What is Osteopathy?
Osteopathy is a method of assessment, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of musculoskeletal and other related disorders. 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, ligaments and connective tissues functioning smoothly together.
Osteopaths use a holistic approach and take time to understand their patient, and their unique combination of symptoms, medical history and lifestyle. This helps make an accurate diagnosis of the cause of the pain or reduction function (rather than just addressing the site of pain). Using this approach an osteopath will formulate a treatment plan for the individual patient, not their condition, that will achieve the best outcome.
An Osteopath will treat the patient using a combination of hands-on techniques including movement, stretching, targeted deep tissue massage and skilled manipulation of a person’s spine and joints with the aim to improve function, relieve pain, aid recovery and restore a state of balance within the body.
In the UK, Osteopathy is an established primary health care system and is a statutorily regulated profession overseen by the General Osteopathic Council requiring the successful completion of a four-year degree course which includes at least 1000 hours of supervised clinical practice. They then must undertake ongoing continual professional development throughout their careers, logging a minimum of 30 hours per year.
Osteopathy is recognized by the British Medical Association and World Health Organisation and the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) advises that GPs can safely refer patients to an osteopath for treatment.
Registered Osteopaths treat more than 7 million people each year in the UK, making the profession a major provider of primary health care.
Conditions treated by Osteopaths
An osteopath may be helpful in the management of conditions including, back pain both acute and chronic, headache arising from the neck and migraine, shoulder and elbow pain such as frozen shoulder and tennis elbow, foot and ankle pain, hip pain, arthritic pain, sciatica, sports injuries and much more.
What happens on your first visit?
On your first visit, your osteopath will take a detailed case history, including previous medical complaints and conditions that may be relevant to your current complaint. The details you provide will be strictly confidential. They will then carry out a physical examination which will not only look at the area of the complaint but also look at how the body is functioning more generally. They may ask you to do some simple movements or stretches, to observe your posture and mobility. They may also want to do some more general health testing such as taking your blood pressure.
After this, your osteopath will explain fully what they feel is causing your condition/ complaint and discuss a treatment plan that is suitable for you and that they feel is appropriate. This is most likely to be osteopathic treatment or may refer you for further tests, such as x-rays.
Your osteopath is likely to ask you to remove some of your clothing during your physical examination so that they can examine you properly but you will be provided with a towel and/ or gown if you feel you need one.
Osteopathy offers Holistic Approach to Treatment
One of the great strengths of osteopathic treatment is the unique way it combines more conventional medical approaches to diagnosis and treatment while still maintaining a holistic patient centered focus that aims to treat the patient as an individual. An osteopath will use their hands as the primary tool in both assessment and treatment and use a wide variety of manual therapy techniques including high-velocity thrusts, muscle and fascial stretching techniques and soft tissue massage. At Back to Active our osteopath is also highly skilled in Exercise Prescription, Medical Acupuncture and in Kinesiology tape application which may also be used as part of your treatment.
Osteopathy and Sport
An osteopath can not only treat sporting injuries but can also help improve performance in sport. Using their knowledge of diagnosis and highly developed palpatory skills they can help to restore structural balance, improve joint mobility and reduce adhesions and soft tissue restrictions that can improve performance and help prevent injury. Osteopaths were part of the London Olympics central medical and inter-disciplinary physical therapies team and many elite level sports people and teams are now using osteopathic treatment more and more as part of their training programs.
Is Osteopathy Safe?
Osteopathy is extremely safe. It is estimated that between 1 in 50,000 and 1 in 100,000 patients will suffer a reaction to osteopathic treatment that is serious enough to require further medical treatment or that does not resolve in 48 hours.
Due to the physical nature of the treatment, it is not unusual to sometimes feel slightly stiff or sore for the first day or two after treatment. Your osteopath will explain any likely reactions during your treatment and if you have any concerns it is important to contact your osteopath.
What to expect from your Osteopath
When visiting your osteopath, you can expect a high standard of care. Your osteopath will make your care their priority, treating you with the utmost dignity and respect throughout the consultation. They should involve you in all decisions about your care and respond to any concerns you raise. You should also expect to see noticeable improvements in your symptoms in the time frame that the osteopath has suggested.
At Back to Active Osteopathy we pride ourselves on this and strive to get you back to action as soon as possible.
Why Choose Back to Active Osteopathy
At Back to Active Osteopathy, we adhere to the principles of osteopathy by applying non-invasive drug-free manual therapy. Our methods and techniques place emphasis on improving total body function and health. We aim to reduce your pain levels and get you back to moving better than before by looking for and addressing any dysfunctional movement patterns with both manual treatment and a personalized exercise prescription.
If you are suffering from back or shoulder pain, joint problems or issues arising out of an injury, give us a call to find out if our osteopathy services could be right for you. Our treatment is priced reasonably and you can expect to receive personal care.
You can find more information on Osteopathic treatment from the General Osteopathic Councils website http://www.osteopathy.org.uk.