Exactly like talking to your GP or any healthcare professional, it is useful to be concise with how you relay symptoms to us but not to leave anything out.
Among other questions, the basics we need to establish are as follows:
1. The site of your pain. 2. How it started. 3. The character of the pain e.g. an aching, dull, throbbing, an ache with sharp episodes etc. 4. If it travels, and if so, where and what causes it to travel. 5. What are the aggravating and relieving factors. 6. Is there a pattern to it? 7. Has it been getting worse, better or staying the same? 8. Any previous episodes? 9. Any other medical history including a list of current medications- prescription and over the counter. 10. ALL family medical history where known.
It can be useful to have these written down to speed up the consult time and maximise the hands-on treatment time.
Techniques used by osteopaths should not hurt at all as they are applied taking into account the individuals' age, fitness, presenting complaint and whether the injury in an active inflammatory phase.
In instances where we would expect soreness, like stretching a muscle, good practitioners will establish a 'pain scale' with you e.g. "6/10 maximum" and will ask you to inform them if they exceed this.
If techniques do hurt, tell your osteopath, so they may adjust their technique or explain again why it may be temporarily sore.
Staying relaxed whilst someone moves your body for you is quite an art but the more relaxed you can be, often the more effective the technique.
How many sessions will I need?
This varies depending on the problem and how 'deep set' it is.
Some conditions may need a course of between 2-10 sessions and that will be it. Other problems may benefit from a course initially and then a few sessions over the following few months. The final type of treatment plan is sometimes referred to as maintenance treatment and is only advised for those where the predisposing factor(s) to the original injury will remain in place in the future.
An example of this being the number of dentists we treat, a few times a year, to offset the constant one sided rotation they do at work, ditto farmers on tractors and many manual trades.
Muscles, joints and nerves have 'tissue memory' and this needs to 'unlearn' incorrect movement patterns.
Our testimonials provide some feedback from some of our clients.
What is maintenance treatment?
Proactive physical healthcare. This is where an individual recognises benefit in not only keeping injury free but having an osteopath or physical therapist occasionally work with them to not only keep things that way, but to enhance joint range of motion in the spine and throughout the body.
Early imbalances are picked up and corrected minimising the risk of age related biomechanical problems, which may result in earlier wear and tear at joint surfaces. Very few people have perfect joint range. Try crossing your arms or legs one way and then the other- habits affect tissue memory and invariably make one way more comfortable than the other. Spinal range of motion can similarly be affected by these asymmetries.
If you have ever driven a car with a tracking problem and observed how the tyres wear on one side; you can apply the analogy to the body-particularly the hips and pelvis when you walk.
The best informed orthopaedic surgeons have begun to recognise the importance of biomechanics in hip arthritis and the role physical manipulation has on preventing further joint wear and tear by maximising full range of motion.
Life being an ongoing physical process puts continual demand on the body. Seeing an osteopath should increase your likelihood of staying injury free and functioning optimally, without pain and stiffness and without causing longer term damage to joints.
Maintenance treatment for optimal spinal and physical health does not need to be frequent and usually costs less than the price of an annual car service. By no means do all people who consult with us need this approach but we will always advise you on suitability/any benefit of maintence treatment for your spine and individual body biomechanics if needed.
Can osteopathic treatment harm me?
Applied correctly, osteopathic techniques cannot harm you. Ensure that your osteopath is registered with the General Osteopathic Council, and you will know you are in safe hands as they have to have carried out a 4 or 5 year degree, with a minimum of 1000 hours clinical experience prior to graduating. Additionally it is a requirement to stay registered that every UK Osteopath carries out at least 30 hours per year of documented additional learning (CPD)
Osteopathy has one of the safest records of any medical/allied medical practice.
Osteopaths complete a four or five-year degree course combining academic and clinical work. This is similar to a medical degree, with more emphasis on anatomy and musculo-skeletal medicine and includes more than one thousand hours of training in specific osteopathic technique.
Qualification generally takes the form of a bachelor’s degree in osteopathy – a BSc(Hons), BOst or BOstMed – or a masters degree in osteopathy (MOst). Many osteopaths continue their studies after graduating.
The standards of osteopathic training and practice are maintained and developed by the General Osteopathic Council, the profession’s statutory regulator established under the Osteopaths Act 1993. Osteopaths are required to update their training throughout their working lives. We must complete at least 30 hours of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) per year in order to remain registered. The British Medical Association’s guidance for general practitioners states that doctors can safely refer patients to osteopaths.
All of our highly trained Osteopaths are registered with the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC). GOsC "regulate the practice of osteopathy in the United Kingdom. By law osteopaths must be registered with us in order to practice. We work with the public and osteopathic profession to promote patient safety by registering qualified professionals, and setting, maintaining and developing standards of osteopathic practice and conduct."