Frequently Asked Questions
FAQ’s About Osteopathy
Is osteopathy safe?
Yes, it is one of the safest forms of healthcare in the world. all Osteopaths in the UK have to be registered with our governing body which is the General Osteopathic Council. All of our osteopaths are registered and will identify any risks before any treatment is given or referred to the appropriate person for the next course of action.
Osteopathy has been proven to be remarkably safe, as it has now been recommended in the latest NICE guidelines and for GP’s to advise physical therapy such as osteopathy in the treatment of back pain.
Due to the physical nature of treatment your osteopath will explain possible risks of treatment and discuss any concerns you may have prior to commencing treatment. It may possible that could feel sore 24-48hrs post treatment, if for any reason there are any problems please contact us directly first.
Does osteopathy really work?
The most recent NICE guidelines state physical therapy such as osteopathy which includes spinal manipulation has now been recommended as a successful treatment approach for back pain.
A huge research study (UK BEAM) published in the BMJ, one of the most respected journals in the world, stated that “spinal manipulation is a cost effective addition” and “manipulation alone probably gives better value for money than manipulation followed by exercise”.
“We believe that this is the first study of physical therapy for low back pain to show convincingly that both manipulation alone and manipulation followed by exercise provide cost effective additions to care in general practice” They also found out that’s they have underestimated the benefit of physical therapy such as osteopathy. https://www.bmj.com/content/329/7479/1381
What training do osteopaths get?
Today’s osteopaths are well educated. They undertake an intense 4 – 5 year full time degree course with specific emphases on anatomy, physiology, pathology, neurology, X- rays, spinal adjusting and soft tissues techniques, not to mention the 1,500 clinical experiences under the guide of qualified osteopaths. This demanding curriculum prepares osteopaths to locate the disorders in the body and spinal misalignments.
To graduate with an honours degree, each candidate passes a demanding Examination. Then, osteopaths apply to a governing before being granted the privilege to practice.
Due to the osteopath Act 1993 it is now illegal for someone to call themselves an osteopath unless they have undergone training at an approved school, so you now have the same safeguards as when you visit a doctor or dentist.
Osteopathic education never ends, many complete post graduate training.
What do I need to wear to my appointment?
During the initial consultation your osteopath may ask you to undress to your underwear in order to carry out a thorough examination. However if you would feel more comfortable please bring with you a pair of shorts or leggings. Going forward with your treatment sessions it is also advised to wear loosely fitted clothing in order for your osteopath to be able to move your body freely.
How many treatments will I need?
The number of treatments varies with each patient and their individual health goals.
Problems that you have neglected may require ongoing care for optimal function. Other acute problems may only require a few visits. In any event visits become less often as your spine and body stabilises. But it is important to remember that each visit builds on the one before. Chronic cases may require months or even years of treatment.
How long until I feel better?
Some patients have instant relief. Others discover it can take weeks or months. Many factors can affect your recovery such as your age, how long you’ve had the problem, severity and keeping your appointments.
Whilst every patient reacts differently, your osteopath will be able to advise you on your likely recovery time. In most cases you will feel a definite change for the better early on in your treatment plan. Most patients do express feeling “better” or “lighter” after just one or two treatments, but in general, the longer you’ve had it, the longer it will take to get it sorted. Your commitment to the recommended treatment plan, home exercises and any diet or lifestyle adjustments will also determine your treatment outcome and your long term benefits from osteopathic care.
Do I have a slipped disc?
Your discs serve as a connector, spacer and shock absorber for your spine. However due to the way it attaches to the spinal bones it can’t “slip”. It can tear, bulge, thin, dry out or worse, rupture. This can be painful since the soft centre leaks out putting pressure on the spinal cord or nerve roots. While results can’t be guaranteed, many patients have avoided surgery or depending on pills by choosing osteopathy.
Do I have a pinched nerve?
Many patients consult an osteopath because they believe they have a pinched nerve. In fact a pinched nerve is rare. While commonly associated with the spine, pinched nerve (compressive lesion) is actually rare. Researchers suggest that only 1% to 15% of spine related problems are caused by direct pressure of bone on nerve tissue! This can result in numbness, burning, or a “pins and needles” feeling More frequently nerves are irritated (facilitative lesion) stretched, scraped or have their blood supply reduced by a loss of spinal curves, malfunctioning spinal joints, tight muscles or inflammation. This can distort nerve messages sent between body and brain and can cause numbness, pins and needles or unhealthy alterations to the organs and tissues.
What makes the clicking sound?
Lubricating fluids separate the bones of each spinal joint. A British research team have revealed that the sound you hear results from gas rushing in to fill a partial vacuum when the joint are slightly separated.
Do osteopaths treat more than bad backs?
Because osteopaths mainly treat Spinal dysfunction it is generally misconceived that osteopath’s treat back pain only. This is not so, indeed many treat a variety of conditions such as those listed below.
- Sciatica/shooting pain down legs
- Pain due to pregnancy
- Children’s clinic
- Arthritic pain
- Digestive problems in adults
- Minor sports injuries
And much more…
Can I speed up the healing process?
While there are no short cuts to better health there are many things you can do. Although movement is important to aid healing proper rest is vital. Give your body the rest it needs and avoid sleeping on your stomach. Proper nutrition is more important than ever so make sure you eat balanced meals and if you’re overweight now might be a good time to slim down and decrease stress to your body. Also make sure you sit and lift correctly. Perhaps most important is to keep your appointments and follow your osteopath’s recommendations.
Am I too old for osteopathic care?
More and more people are consulting osteopaths in their later years. With concerns about over medications and side effects of drugs, safe natural osteopathic care is growing in popularity. Many people are told to put up with their pain due to their age. Good news you don’t have too! Restoring better body and spinal function can help improve mobility, vitality and endurance. As we get older and wiser the simplicity and effectiveness of osteopathy becomes more and more obvious.
Why do children need osteopathic care?
Significant trauma to the spine and skull can occur at birth and so many have their new borns checked. Preliminary studies suggest that colic unusual crying, poor appetite or ear infections can be signs of spinal cord distress.
Paediatric care is extremely gentle and modified to the Childs needs. Many childhood complaints are brushed off as “growing pains” can often be traced to some dysfunction of the body or spine. Regular check-up can identify and avoid health complaints later in life.
How about painkillers?
Today’s lifestyle calls for an “instant fix” for every health problem. Too often we say we have no time to be ill or that we can’t let an ache stop us. It’s time to put your priorities right! Painkillers may help you feel less pain, but they do not address the underlying cause of the pain they just cover up the symptoms. In fact, excessive use of painkillers for common ailments, such as headaches, can actually make your headaches worse. Even worse they can cause adverse effects such as liver or kidney damage! Remember pain is a signal from your body that something is not right. Painkillers may also have serious side effects, osteopathy is a much safer way of managing your pain and overall health! Furthermore, if you continue to ignore the cause of your pain, irreversible premature degenerative changes may result. osteopathic care is aimed at resolving the underlying cause of the pain and then keeping you in better health. Don’t bury your head in the sand go and see someone who will take you seriously – see an osteopath for the expert help you need.