What We Can Treat.
Osteopaths treat a wide range of conditions that include back and neck pain, peripheral joint pain, cervicogenic headaches, minor sporting injuries, arthritic pain and changes to posture in pregnancy.
• What should I expect on my first visit?
The first visit consists of taking a detailed case history including a full medical history. This ensures that you will receive the appropriate treatment for your condition and that there is no medical cause for your symptoms. Rarely patients are referred back to their GP for further investigation before treatment commences.
If your condition is safe to treat you will be asked to perform a number of different movements to assess how the joints are moving. For this you may be asked to undress to your underwear to allow a clear view of your posture, to examine mobility, and conduct a range of tests, all of which help to clarify the condition and its underlying causes. However, if loose clothing is worn (track suit bottoms, shorts, leggings -No jeans!) we can generally move it around to be able to assess adequately without the need for you to undress.
Once a diagnosis has been made about the cause of the problem this will be discussed with you along with a suggested treatment programme. Treatment is also included on your first visit. At the end of the session you will be given advice on self-help exercises, posture and pain relief.
• What should I expect from subsequent treatments?
Following some questioning about the changes to your condition a brief re-examination is made. The allows the progression of treatment to be assessed objectively and ensures that it is adapted accordingly. During these visits both hands-on treatment is provided as well as advice regarding exercises or lifestyle modifications that will assist in your recovery. Any questions you may have can be addressed along the way.
• How frequently are treatments?
This depends on the problem and its severity. In some cases, particularly when the pain is acute, then is more effective to see the patient again within a few days. Generally treatments are spaced roughly one week apart, although as the condition begins to improve they may be spaced more widely.
Some patients feel that they benefit from visits on a regular basis despite the absence of any pain. In such cases they may chose to attend every few weeks or months for a check-up – a body MOT!
• Will treatment be painfull?
Some of the techniques employed by osteopaths may occasionally provoke a mild discomfort during their application, but communication between the patient and osteopath means that this should never be to a degree that would be unpleasant.
Occasionally after visits patients may experience a treatment reaction with a slight exaggeration of their symptoms for a brief period, normally no longer than 24 hours.
• Do I need to consult my GP before visiting an osteopath.
Generally not. Most patients self refer without first consulting their GP.
Some private medical insurers require that you be refered for osteopathic treatment by you GP. If you are in any doubt then first check with your insurance provider.
• What happens if I cannot attend an appointment?
Please try to give as much notice as possible. When allocated time is wasted it prevents other patients from receiving attention, some of whom may be in considerable pain.
Clearly there are always genuine reasons why attendance may not be possible and it is not my policy to request the fee when this is the case.
In Safe Hands.
Peace of Mind.
Osteopaths treat the whole person and take other areas of the body into consideration rather than just the area in pain. We diagnose with our case history notes, clinical examination and palpation. We treat with ‘hands on’ techniques, exercise prescription and postural rehabilitation.
• What are the clicking sounds you get with an osteopathic adjustment?
An “adjustment” is a procedure employed by osteopaths to restore proper movement patterns to a joint and reduce any irritation of the nerve structures around the joint.
These techniques are called high velocity low amplitude thrusts (HVLATs) and often cause a cracking noise to be heard in the joints. This noise is a release of gas into the synovial fluid inside the joint. As the joint is gapped by the osteopath, the pressure decreases inside the joint and the dissolved gas is released. This technique frees off the joints very quickly as muscles holding the joint restriction in place let go. Although it is a painless procedure, it is common to experience some muscle soreness for 24-48 hours after an adjustment.
• What’s the difference between an osteopath, a chiropractor and a physiotherapist?
There are probably more similarities than differences as we are all ‘musculo-skeletal experts’ and treat similar conditions. To make matters more confusing, all osteopaths will develop their own styles and techniques so that treatment between different osteopaths will also vary.
Generally though, most chiropractors tend to treat the spine and pelvis and not do too much ‘soft tissue’ work i.e massage. They also routinely use x-rays for diagnostic purposes. From an academic point of view, the training is almost identical now, taking between 4 and 5 years to qualify. Both professions are fully regulated by statute law, giving the public full protection.
Physiotherapist’s work to get patient’s involved in their own care, through education, awareness, empowerment and participation in their treatment. They prescribe exercises routinely. Unfortunately it appears that most NHS physiotherapists do very little ‘hands on’ techniques these days, this is not the case with private physiotherapy. . There may also be a long wait for physiotherapy on the NHS by which time acute conditions may have become chronic.
Essentially, we all treat the same conditions but may arrive at the end result in a different way. The choice is like ‘Coke’ and ‘Pepsi’ – some prefer one over another but both will quench your thirst.
All 3 professions have their titles protected by law. It is illegal for anyone to call themselves an Osteopath, Chiropractor or Physiotherapist unless they have done an approved training course and are members of their professions governing body. In our case – the General Osteopathic Council.(GOsC).