What is osteopathy?
Osteopathy is a system of diagnosis and treatment for a wide range of medical conditions - not just bad backs. It is based on the principle that the well-being of an individual depends on the ability of bones, muscles, ligaments and connective tissue to function together harmoniously. Using various techniques to increase the mobility of joints; relieve muscle tension; and to enhance the blood and nerve supply to tissues, Osteopaths believe that treatment should enable the body to heal itself.
One of the basic concepts underpinning osteopathy is to treat the individual in relation to the environmental factors that will influence their well-being, thus promoting optimum conditions for maintaining good general health.
The National Institutes 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 the UK.
Regulation of osteopathy
All osteopaths in the UK are regulated by the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC) and are required to renew their registration annually. As part of this process, the GOsC checks that osteopaths have current professional indemnity insurance and have met continuing professional development requirements. It is against the law to call yourself an osteopath unless you are qualified and registered with the GOsC.
What to Expect from an Osteopathy Consultation:
Your first appointment will last up to an hour. During this time your osteopath will ask about your general health and lifestyle, and about the symptoms or injuries that you are seeking help with. They may also look at test results, x-rays and scan reports if these are available. A physical examination will follow this, which may include performing simple movements and stretches to observe your posture and mobility; checking reflexes, and taking your blood pressure. Using touch, we may also find the areas which are sensitive or tight, as this can help us to make a diagnosis.
Your osteopath will give you a clear explanation of what they find and will discuss a treatment plan that is suitable for you. They will make you fully aware of any risks associated with the treatment they are recommending. Feel free to ask questions at any time if you are unsure what you have been told, or if you have any concerns.
If we believe that your condition would not be improved with osteopathic treatment we will, without hesitation, refer you to your GP or another suitably qualified professional. We will explain why we feel osteopathic treatment would not help you in this instance.
Osteopaths work very hard to make treatment as painless as possible, but you may experience some discomfort during and after treatment. Your osteopath will warn you if they think that the technique that they are about to use is likely to be uncomfortable, and will stop if you tell them that you are in pain.
What to wear:
It may be necessary to remove some clothing to examine the areas of the body causing concern. If you are uncomfortable undressing to your underwear, wear clothing such as shorts and a T Shirt, or close fitting garments that will enable effective examination without causing any unnecessary distress. You are welcome to bring someone with you into the examination room if this helps to put you at ease.
What to bring:
If you are currently taking any medication it would be useful if you brought a copy of your prescription. In addition, if you have any relevant x-rays, MRI or CT scans or radiologists reports please bring those with you.
Do I need to see my doctor first?
You do not need to see your doctor first but you are encouraged to keep your GP fully informed, so that your medical records are current and complete. With your permission, your osteopath may send a report to your GP with details of your condition and treatment.
How much does it cost?
First appointment will last 1 hour and costs £40.
Subsequent appointments will last up to 30 minutes and cost £30.
We are willing to discuss concessionary fees in special circumstances.
If you have health insurance you may wish to check with your provider as to whether they will cover the costs for you.