What is osteopathy?
The general osteopathic council describe osteopathy as ‘a system of diagnosis and treatment for a wide range of medical conditions. It works with the structure and function of the body, and is based on the principle that the well-being of an individual depends on the skeleton, muscles, ligaments and connective tissues functioning smoothly together.’
Explained a bit more simply, I see an osteopath as a musculo skeletal mechanic who has an in depth knowledge of human anatomy and the functional workings within the muscle and joints of the body and their links to the nervous system. Having said that an osteopath also understands that there is more to a human then just simply being a collection of pulleys and levers. Something a lot of osteopaths will say is that they look at you holistically which means they take into consideration all aspects of your lifestyle, your habit and your unique physical make up. This makes each assessment and treatment individual and bespoke and our osteopaths aim to enable a patient to help themselves maintain good joint health once it is reached!
Your First session
On your first session it is very important for an osteopath to understand what brought you to booking the appointment. To do this your osteopath will ask you questions about your pain and how it came about, they will also ask question about your current and past medical history, your family history, work and general lifestyle in order to understand all aspects of your discomfort and therefore begin to focus in on what sort of treatment will be best for you.
The next part of the session would usually involve the patient removing some clothing to expose the injured area for your osteopath to examine. Your osteopath will talk you through this part and if you have any reservations and will work within your comfort level. The next part will most likely involve some movement and examination using their hands of the joint or area where you are experiencing pain.
Throughout this time your osteopath will continue to check for signs of serious conditions that would mean them referring you elsewhere to your GP or hospital. Here at Complete Health Osteopathy we strive to be explaining our findings as we go and encourage questions throughout the session and are always happy to slow down and explain.
Should you require and be suitable for treatment your osteopathy will then begin to use skilled manipulation and mobilisation techniques to move the joints, advanced massage techniques to stretch muscles and ligaments and restore normality where possible. Advice and exercise may be suggested at the end of the session.
Osteopath or Chiropractor - what’s the difference?
Each profession uses orthopedic and neurological examination skills, similar to those used by traditional medical practitioners, to examine and diagnose their patients' presenting complaints. They will all teach patients a variety of exercises to be carried out at home to reinforce their care between treatment sessions.
The chiropractor is primarily focused on manipulation of the spine, an Osteopath is also concerned with the rest of the tissues and tends to use massage, mobilisation and manipulation on the whole of the body.
The best bit of advice here is that usually if a treatment type has worked for you before it could again. If you are new to these therapies and have a bad back, then most practitioners are more than happy to discuss on the phone or in person before making an appointment to explain how they work. We certainly do here at Complete Health Osteopathy!
If you have any questions, please ask us either in your session or contact us.