We have gathered together information to answer some of the questions we are most frequently asked. The answers given are the opinions of the individual Osteopaths concerned, based on their experiences as practicing Osteopaths.
What happens on my first consultation?
Your visit will take between 30 mins and 1 hour depending on the practitioner you are seeing. Please bring with you any results of tests or X rays you may have had done plus details of medication. The Osteopath will take a detailed case history in order to get an understanding of you. This will include a medical history as well as details of any accidents and falls.
Do I need a referral letter from a Doctor or a Specialist?
A referral letter is not required to come to see us, unless you are claiming from your insurance company who may require that you are referred by either your Doctor or a Consultant. Conditions vary so please check with your Insurance Company.
Please note that in order to keep our costs to a minimum patients usually pay us directly and then claim back fees from the Insurance Company.
Will I be asked to undress?
On the first visit you may be asked to undress to your underwear so the Osteopath can view your spine. It is important that the Osteopath is able to gather as much relevant information as possible. Women are provided with a medical gown. You are welcome to bring a chaperone if you wish.
How long does a course of treatment take?
This depends on the nature and complication of the problem. As a general rule things which occurred recently, will resolve fairly quickly: 1 to 3 treatments. Longer term, more chronic conditions will take longer. Your Osteopath will discuss your individual situation with you at your 1st treatment. Be assured we have a very busy practice and will not keep you coming longer than necessary.
How does it work, you don’t appear to be doing anything?
See the Short Video Series for more info, but our objective is to engage with the body’s process of healing. If we are accurate in our diagnosis of how the body is trying to resolve its problem it requires very little effort to set the process of healing in motion. It’s a bit like rowing a boat downstream all you need to do is maintain enough motion to be able to steer. Trying to row up river is much harder work…
What happens if I get a treatment reaction?
These do happen at times and may be as a result of the body reacting to the stimulus towards health it has been given, or as a result of the body being unable to continue the process of adaptation that the treatment has enabled it to set into motion. Your practitioner will be able to advise you.
What is the difference between Osteopathy and Physiotherapy?
If you go to a physiotherapist with a knee problem the physiotherapist will treat the knee and surrounding tissues. In a local recent traumatic injury this is an excellent approach. They may use various pieces of equipment, massage and provide an exercise routine. They are often the 1st line of approach as treatment is available on the NHS.
If you go to an Osteopath with a knee problem the osteopath, as well as looking at the local area, will look at the structural mechanics throughout the body to understand how and why the knee problem is being maintained. You may find that the Osteopath treats your neck to de-stress the knee and produce a resolution in un-resolving or longer-term problems.
Physiotherapists and Osteopath often have very complementary roles.
What is the difference between Osteopathy and Chiropractic?
Both therapies have a similar root. In 1895 a Mr D.D Palmer in severe distress came for treatment in the School of Osteopathy in Kirksville Missouri. He stayed in one of the student houses over the winter and was treated by them. He was impressed by his progress and stayed to study Osteopathy. In 1896 he went home and started his own school of Chiropractic. He disagreed with some of A.T. Still’s theories on the principles behind how Osteopathy worked.
Dr Still believed a disturbance in motion between parts of the spine or elsewhere in the body caused congestion and disturbed blood supply to nerves and local structures and this was the precursor of disease. Dr Palmer believed that the spine and segments getting out of place, leading to nerve entrapment, was the root of all disease.
In the different theories lie the different approaches. In Chiropractic thrusts are used to put vertebrae back into place. Whereas In Osteopathy more gentle movements are used to render motion to an area.
It is the quality of the individual practitioner which should inform your decision rather than the particular discipline. Talk to the practitioner, see how they listen to you, are they considering you as an individual or as a set of symptoms.
What is Cranial Osteopathy?
Cranial osteopathy is a subtle and refined approach to osteopathy that follows all the principles of osteopathy, but that includes the anatomy and physiology of the head.
A highly trained sense of touch enables us to feel subtle changes of tension and tissue quality in the living anatomy of the whole body, and to diagnose areas of strain or dysfunction.
Using this approach, the osteopath listens to and is guided by the body’s inner knowledge of what is wrong, which may be different to the patient’s ideas and the osteopath’s opinion. This helps us to understand and treat the cause of the symptoms, to reduce the chance of symptoms returning in the future.
What is the difference between Osteopathy and Craniosacral therapy?
Craniosacral therapy was founded by an Osteopath, John Upledger. Osteopaths in the USA also have the same training as medical doctors and he wanted to make it more available by teaching non-osteopaths. He introduced various other concepts such as energy cysts.
In our opinion while craniosacral therapy can be helpful in many cases, it is not a comprehensive therapy in its own right. Cranial osteopathy is a part of Osteopathy and for its safe and effective application it depends on a deep understanding of Osteopathic principles and a thorough and continuing study of anatomy.
Chose your individual practitioner on the basis of how they understand you and your needs.
Is it OK to mix treatments?
The therapeutic process takes place as much in the interval between treatments as during the treatment itself. The body needs time to respond to the treatment. Mixing treatments is therefore very individual and should be tailored to your circumstances.
At some stages of the treatment process it can be an interference to healing while at other times it can be supportive. Please discuss your individual case with your practitioner.