FROM A G.P.?

No. However, Osteopathy within the NHS is available on an extremely limited basis. GPs are permitted to refer patients to osteopaths as statutory regulated professionals and the British Medical Association (BMA) provides guidance to GPs on referrals to osteopaths. Approximately 26% of patients seen by osteopaths are referred by GPs but the majority of patients seen by osteopaths are self-referred.

IS OSTEOPATHY SAFE FOR OLDER OR YOUNGER PATIENTS?

Yes. Treatments are tailored to the individual and are suitable from birth to old age.

WHAT ABOUT MY CURRENT GYM OR EXERCISE PROGRAME?

If you are in pain and coming for treatment it is important to discuss with your Osteopath what your current exercise regime is. This way, they can work with you/your personal trainer/gym staff to aid speedy rehabilitation and prevent further injuries.