It is a method of assessing, treating and preventing a wide range of health problems.
Osteopaths take the necessary time to understand their patients’ unique combination of symptoms, medical history and lifestyle. Together with a clinical examination, this will allow them to determine the causes of the pain or lack of function and provide an accurate diagnosis.
Osteopaths do not just address the site of pain. They will treat other areas that contribute to the presenting complaint or may be the cause of their problems.
They also take into account that everybody is an individual with different need. As a result, treatments are tailored to each patient’s individual needs.
Osteopaths use gentle and safe manual techniques and provide hands on treatment. Osteopathic techniques consist of a combination of strengthening techniques, stretching, targeted deep tissue massage, myofascial techniques, functional techniques, mobilisation and joint manipulation to improve function, relieve pain and facilitate recovery.
Osteopathic healthcare is suitable for all ages. People see osteopaths for a wide range of conditions as well as general wellbeing.
Osteopaths frequently work alongside other health professionals, such as GPs, as well as alternative medical practitioners. Osteopaths work well to complement other medical interventions including surgery and prescribed medication.
The National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) advises that GPs can safely refer patients to an osteopath for treatment. Osteopathy is available on the NHS in some areas of UK.
Contact Sabine to find out which treatment will be most suitable for you or to find out more about her expertise.
What to expect at your first appointment
At your first appointment, your osteopath will ask you questions about your medical history, and lifestyle (day to day routine) as well as symptoms you may be experiencing. This is very important as it will help them make a diagnosis and suggest appropriate treatment. This information will be written down as a form of medical record. These will be treated as confidential in accordance with standards of practice set out by the General Osteopathic Council and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). If you wish you may request a copy of your notes, but you may be charged an administration fee for this.
Your osteopath will need to examine the area(s) of your body causing discomfort. Sometimes the cause of the problem may be in a different area to the pain (for example, pain in your arm may be linked to the nerves in your neck) so they may need to examine your whole body or other areas than the site of pain. Your osteopath will check your posture and movement patterns, assessing as well muscle tension and joint stiffness. In some cases they may perform some medical checks such as blood pressure and orthopaedic, special tests such as tendon reflexes. The examinations received will depend on the presenting problems. At the end of this stage the osteopath will explain their diagnosis and the recommended treatment plan.
These first two stages are the most important part of the consultation. It allows the osteopath to diagnose and to treat the ailment safely and effectively.
They will explain what they are doing as they go along. If you are uncomfortable with any part of this, you have the right to ask them to stop at any stage, without prejudicing your future treatment.
What to wear
As with any healthcare appointment, it may be necessary for your osteopath to ask you to remove some outer clothing. This is so they can see and assess areas of the body causing your concern. Your osteopath will want you to feel at ease, therefore if you feel uncomfortable undressing to your underwear, you may wear clothing such as shorts and a t-shirt, a close- fitting garments, that enable them to work effectively.
You may wish to seek treatment from an osteopath of the same sex of yourself and you are also welcome to ask a friend or relative to accompany you and be present throughout your appointment.
Your osteopath will make a diagnosis and discuss a course of treatment with you. This may involve further visits for manual therapy – a range of gentle hands on techniques that aim at releasing tension, stretching muscles and mobilising joints. Together with exercises that you can do at home and self-care advices to help you relieve or manage your pain further, keep active and maintain the best of health.
Most time, osteopaths will begin treatment at your first appointment, but sometimes they may require further tests first, i.e. blood tests, X-Rays or scans. Occasionally they may suspect, diagnose a condition, illness that they are unable to treat and may refer you to your GP or another appropriate health professional.