If you have any questions, they may be answered here, if not please contact us!
What is Osteopathy?
Osteopathy is 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 wellbeing of an individual depends on the skeleton, muscles, ligaments and connective tissues functioning smoothly together.
What is Cranial Osteopathy?
Osteopathy is a varied and holistic form of health care.
Although a lot of osteopaths refer to themselves as “cranial osteopaths” in fact, cranial osteopathy is just one form of treatment technique available to an osteopath.
What is the musculoskeletal system?
The musculoskeletal system is made up of the bony skeleton and contractile and noncontractile soft tissues, including muscles, tendons, ligaments, joint capsules, and cartilage.
This matrix of soft tissue and bones provides the dynamic ability of movements, given individuals the ability to move through space, absorb shock and perform fine motor tasks.
The musculoskeletal system also provides housing and protection for vital organs as well as the nervous system. As a result of its location and function, the musculoskeletal system commonly sustains traumatic injuries and degenerative changes.
These impairments can significantly affect an individual’s ability to remain functional without further problems arising.
Source: Cathy S. Elrod, “Structure and function of the musculoskeletal system” in Acute Care Handbook for Physical Therapists (4th Edition) 2014
What is the difference between an osteopath
and a chiropractor?
There are a lot of similarities between the two professions and we share a lot of the same philosophies, however my experience of working in a clinic with chiropractors, the greatest difference is how we deliver care:
Generally, osteopaths tend to see you for longer periods at a time and for less appointments. Appointment times vary from 30-60 minutes and we will leave gaps of up to a few weeks between these appointments. Chiropractors tend to see you for 5-10 minutes but more frequently, usually around once or twice per week.
Chiropractic treatment can be more focused around spinal manipulations. Because osteopaths have longer appointment times, we can spend more time on a variety of treatment techniques, including spinal manipulation, massage, stretching and cranial techniques.
Some chiropractors have the ability to perform x-ray imaging within their clinics. Osteopaths do not do this and will refer you to your GP if we feel an x-ray is necessary.
You may find chiropractors like to call themselves “doctors” and osteopaths don’t. This is personal preference and doesn’t bear any reflection on the length or quality of our training. Both professions have to carry out a standard level of training and are regulated by their own governing bodies: Chiropractors are registered with the General Chiropractic Council (GCC), Osteopaths are registered with the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC).
Osteopaths are part of the 14 allied health professionals which fall under the remit of NHS England. Chiropractors have not been granted this same title.
These difference and similarities have been formulated from personal experience of working with a chiropractic clinic and witnessing chiropractic treatments.
There is such a huge variety of treatment methods and beliefs between the two professions so this description can not apply to all osteopaths or chiropractors. I find it is more important you find a therapy and practitioner that is right for you, rather than which profession they belong to.
What is the difference between an osteopath
and a physiotherapist?
Both professions treat musculoskeletal injuries and the principles behind physiotherapy and osteopathy are similar, however there are a few differences:
Osteopaths are autonomous practitioners. This means through examination we form our own diagnosis before treatment. Physiotherapists usually have patients referred to them who already have a diagnosis from another healthcare practitioner, usually a GP.
Physiotherapists will usually treat an area of the body in isolation, for example, if you go to a physiotherapist for a shoulder injury, they will focus their treatment around the shoulder. If you were to go to an osteopath, we would normally treat the shoulder, but also look at the neck, upper back and shoulder blades, as well as assess your posture to prevent injuries from recurring.
Physiotherapists have a wide variety of specialities from stroke rehabilitation, pneumology, women’s health and musculoskeletal injuries. Osteopaths tend to focus on musculoskeletal injuries.
Physiotherapy is widely available on the NHS, unfortunately osteopathy is not.
Physiotherapy and osteopathy are both regulated and high regarded manual therapy professions. There is such a huge variety of treatment methods and beliefs between the two professions so this description can not apply to all osteopaths or physiotherapists. I find it is more important you find a therapy and practitioner that is right for you, rather than which profession they belong to.
Is osteopathic treatment available on the NHS?
Although we are one of the 14 allied health professionals, osteopathy is not yet available on the NHS. As soon as it is, we’ll let you know! We currently provide treatment on a private healthcare basis.
What training do osteopaths have?
Osteopaths must train at university for 4 years and complete at least 1000 hours of supervised clinical training before completing their Masters in Osteopathy.
Once an osteopath has graduated, they are able to apply to the register of osteopaths, governed by the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC). They will need to complete a minimum of 30 hours of study each year to maintain their registration.
After graduating, some osteopaths then carry on their formal studies into specialisms, such as paediatrics or animal osteopathy.
Are osteopaths insured?
Yes, Osteopaths must have insurance in order to treat or give advice to patients. It is a requirement of our registration with the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC).
What are the benefits of osteopathic treatment?
The advantages that osteopathic care can provide are vast, ranging from symptom relief and relaxation to better self management education. We tend to see patients who are in pain and so symptom relief and pain management are key. According to a study:
70% of people report improvement to their symptoms after their first osteopathic treatment
80% of people report an improvement to their symptoms after 3-4 treatments
When it comes to cranial osteopathy specifically, because it is safe and gentle, it can help to soothe and relax babies.
For more information about how osteopathy can help your child, click here for more information
Sources: Mint Practice Ltd leaflet 2015
What are the risks of osteopathic treatment?
Because osteopathic treatment is a manual therapy it can have some side effects. Most of these side effects are mild and serious side effects are very rare.
Approximately 50% of people will experience no side effects at all
Approximately 49% of people will experience mild side effects (tenderness, tiredness and stiffness) that usually last 24-48 hours after treatment
Approximately 1% of people will experience moderate side effects (pain, numbness and tingling) that can last more than a week.
Approximately 0.003% (1 in 36 079 people) will experience serious side effects which require urgent medical attention. These include strokes, bladder or bowel weakness or death.
Although some of those statistics may appear scary it is important to provide some comparison. Osteopathy has an extremely safe reputation and a major adverse event occurrence is very rare, rarer than from taking some medications, including paracetamol.
Because there are some risks to osteopathic treatment, I always carry out a full case history and thorough examination beforehand to make sure all treatment given is appropriate and safe. If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Source: Carnes et al. (2009) “Adverse events in Manual Therapy”; Mint Practice Ltd leaflet 2015
I’ve seen scary videos online of practitioners clicking people’s neck, it looks uncomfortable, should I be worried?
If you’re coming to my practice then rest assured, you have nothing to worry about.
Although I am trained to and do perform spinal manipulations, I will only ever include them in part of your treatment plan if it is therapeutically appropriate and you are happy for me to do so.
Before I do anything, we will discuss the risks and benefits at length and you have the option to accept or decline. There is no pressure! In some instances gentle mobilisation of the joint is in fact more appropriate and more effective than spinal manipulation.
Can I claim for my osteopathic treatments on my private health insurance?
Sometimes. I advise that you speak to your insurance provider first to find out their policy and then check with us too. Some insurance providers require you to pay us directly and then claim back from them, other providers ask us to claim direct from them.
I’ve even found that patients with the same insurance providers have different requirements as they’re under different policies.
Best thing to do is check with us and them first!
When can I cancel my appointment?
If you are unable to make your appointment for any reason, I ask that you give me at least 24 hours notice.
During busy times, when I don't have any spaces, I run a cancellation list for people who require emergency appointments. If you give me plenty of notice, I can then offer your appointment time to one of these people so that they can get the help they need faster!
If cancellation does occur within 24 hours of your appointment, we do tend to charge a 50% cancellation fee.