Frequently Asked Questions About Osteopathy
What is Osteopathy?
Osteopathy is a system of diagnosis and treatment primarily concerned with mechanical problems of the body, principally within the musculo-skeletal systems (ligaments, tendons, muscles and joints). In short, if it hurts when you move, it is probably treatable with Osteopathy.
Is Osteopathy Safe?
Osteopathy is now governed by statute, and as such, certain qualifications and levels of competent practice are required by law. Commonly, the letters you will see after an osteopath's name will be: D.O.,( Diploma in Osteopathy) or BSc (Ost) Hons ( Bachelor of Science in osteopathy, Honours degree) The latter supersedes the diploma but is not a better qualification. All osteopaths will have completed a course of four years. During this time they will have studied; Anatomy, in great depth, as this is our primary work tool, Orthopaedics, to understand disease processes of the bony structures of the body, Radiology, to be able to comprehend the images on X-rays and MRI Scans, Neurology, allowing us to interpret certain symptoms and tests, related to the nervous system, Physiology; which is the study of the body at a cellular level, we need to have an understanding of the way the body works so that when it starts to fail, we can understand why this is so and whether or not it can be relieved using osteopathy. Medicine; we need to have a reasonable understanding of disease processes and how they present in the individual, in order that we can be sure of being able to help, even if that means passing you onto your Doctor. Certain diseases have pain patterns that mimic musculoskeletal problems. The best known example of this is a Heart attack ( myocardial infarction), where the pain may pass into the left arm and up into the neck. It is possible (although unlikely) that this could be mistaken for a shoulder problem. In reality we will make an assessment of you and your presenting symptoms, let you know what we think and refer onwards, if necessary. Onward referral may be for something we have found co-incidentally, like high blood pressure, which needs to be re-checked by your Doctor, prior to an appropriate course of action. This type of referral may not affect our treatment plan. In other words, there are circumstances when we can still treat you whilst you are under the administrations of your GP.
Are Osteopaths Regulated By Law?
Osteopathy has been regulated by statute since 8th May 2000. This means anyone not registered may not call themselves an osteopath - it is a criminal offence to do so. This regulation has been brought in to protect you. By ensuring all practising osteopaths are competent not only in their osteopathic skills but also in their medical diagnosis.
Osteopaths now, like doctors and dentists are Primary Healthcare Practitioners.
What Can Osteopathy Treat?
Osteopathy has perhaps become synonymous with the treatment of spinal pain perhaps due to lower back pain becoming so common in daily life. In reality osteopathy also helps pain and dysfunction in other parts of the body (e.g. ankles, knees, elbows, ribs etc.), as well as helping the functioning of important areas such as the thorax, abdomen and pelvis.
Osteopathy covers more than just the fixing of symptoms as it aims to try and ensure that the symptoms are much less likely to return in the future.
Do Osteopaths Understand Medical Issues?
Osteopathic training includes a considerable amount of training in medical sciences. While most osteopaths are not doctors, their training and their registration with the General Osteopathic Council assures the patient that an osteopath is competent at considering and identifying 'medical' problems and liaising with the patent's general practitioner when appropriate.
What Treatments Are Used?
The vast majority of osteopaths treat just with their hands using a variety of techniques designed to influence muscles, ligaments, joints and the nerve and blood supply to those tissues.
The osteopathic profession developed a number of techniques and approaches now in common use. Examples are cranial osteopathy (particularly appropriate for babies and small children), muscle energy and soft tissue techniques, and - of course - gentle and precise joint manipulation techniques.
Osteopaths normally suggest - to some degree - advice about exercise and exercises, diet, nutrition, sleep and of course the do's and don'ts of prevention. Advice is always covered in a way appropriate to each patient.
Is Osteopathy Appropriate for Any Age Group?
Yes, osteopathy is appropriate for any age group from infants, toddlers, children, adolescents, adults through to the elderly.
I am Pregnant. Is Osteopathy Appropriate for Me?
Many expecting mums experience low back pain or sciatica during the course of their pregnancy. Osteopathy is often used to alleviate the discomfort of pain induced by the change in shape of the spine that comes in pregnancy. We have helped many mums to a more comfortable last trimester and, have helped them again after baby has been born.
Can Osteopathy be Used to Alleviate Pain After Surgery?
We have had many experiences of reducing pain in patients who have had operations for hip or knee replacement and, although we cannot produce evidence for this in a formal way, patients who have asked us for help have left happy.
How Long Will it Take?
Every problem is different and requires individual assessment to provide an accurate prognosis.
How Can I Avoid the Problem Recurring?
Taking care of your body, exercise, posture, position and, plan your day to allow rest. Visit us when your problem begins to cause discomfort before it really does become a problem again.
Please contact us if you are unsure whether your problem is amenable to osteopathy. We can generally clarify this on the phone.
Further, these excercises are recommended to maintain a healthy spine.
Tel: 01270 886288