1. Can you find me an osteopath in my area?
You can use either the Find an Osteopath section of this website to find an osteopath in your area or you can call the iO office on 01582 488455.
2. Is this normal?
- They asked me to undress: To make a diagnosis and treatment, it is usual for the osteopath to ask you to remove clothing from the area being examined and treated. This may mean undressing down to underwear. The osteopath should explain how much clothing it is necessary to remove and then leave you to undress in private and provide you with a towel or blanket so that you can cover yourself. If you are uncomfortable undressing to your underwear it may be possible for the osteopath to examine and treat you while you are wearing shorts or a t-shirt. You should discuss this with your practitioner.
- I feel worse after treatment: Roughly half of all patients treated by an osteopath will experience some localised soreness in the area treated, which will usually go away within two days and can be relieved with over-the-counter painkillers. If your discomfort persists, please contact your osteopath for advice.
3. How does osteopathy differ from physiotherapy and chiropractic?
Osteopaths, chiropractors and physiotherapists are all regulated health professions, requiring practitioners to train to degree level, and then to maintain their clinical skills and professional standards. Whilst all three techniques involve manual therapy, they are all based on very different schools of thought and their approach to patients is different.
The body, as we all know, has the capability to repair itself, and osteopathy is based on this principle. As primary healthcare professionals, osteopaths have a broad base of training, allowing them to diagnose, treat and advise upon a wide range of conditions. An osteopath will work to help your body return to normal function, using techniques such as movement, stretching, manipulation or deep tissue massage to help achieve the best outcome.
- An osteopath will work with all of the muscles, joints and structures of the body, including the spine. Osteopaths use gentle, focused manipulation techniques to mobilise the spine and other structures and will continuously examine your body monitoring changes throughout treatment. A chiropractor will tend to focus on the spinal joints alone and use a quite different method of manipulation which some people may find more forceful.
- Osteopaths tend to use a more hands-on and individualised approach to assessing and treating patients compared to physiotherapists. Osteopaths will seek to understand their patient in the context of their lifestyle, firstly by taking a full case history, and then using a combination of skilled observation and palpation to feel how well the body, including the muscles and joints, is functioning. These all form an intrinsic part of developing a personalised treatment plan.
Some osteopaths specialise in many of the same areas as physiotherapists including breathing mechanics, rehabilitation and sports injuries.
Practitioners of all three disciplines vary in their treatment approaches and post qualification training, and may specialise in the treatment of specific patient groups or conditions. When seeking treatment you should discuss your symptoms and concerns with the practitioner, and be sure that their skills and treatment style will suit you.
4. What can osteopathy help with?
Patients consult an osteopath for a variety of reasons: to relieve pain, to return to their normal daily activities after injury, or because they are worried about their health. Osteopaths are primary healthcare professionals and can advise on a wide range of health concerns, including referral to other health professionals when appropriate.
Early intervention is key. Whether you are suffering from a long standing, chronic condition, a new problem or occasional discomfort, taking advice and getting preventative treatment can be a worthwhile investment in your long term health.
In the same way that many people visit their dentist to reduce the likelihood of requiring a filling, occasional check-ups with an osteopath allows potential problems to be detected and treated before they become an issue.
5. How much will treatment cost?
Osteopaths set their own fees, which vary depending on where they practice, how long the appointment is and whether specialist knowledge or techniques are recommended. Also the duration of treatment can vary, with more severe or complex conditions needing more or longer appointments. Your osteopath should be able to give you an indication of how much treatment you’ll need and how much it will cost when they examine you and make a diagnosis. Osteopaths won’t ask you to book appointments that you don’t need.
6.Does osteopathic treatment hurt?
Osteopathic treatment is usually very gentle, but manipulating, massaging or stretching an injured area may be uncomfortable. Your practitioner will explain what you are likely to feel and will stop if you tell them that the treatment is causing you too much pain.
7. Can I bring a friend/partner?
Yes, osteopaths are happy for you to be accompanied by another adult during all or part of your treatment if it makes you feel more comfortable. Children should always be accompanied by a parent or guardian throughout treatment.