On the 28th October 1998, the General Osteopathic Council (GOC) issued the following description of osteopathy:
Osteopathy is an established recognised system of diagnosis and treatment, which lays its main emphasis on the structural and functional integrity of the body. It is distinctive by the fact that it recognises that much of the pain and disability that we suffer stems from abnormalities in the function of the body structure as well as damage caused to it by disease.
What kinds of problems can osteopathy help with?
Although most people think that osteopaths treat back pain, The Osteopathic Information Service also tells us that osteopathy can help with a wide variety of problems including changes to posture in pregnancy, babies with colic or sleeplessness, repetitive strain injury, postural problems caused by driving or work strain, children with glue ear, the pain of arthritis, and sports injuries among many others. Your local Registered Osteopath will be happy to advise as to whether osteopathy could help with your own particular problem.
What can I expect when I visit an osteopath?
An osteopath will always take a full case history from you on your first visit. So that they can most easily examine you, the osteopath will ask you to remove some of your clothing so that you can perform a simple series of movements. The osteopath will then use a highly developed sense of touch, called palpation, to identify any points of weakness or excessive strain throughout the body.
Occasionally, the osteopath may require additional investigations such as X-ray or blood tests, so that they can make a full diagnosis and develop a suitable treatment plan for you.
How much do treatments cost?
The cost of treatments varies according to your location. However, treatments usually cost from £40 to £55 for a 30- to 40-minute treatment session. Often the first session is longer and may cost more.
How many treatments will I need?
Because osteopathic treatments are tailored to each individual patient, the number of treatments required will vary. Your osteopath should be able to give you an indication after your first visit. For some acute pain one or two treatments may be all that is necessary. Chronic conditions may need ongoing support.
How does osteopathy work?
Osteopaths work with their hands using a wide variety of treatment techniques. These may include soft tissue techniques, rhythmic passive joint mobilisation, or the high velocity thrust techniques designed to improve mobility and the range of movement of a joint. Gentle release techniques are widely used, particularly when treating children or elderly patients. This allows the body to return to efficient normal function.
How can I be sure I am in safe hands when visiting an osteopath?
Registered Osteopaths have demonstrated to the GOC via a detailed application process that they are safe and competent practitioners, that they have agreed to abide by a Code of Practice, and that they have adequate malpractice insurance. CMA members who practice osteopathy will also be members of the GOC.