A: Osteopathy is an established, recognised system of diagnosis and treatment that lays its main emphasis on the body’s musculoskeletal system. It is distinctive in the fact that it recognises much of the pain and disability we suffer stems from a breakdown in the body’s innate ability to heal itself which can occur when the structure and function of the body is disturbed.
Osteopathy uses many of the diagnostic procedures involved in conventional medical assessment and diagnosis. Its main strength, however, lies in the unique way the patient is assessed from a mechanical, functional and postural standpoint and the manual methods of treatment applied to suit the needs of the individual patient.
It is the osteopath’s comprehensive approach to healthcare that makes treatment unique. Osteopaths do not look on patients simply as back sufferers but as individuals with their own unique requirements for health. Treatment is designed to correct each individual’s mechanical problems in order to stimulate their own natural healing processes. Osteopaths do not simply treat locally at the point of pain, but look at all the factors contributing to a disturbed state of natural health.
Osteopaths use their hands both to investigate the underlying causes of pain and to carry out treatment using a variety of manipulative techniques. These may include muscle and connective tissue stretching, rhythmic joint movements or high velocity thrust techniques to improve the range of movement of a joint. Gentle releasing techniques are often used, particularly when treating children or elderly patients.
A: The first session, which lasts ¾ of an hour, starts with you being given our patient information sheet to read and sign. A full medical history is then taken covering not just the present problem, but your general health and fitness levels. You will then generally be asked to remove some of your clothes, normally down to your undergarments, so it is best to wear something suitably comfortable and modest. Gowns are available if required.
You will normally be asked to perform a simple series of movements. I will then use a highly developed sense of touch, called palpation, to identify any points of weakness or excessive strain throughout the body.
I may need additional investigations such as X-ray or blood tests. This will allow a full diagnosis and suitable treatment plan to be developed with you. Osteopathy is patient centred, which means the treatment is geared to you as an individual.
A: Whilst a lot of our time is spent treating patients with painful backs, that is by no means all we do. Any musculoskeletal pain may be amenable to treatment by osteopathy.
Osteopaths can treat:
A: Anyone suffering from pain may find osteopathy helpful. Recent studies have shown that people suffering from chronic pain may find osteopathy a useful adjunct to their normal medical approach.
Pregnancy can be a difficult time for some women, as the hormonal changes and growing baby impose strains and stresses on the back and joints.
Mothers with young families living an active life having to lift children on a regular basis can benefit from osteopathic treatment .
Middle aged people who want to remain active may benefit from regular treatment to keep them flexible and reduce the likelihood of acute pain.
Desk bound people working at computers are particularly vulnerable to back pain.
People undertaking jobs that cause them to adopt unusual postures for long times such as plumbers, electricians, decorators, hairdressers, carpet fitters and curtain hangers often develop work related pain and postural problems. Tese are often eased by osteopathic treatment.
Many leading sports people recognise the benefits of maintaining good levels of flexibility to reduce the likelihood of injury and rely on osteopaths to provide regular treatment to improve their performance and resilience.
A: Osteopaths are statutorily regulated health professionals forming an integral part of primary care teams.
The General Osteopathic Council (GOsC) was established under the Osteopaths Act 1993 to regulate, promote and develop the osteopathic profession in the UK, maintaining a Statutory Register of those entitled to practise osteopathy.
Only practitioners meeting the highest standards of safety and competency are eligible for registration. Proof of good health, good character and professional indemnity insurance cover are requirements.
It is an offence for anyone to describe themselves as an osteopath and practise as such, unless registered with the GOsC. The public can, therefore, be confident in visiting an osteopath that they will experience safe and competent treatment from a practitioner who adheres to a strict Code of Conduct.
A: I work from premises in St Albans. It is in a private location and has ample free parking available. I am 5 minutes drive from St Albans town centre and within easy reach of the M1 and M25.
A: There is no set rule to the number of treatments that will be necessary as this is dependent on a variety of factors unique to each patient; including the type of medical complaint, whether it is chronic or acute, etc. I will always discuss your course of treatment with you on your initial visit.
Typically between two and six treatment sessions are needed, though this varies according to the severity of the problem.
A: I can be contacted by email, phone, or by my confidential voice mail service