Osteopathy is a form of treatment which focuses on imbalances in the musculo-skeletal system, looking at each problem and how it affects the whole body, rather than just locally. For this reason, whatever problem a patient brings to the practice, the Osteopath will probably need to look at the whole spine and limbs and how the posture holds this structure together.
Osteopathy is appropriate for people of any age – from babies and children right through to adults and senior citizens. The type of problems that osteopaths can help with varies from sudden acute attacks of pain to long standing more complex problems. Typical examples are joint pains, arthritic or rheumatic pain, neck, and backache, sciatica, muscle spasm and fibromyalgia through to symptoms which may have a link to the musculo-skeletal system such as digestive and circulatory problems.
Paediatric osteopathy includes the treatment of babies and children. It is always lovely to check babies to help relax and balance their systems and give them a good start in life. In children, challenges of the body keeping up with growth spurts, commonly present as growing pains and joint irritability, which can also respond well to osteopathic treatment. We also treat women before, during and after pregnancy when their bodies need to go through and manage physical changes and differing demands.
Treatment varies from very gentle balancing techniques, known as cranial osteopathy, to soft tissue massage and stretching and sometimes manipulation of restricted joint areas. Cranial osteopathy is a very precise treatment approach using subtle pressure on the head or any area of the body to help restore a sense of balance and improved function. This may help patients of any age feel more relaxed and comfortable. It can be used safely on babies and children as well as adults. The number of treatments required differs depending on the severity of the problem and the time it has been in existence.
What to Expect
On your first visit the osteopath will need to take an extensive case history, which will require personal and medical details as well as a history of the problem to be addressed. From this information the osteopath begins to formulate a diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan.
The osteopath will also need to assess your posture and movement. This will initially be done whilst you are standing and then will continue once you are lying on the treatment table. Once the osteopath has discussed their diagnosis and proposed treatment plan with you, they will begin your first treatment.
Treatment is normally fairly gentle, but may entail some stronger movements, the osteopath will always tell you what he/she is doing as the treatment progresses.
Some problems may be simple and only require 2-4 treatments to reach conclusion, others may be more complicated and need several short-term, treatments followed by a few spread out treatments to monitor progress. The osteopath may make suggestions linked with posture, lifestyle, diet or exercise to help you.
Treatment may sometimes cause a slight reaction/increase of symptoms over the following 24-48 hours and to help minimize this we always suggest trying to follow up treatment with a quieter 24 hours. Relaxation breathing, care with posture and simple hot and cold bathing (hot 1 minute, cold 1 minute, repeat 3 times) can be very helpful.
Quite often though, people will feel relaxed, more mobile and in less pain. If ever you have any worries, we would always encourage you to phone the practice and one of us will be able to advise you.
If the osteopath feels they cannot help your problem they will always try and suggest an alternative that may help.
Patients are welcome to bring shorts to feel more comfortable and are always welcome to have a chaperone. Consent for treatment to proceed will be asked (and this can be withdrawn at any time).
What Osteopaths Treat
Osteopaths are commonly known for treating low back pain and postural problems including changes due to pregnancy, caused by driving or work strain, the pain of arthritis or minor sport injuries. Here are more examples:
- Back Pain
- Foot and Ankle Pain
- Hand and Elbow Pain
- Knee Pain
- Neck Pain
- General Aches and Pains
- Shoulder Pain
- Circulatory Problems
- Sciatic Pain
- Muscle Spasms
- Neuralgia and Fibromyalgia
- Tension/Inability to Relax
- Sports Injuries
Our patients vary from babies and children, to the elderly, manual workers, office professionals, pregnant women and sports people.
It is important not to be frightened of these symptoms and to try to keep active. They are an important part of the process of getting better. You can often get relief from using a cold or hot pack for about 5 minutes or alternatively 1minute hot/1minute cold for 6 minutes and finish with cold, or from anti-inflammatories if your gut can tolerate these. Your osteopath will discuss this with you and give you postural advice, basic exercises or relaxation techniques to help you manage this phase and get you on the road to recovery and feeling better.
If symptoms persist or you are worried in any way, please don’t hesitate to contact the practice for further advice.
Risks of Osteopathic Treatment (NCOR.ORG.UK)
Osteopathic treatment is very gentle and has a very low risk of any potential severe adverse outcome (i:1,000.000) The current evidence base for risk relating to spinal manipulation includes studies from a number of different professional disciplines (eg: chiropractic, physiotherapy, medicine as well as osteopathy); they may have different interpretations of manipulation and perform manipulations in slightly different ways but the information from these studies is still relevant to osteopathic practice
Reactions to Osteopathic Treatment
Patients often feel more comfortable and relaxed after treatment. However, because we are making changes to your body mechanics, you can experience a transient increase in symptoms – aching, tenderness, stiffness.
These normally resolve within 24/48 hours and are usually due to some increased inflammation or muscle spasms.
Approximately half of all manual therapy patients experience some mild to moderate short-lived reaction to treatment.
In a study of osteopathic patients, 10-20% reported an increase in pain or symptoms, however 42% of those went on to make clinically significant improvements compared to base line. Most muscle soreness, aching and headache post treatment resolved within 24 hours.
Insurance Companies That Cover Osteopathic Treatment
- Freedom Health
- Health Shield
- Simply Health
Please check with your health insurer beforehand. Sadly BUPA and Axa PPP do not cover osteopathy at this practice.
- Joanna C. Cheaney D.O. (Hons)
- Liz Halsey B.Sc.(Hons) OST.M.Phil
- Jose Fernandez B.Sc.(Hons) OST
- Elizabeth Curphey B.Sc.(Hons) OST.B.A.(Hons)
- General Osteopathic Council – Osteopathy House, 176 Tower Bridge Road, London SE1 3LU
- Institute of Osteopathy – 3 Park Terrace, Manor Road, Luton, Beds. LU1 3HM
- Sutherland Cranial College(SCC) – P.O. Box 91, Chepstow NP16 7ZS
- Stockport Acupuncture – Acupuncture with Fiona Bullock
- Back Care – The Charity for Healthier Backs
- ilovebramhall.com – Community and commercial information portal