What is osteopathy?
Osteopathy is a holistic form of manual therapy which aims to restore normal function to the patient's body, using gentle manipulative techniques. Under 'The Osteopaths Act 1993' osteopathy became the first complementary health care profession to be accorded statutory recognition and at over 135 years old, it is one of the oldest and most respected forms of alternative therapy available in the UK.
How does it Work?
The osteopath uses observation, active and passive movement tests and manual palpation to ascertain the underlying causes of the patient's discomfort and then uses the most appropriate techniques to correct them - returning the body to health. Treatment involves carefully moving the patient's body about (articulation), gentle stretching and relaxation techniques on muscles and other soft tissues and occasionally a manipulation in the back or neck. If a patient does not want their back or neck 'clicked', the osteopath is able to use less vigorous techniques to achieve the same results.
Who do Osteopaths see?
Everyone! Our patients include: sportsmen, sportswomen, athletes, office workers, manual workers, singers, musicians, dancers, yogis, teenagers, adults and the elderly.
What do Osteopaths treat?
These are some of the most common conditions that osteopaths see:
- Aches and Pains
- Anterior Knee Pain (Patellofemoral Syndrome)
- Arthritic Pain
- Back Pain
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Circulatory Problems (local and minor)
- Digestion Problems
- Fibromyalgia (Fibrositis)
- Frozen Shoulder (Adhesive Capsulitis)
- Golfer's Elbow (Medial Epicondylitis)
- Headaches (Cervicogenic and Tension Type)
- Inability to Relax
- Joint Pains
- Low Back Pain (Lumbago)
- Lower Back Tension, Soreness and Stiffness
- Muscular Aches and Spasms
- Muscle Tension
- Myofascial Pain Syndrome
- Nerve Pain (Neuralgia)
- Non-Specific Low Back Pain
- Plantar Fasciitis
- Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI)
- Rheumatic Pain
- Rotator Cuff Syndrome
- Runner's Knee (Iliotibial Band Syndrome)
- Sciatica (Nerve Root Irritation)
- Sports Injuries (minor)
- Tennis Elbow (Lateral Epicondylitis)
- Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
- Trigger Point Pain
Please be aware that osteopaths treat the body as a whole, rather than just focusing on any one particular medical condition - the aim of the osteopath is always to look for the underlying cause(s) of the patient's problem and return the body to balance. If you are not sure whether osteopathy is right for you and you would like to discuss treatment with us, please call our clinic or e-mail us with your queries.
Is there any research?
In 2009 NICE (the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) released guidelines to the NHS for the 'Early Management of Persistent Non-Specific Low Back Pain', which included manual therapy as one of the recommended modes of treatment. The manual therapies reviewed were spinal manipulation, spinal mobilisation and massage - all of which are techniques performed by qualified, registered osteopaths. Non-specific low back pain (tension, soreness and/or stiffness in the lower back region) is caused by problems with structures in the back, such as joints, discs, muscles, tendons or ligaments. The guideline covers the early treatment and management of persistent or recurrent low back pain, defined as non-specific low back pain that has lasted for more than 6 weeks, but for less than 12 months.
What happens when I see the Osteopath?
The osteopath will undertake a thorough case history to establish exactly what the complaint is. They will then perform a clinical examination to determine a diagnosis - often the site of pain is not the primary cause of the problem. Having reached a diagnosis, they will discuss their findings with the patient and begin treatment.
Does it hurt?
Osteopathic treatment aims to relieve the patient of their pain in as gentle a way as possible. The osteopath will always discuss what their intentions are before, during and after treatment and will only proceed with the patient's consent.
How long does a treatment take and how many will I need?
The first treatment usually lasts about 1 hour, follow-up treatments around 40 minutes. Some problems may only need 3 or 4 treatments, more serious or long-term problems will often require more. The osteopath will discuss the diagnosis and prognosis with the patient during the first treatment and explain how many treatments they feel might be needed.
What is the training?
Our Osteopaths successfully completed 4 year full-time Masters of Osteopathy Degrees in the UK. This included undergraduate training in structural, functional, sports and classical osteopathic techniques. They continually undertake post-graduate osteopathy courses and seminars, and attend medical lectures to keep their practice and knowledge up to date with the latest osteopathic and medical research.
What is the history?
Osteopathy was founded over 135 years ago by an American frontier doctor - Dr Andrew Taylor Still (predating physiotherapy and chiropractic). It was in 1874 that Dr Still first used the term "Osteopathy" to describe what is now a well established complementary therapy. The key principles laid down by Dr Still continue to be used today as the basis for osteopathic assessment and treatment:
- The structure of the body affects its function
- The body is a self-healing unit
- A good blood supply throughout the body is vital for good health
- Restrictions in the body will eventually lead to disease