What is Osteopathy ?
Osteopathy is a system of diagnosis and treatment for a wide range of medical conditions. It works with the structure and function of the body, and is based on the principle that the well-being of an individual depends on the skeleton, muscles, ligaments and connective tissues functioning smoothly together benefit from osteopathy
To an osteopath, for your body to work well, its structure must also work well. So osteopaths work to restore your body to a state of balance, where possible without the use of drugs or surgery. Osteopaths use touch, physical manipulation, stretching and massage to increase the mobility of joints, to relieve muscle tension, to enhance the blood and nerve supply to tissues, and to help your body’s own healing mechanisms. They may also provide advice on posture and exercise to aid recovery, promote health and prevent symptoms recurring.
Regulation of osteopathy
All osteopaths in the UK are regulated by the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC).
Osteopaths are required to renew their registration each year and we provide registrants with an annual licence to practise. As part of this process, the GOsC checks that osteopaths have current professional indemnity insurance, remain in good health and of good character, and have met mandatory continuing professional development requirements.
Protection of title
The title ‘osteopath’ is protected by law. It is against the law for anyone to call themselves an osteopath unless they are registered with the GOsC, which sets and promotes high standards of competency, conduct and safety. The GOsC can, and will, prosecute individuals who practise as osteopaths when they are not on the GOsC Register.
Who and what do osteopaths treat?
Osteopaths’ patients include the young, older people, manual workers, office professionals, pregnant women, children and sports people. Patients seek treatment for a wide variety of conditions, including back pain, repetitive strain injury; changes to posture in pregnancy, postural problems caused by driving or work strain, the pain of arthritis and minor sports injuries.
Visiting an osteopath
Osteopathic practices should be able to provide information about the osteopath, the clinic, what the treatment involves, payment methods and anything you need to know in advance of your first visit.
Listening and examining
Osteopathy is a patient-centred, system of healthcare. At your first appointment the osteopath will:-
• Listen and ask questions about your problem, your general health, other medical care you are receiving or medication you are taking, and record this in your case notes.The information you provide will be confidential;
• Examine you properly. It is likely the osteopath will ask you to remove some of your clothing. Tell your osteopath if you are uncomfortable about this. You can
ask a friend or relative to accompany you and be present throughout your treatment.
• Ask you to make simple movements and stretches to observe your posture and mobility. Because of the body’s structure, pain or stiffness you are experiencing in one part may be linked to a problem elsewhere.
• Examine the health of the joints, tissues and ligaments using their hands and a highly developed sense of touch called palpation.
Your osteopath will also check for signs of serious conditions they cannot treat and may advise you to see your GP or go to hospital. They should provide you with a letter explaining what they believe to be the problem.
Diagnosis and treatment
Osteopathy specialises in the diagnosis, management, treatment and prevention of musculoskeletal and other related disorders.
Your osteopath will give you a clear explanation of what they find (their diagnosis) and discuss a treatment plan that is suitable for you. They will explain the benefits and any risks of the treatment they are recommending. It is important to understand and agree what the treatment can achieve, and the likely number of sessions needed for a noticeable improvement in how you feel.
Treatment is hands-on and involves skilled manipulation of the spine and joints, and massage of soft tissues. Your osteopath will explain what they are doing and will always ask your permission to treat you (known as consent). Ask questions at any time if you are unsure what you have been told or if you have any concerns.
Self-help measures and advice on exercise may be offered to assist your recovery, prevent recurrence or worsening of symptoms.
Because of the physical nature of the treatment, it is not unusual to sometimes feel sore in the first 24-48 hours after treatment. Your osteopath will explain any likely reactions that you could expect. If you have any concerns it is important to contact the osteopath and ask their advice. It may require more than one visit before your problem is resolved.
Still asking. What is Osteopathy?
You can find more about Osteopathy throughout the website, or contact us for more information