What to expect

What we do and how we do it

What we do 

Although osteopaths treat many conditions, most people think of us as 'back specialists'. Back pain is what many osteopaths treat a lot of the time. Osteopathic treatment does not target symptoms only but treats the parts of the body that have caused the symptoms. Osteopaths have a holistic approach and believe that your whole body will work well if your body is in good structural balance, Imagine, for example, a car that has one of its front wheels not quite pointing straight. It may run well for a while, but after a few thousand miles, the tyre will wear out. You can apply this example to the human body, which is why it is so important to keep the body in good balance. We use a wide range of techniques, including massage, cranial techniques (sometimes referred to as 'cranial osteopathy') and joint mobilization and this breadth of approach allows us to focus on every patient's precise needs. 

Osteopaths assess and treat people of any age from the elderly to the newborn and from pregnant women to sports people. 

How we do it

Your medical history 
Before we start to treat you, we will make a full medical assessment. We take time to listen to you and ask questions to make sure we understand your medical history and your day-to-day routine. We'll ask you about things like diet, exercise and what is happening in your life, as these may give clues to help our diagnosis. 
We may feel your pulse and check your reflexes. We may also take your blood pressure and refer you for clinical tests, such as x-rays, if we think you need them.

Your posture 
We usually look at your posture and how you move your body. We may also assess what happens when we move it for you and see what hurts, where and when.

Trouble areas 
Using touch, we may also find the areas which are sensitive or tight and this helps us to identify what's going on. 
When we have done this, we can diagnose your condition. We may sometimes feel that osteopathy is not appropriate for you and refer you to your GP or another specialist such as an orthopaedic surgeon.

Your treatment 
Osteopaths use a wide range of gentle manipulations, depending on your age, fitness and diagnosis. 

Treatment is different for every patient but may include techniques such as different types of soft tissue massage and joint articulation to release tension, stretch muscles, help relieve pain and mobilise your joints. 

Sometimes, when we move joints you may hear a 'click'. This is just like the click people get when they crack their knuckles. 

We may discuss exercises that you can do to improve your posture and movement in your workplace and everyday life.

Respecting you – Your modesty matters

It is important that you feel comfortable during your osteopathic treatment, particularly around matters of modesty and privacy.

At the start of your first session we will ask questions about your medical history and lifestyle as well as your symptoms. This is very important as it will help us to make an accurate diagnosis and suggest appropriate treatment. This information is kept confidential in conjunction with the Data Protection Act 1998.

We will need to examine the area(s) of your body causing discomfort. Sometimes the cause of the problem may be in a different area to the pain, (for example, a difference in leg length may result in compensations in the upper back which might result in neck pain) so we may need to examine your whole body.

We will need to feel for tightness in the muscles and stiffness in the joints and may need to touch these areas to identify problems. We will explain this as we go along, but if you are uncomfortable with any part of this then let us know, we can discuss this with you or stop if you prefer.

As with a visit to a GP or other medical professional, for us to examine you effectively it may be necessary for your them to ask you to remove some clothing as appropriate for the condition. This may mean undressing down to your underwear. If this is a problem for you then let us know and we will try to make arrangements that make you more comfortable.

You are also welcome to bring someone with you for all or part of your consultation, and children should always be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Remember, if you have any questions we will be happy to discuss this with you

Ref: BOAhttp://www.osteopathy.org