What do Osteopaths do?
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, nerves, ligaments, connective tissues, cardio vascular system and internal organs functioning smoothly together.
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, targeted deep tissue massage and gentle balancing techniques to increase mobility within and between body structures. The overall aim of Osteopathic treatment is to improve movement by mobilising joints, relieving muscle tension and enhancing the blood and nerve supply to tissues to help your body’s own healing mechanisms. Osteopaths also provide advice on posture, exercise, lifestyle and nutrition to aid recovery, promote health and prevent symptoms recurring.
Safety and regulation
All Osteopaths are primary healthcare workers alongside other professions like Gp’s and dentists. We are regulated by the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC). It is against the law to call yourself an osteopath if you are not qualified and registered with the GOsC. The minimum qualification for an osteopath is completion of a four year degree, including at least 1000 hours of supervised clinical practice. We must then continue to update and expand our knowledge by logging a minimum of 30 hours a year of continuing professional development. GOsC can remove an osteopath from the register if they fail to maintain a strict code of professional practice. Check whether any osteopath is registered by visiting the GOsC website.
What to expect
At Chapel Place Osteopaths we take time to understand each patient, their unique combination of symptoms, medical history and lifestyle. The initial consultation may take up to 1 hour. This helps to make an accurate background diagnosis of the causes of the pain or lack of function, rather than just focussing on the ‘painful bit’. Then we formulate a treatment plan that will achieve the best outcome. Normally the first consultation includes treatment.
The first part of the consultation involves questions about your problem, your general health and lifestyle. We then move onto physical examination to look at your posture and overall body movement. What to wear is relevant at this stage. Depending on the location of your problem we may ask if you’re comfortable removing some items of clothing, for instance so that we can see your back. It is never essential to remove clothing but it is helpful if you can wear clothing that is either loose or flexible enough to allow your body to move freely, such as vest tops, shorts, leggings or baggy things. We want to gain as much information as we can whilst maintaining your comfort and modesty and will always allow you to decide what suits you.
We will ask you to actively move and then to either sit or lie down on a treatment plinth so that we can move various joints or regions of you body to confirm a diagnosis and treatment plan. Clinical tests may be required to assess factors like your nervous system or cardiovascular system.
Next we will discuss our diagnosis and advise you on different courses of action. We will describe different treatment techniques that we find effective, allowing you to decide how to proceed based on what you are comfortable with. One option is to not proceed with treatment if that is your decision or if we feel further investigation is indicated first.
If between us we decide to proceed with treatment we will describe each procedure as we go along to ensure you understand what is about to happen and gain your consent. At all points in this process you retain control over what happens and can ask for alternative techniques to be used.
During and after treatment we discuss the various ways you can help yourself in terms of specific exercise or changes to lifestyle, diet the way you work and your own approach to fitness.
We will discuss how long it may take to resolve your issues and whether further treatment may is beneficial. You have control as to how we proceed; we will not insist you return for a set number of treatments because how quickly or slowly each individual responds to Osteopathic treatment varies. If you do need and want to come back, each time we will discuss what YOU want to do next.
It’s worth bearing in mind that although our hands on approach can vary from super gentle to more robust, the main aim is to improve movement in some way. People can respond in different ways from instant relief to steady improvement. Some people can experience a period of delayed stiffness or soreness following treatment, which is then followed by an improvement in symptoms. At Chapel Place Osteopaths we encourage you to call us to discuss how you feel after treatment if you are unsure.