Over the last 30 years Osteopathy has become an increasingly popular choice of treatment for back pain.
Every day 30,000 people will pay a visit to an Osteopath. Along with this rise in popularity has come increased recognition by the NHS and health insurance companies, and stronger professional bodies, in particular the General Osteopathic Council which oversees both training and professional standards.
Osteopathy is best known for its treatment of back pain, but can be used to successfully treat a wide variety of conditions, such as headaches arising from the neck and minor sport injuries, sciatica, shoulder pain, tennis elbow, and hip and knee problems. If your condition affects your ability to sit, stand or move comfortably, then it is likely that an Osteopath can help you.
HOW DOES OSTEOPATHY DIFFER FROM OTHER THERAPIES?
Osteopathy is a system of diagnosis and treatment that is best known for working with the structure and function of the body. To an Osteopath, the way your body moves influences how it functions. Our training is focused on understanding the relationship between the body’s organs, joints and muscles. Osteopaths are experienced in treating disorders of the musculoskeletal system throughout the entire body. My personal philosophy is focused around active patient involvement and, where possible, I like to use Pilates based exercises to give patients a better understanding of what is happening in their body and what they can do to stay healthy. By teaching these skills as a follow up to Osteopathic treatment, I aim to reduce the likelihood of a relapse. A recurrence of symptoms is still possible, but the skills that you learn in my clinic can make them more manageable and short-lived.
A PATIENT CENTRED APPROACH
A patient-centred approach requires time. Your first appointment can last up to an hour and subsequent appointments up to 45 minutes. At your first appointment I will listen and ask questions about your general health, other medical care you are receiving or medication you are taking. Your answers will be recorded in your case notes, which are confidential.
I will then examine you. It is likely that you will be asked to remove some items of your clothing. If you are uncomfortable about this at any point please tell me. You may like to have someone accompany you. You will be asked to perform some simple movements while I observe your posture and mobility. Because of the way the body’s structures interlock, pain or stiffness experienced in one area may be linked to a problem elsewhere. I will then examine you more closely; placing my hands on joints, muscles and ligaments, using a highly developed sense of touch called palpation. If necessary I may carry out tests, such as reflexes or measure your blood pressure. Very occasionally I may detect the signs and symptoms of serious conditions which I cannot treat. In this case I will advise you to see your GP or go to hospital. I can provide you with a letter setting out my findings.
A FLEXIBLE APPROACH TO TREATMENT
I have listened to you and examined you, now it’s time to explain what I’ve found and discuss with you possible treatment plans, together with their risks and benefits. I will also give you an idea of the likely number of sessions needed before a noticeable improvement is achieved.
You may have a common condition but your body is unique to you. Osteopathy understands that uniqueness and is designed to work with the needs of your body. It focuses on the person with the diagnosis, rather than the diagnosis itself. Osteopaths have a wide range of treatment skills at their disposal. Whatever skills they decide to use on you, they will carefully monitor the response from your body. This will help ensure that the treatment is both helpful and comfortable.
My personal approach tends to involve touch, manipulation, stretching and massage. Using these treatment skills, I aim to:
- Increase the mobility of the spine and other joints
- Relieve muscle tension
- Enhance the blood and nerve supply to the body’s tissues
- Help the body’s own healing mechanisms
I also make use of ultrasound, both diagnostically and therapeutically, as well as an interferential machine.
Exercise is an integral part of my approach and I have a fully equipped Pilates studio. Pilates exercises can help mobilise, stretch or strengthen the body. After the treatment session, I will discuss self-help measures and give you home exercises to aid your recovery. Osteopathy is a relatively safe form of treatment. However, it is not unusual to feel a little sore in the first 24-48 hours after treatment. If you have any concerns or need advice please contact me.
Video: Osteopathy Section
A PROFESSIONAL APPROACH
Huge changes have occurred in the profession as a result of the Osteopaths Act which passed through parliament in 1993. All Osteopaths must be registered with the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC). The GOsC is there to ensure that all Osteopaths are covered by professional indemnity insurance, and are of good character and fit to practise. The GOsC also makes sure that Osteopaths are properly trained and, once qualified they keep their knowledge and skills up to date. Osteopaths are recognised by the NHS as fully qualified to diagnose and treat independently. Most Osteopaths, including myself, work privately. You do not need a referral from your doctor to see an osteopath.
My patients range from young adults to those aged eighty plus. I can usually see people within 3 days of contact. I qualified in 1995 and went straight into private practice. After 5 years I began working for the NHS in a Physiotherapy Department in the North West of England. At present I work privately in the Arundel area.