Frequently Asked Questions About Osteopathy
What is osteopathy?
Osteopathy is a complementary system of healthcare which is suitable for everyone from babies to the elderly. It is a manual therapy based on the philosophy that the structure and function of the body are closely linked and that movement underpins health and facilitates healing. Osteopathic techniques aim to influence all the systems of the body including muscles, bones and the nervous system, as well circulatory and immune function to encourage good health. Your osteopath will use a variety of techniques specifically tailored to your individual presentation helping you achieve a better balance.
Do I need to see my GP first?
You do not need to consult your GP or doctor before seeking osteopathic treatment, however your GP or doctor are able to refer; the British Medical Association advise doctors that they may safely refer patients to osteopaths.
What conditions are suitable for osteopathic treatment?
Osteopathy can be used to treat many musculoskeletal problem (bones, muscles, joints, tendons, ligaments). It is a widely used therapy for generalised pain in areas such as the back, neck, shoulder, hip, knee etc. and can deal with acute muscle spasms, fatigue, nerve pain, tension and posture-related headaches. Osteopathy has been found to be effective in the rehabilitation of sports injuries including sprains, tears and tendonitis.
Common conditions people seek osteopathic treatment for include:
- arthritis or joint pain
- frozen shoulder
- tennis elbow
- carpal tunnel syndrome
- pregnancy related back pain
- plantar fasciitis
- fibromyalgia etc.
Osteopathy can also be an effective complement to orthodox GP/NHS in the care of systemic diseases such as circulation problems and high blood pressure (stage one hypertension) as well as influence digestive or gynaecological conditions.
What to expect?
At your initial appointment we will take a full case history and you’ll be given the opportunity to discuss your symptoms, lifestyle, diet and any existing conditions and medications. All information is given in the strictest confidence.
Osteopaths consider and treat the body as a whole. For an osteopathic evaluation you will be required to dress down to underwear, vest & shorts, or similar appropriate clothing; towels will also be available. A full examination including palpation and a brief postural assessment will be carried out; you will be asked to carry out some simple movements and your osteopath may move your body passively to complete the assessment.
We will explain the diagnosis, proposed treatment and likely number of sessions. The treatment approach chosen will be tailored to you and relate to your condition and preferences. The first appointment focuses on reaching a diagnosis; follow up appointments are treatment focussed.
If for any reason further medical investigation is considered advisable (xray, MRI or blood test) your osteopath, with your permission, will refer you to your GP or specialist and work colloboratively to provide you with the best possible care. When it is thought your condition is unlikely to respond to osteopathic treatment, we will advise you on other possible options.
What to wear?
Osteopathy: For the most efficient evaluation and treatment we recommend you dress down to appropriate underwear or bring vest & shorts. It is important that you feel comfortable and that we are able to assess you and access the area causing pain effectively and easily.
Sport Massage: For the most effective treatment it is important we can access all areas which need attention and you feel comfortable. We recommend smaller more fitted shorts; and covered bra with back fastener for women.
Pilates & Yoga: We recommend you wear comfortable clothes that are form fitting but not restrictive. It is best to avoid clothes with zips and poppers.
What techniques are used in osteopathy?
The treatment and techniques chosen will depend on a number of factors including your presentation and preferences. Your osteopath may use a number of the following:
- direct and rhythmic movement techniques
- strength and stretch methods for muscles
- soft and connective tissue techniques
- neuromuscular therapy
- joint manipulation
- techniques to encourage fluid flow and tissue repair
- medical acupuncture
- indirect, gentle, harmonic approaches
How many treatments will I need?
The number of treatments you will need depends on a number of factors including your health and condition. At Rebalance we will propose the most appropriate treatment plan for you and keep appointments to a minimum. Your osteopath will be able to give you a guide after your first consultation. When it is thought your condition is unlikely to respond to osteopathic treatment, we will advise you on other possible options.
Are there any side-effects?
Some soft tissue techniques may cause slight discomfort during treatment and it is possible you may experience some soreness or tiredness the day following some sessions, however this is a normal and healthy response to treatment.
Your osteopath will talk to you about any potential discomfort during treatment and what to expect afterwards; you should always let us know if any techniques cause you any pain.
How do I cancel my appointment?
You can cancel your appointment by calling 020 7127 8127, or sending a message via email or our contact us form. Please provide at least 24 hours notice for any cancellations so that we may use the appointment for someone else. Missed appointments may incur the full charge. Read more.
Your question not answered here? Send us your question via our contact us form and one of our team will get in touch.