What is Osteopathy?
Osteopathy is a hands-on approach to healthcare that involves the diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of musculoskeletal conditions. Osteopaths look at the body holistically i.e. assessment and treatment is not isolated to the area thats painful, but looks at how movement and function of the rest of the body has influenced the development of pain and maintained it, thus restoring balance to the body's musculoskeletal system.
Treatment involves combinations of manual therapy techniques, such as stretching, massage, mobilisations and manipulations with the purpose of restoring joint mobility, relieving muscular tension and enhancing the blood and nerve supply to tissues. Your Osteopath will likely give advice on posture and exercise to aid recovery, promote health and prevent reccurence of symptoms.
Osteopaths are primary health care practitioners and you do not need a referral from your GP to receive Osteopathic treatment. Osteopathy is recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.
What do Osteopaths treat?
Patients seek Osteopathic treatment for a variety of conditions including:
What to expect during your first consultation
Your first consultation at Balanced Osteopathy will typically last longer than follow-up appointments, this is so that you can fully describe the problem and its history, and for an accurate diagnosis to be made.
Your consultation will then usually involve the following components:
Current problem - You will have the opportunity to fully describe your presenting complaint and questions will be asked to help determine the source of pain /discomfort.
Medical history - To get an accurate picture of your overall health, questions will be asked about your past medical history, current health and any medication that you are on.
Clinical examination - Depending on the problem, examination may involve checks on things like blood pressure, reflexes etc.
Osteopathic examination - This includes looking at your standing posture; identifying any joint movement restrictions and feeling for areas of tension or discomfort. After examination, a diagnosis is determined and if necessary, you may be referred on to your GP or other specialist with your consent.
Treatment - Treatment is different for every patient but may include a variety of techniques such as soft tissue work, stretches, joint mobilisations and sometimes manipulations. Depending on the problem, you may be given rehabilitative exercises or advice on how to manage your pain.
What to bring with you
For examination and treatment, you will likely be asked to undress down to clothing such as shorts or leggings that allow for proper assessment and treatment. Please make sure you have something suitable with you that you feel comfortable in. Towels are also provided at the appointment.
Regulation of Osteopathy
All osteopaths in the UK are regulated by the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC) and are required to renew their registration each year. As part of the annual renewal 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.
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.