What is Osteopathy
Osteopathic treatment consists of a non invasive and pharmaceutical free approach to your health. Through the use of massage, manipulation and stretching of a person’s muscles and joints we aim to prevent and resolve a number of health problems. Osteopathic treatment is commonly used to achieve pain relief from:
- Back & neck problems
- Disc problems
- Sciatica & trapped nerves
- Hip & knee pain
- Shoulder pain
- Pregnancy problems
- Arthritic pain
- Repetitive strain
Background to Osteopathy Thinking
Osteopathy is based upon the idea that the body is its own medicine chest, but that this depends on good movement and function. This means that as long as all parts of the body can move and function well together in an integrated manner, the body can often heal itself from outside afflictions. It is when this balance is upset that the body can become over loaded and problems begin.
However with ever increasing workloads and busy lifestyles the body can sometimes become overwhelmed leading to restriction in an area of the body. This restriction means that the rest of the body has to then compensate. Over time this compensation usually leads to further adaptation in a different area of the body and eventually leads to inflammation and pain. This is a good time to call your osteopath.
By releasing congested tissues osteopathy allows other systems of the body such as the circulatory, lymphatic and nervous systems to function better which then allows the body to restore and heal itself.
What happens at a treatment session
During your first appointment the osteopath will go through a detailed case history covering all aspects of the problem you are presenting with. They will also ask you some questions about your general health. Once they have a good understanding of your problem the osteopath will examine you, and you may be asked to perform some simple movements.
The osteopath will then use their observation skills and hands to find areas of restriction, tenderness, weakness or strain. Once the osteopath is satisfied that they understand the problem you have they will move on to hands on treatment.
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Frequently Asked Questions about Osteopathy
How do I know an osteopath is genuine?
The title ‘Osteopath’ is protected in law. Only people on the Register of osteopaths at the General Osteopathic Council can practice in the UK. It is a criminal offence to practice if you are not registered. For a list of practitioners, you can go to the GOC website
Do I need to see my doctor to get a referral to an osteopath?
No, you don’t. Most people self-refer. But, although it is not necessary, it is a good idea to keep both your osteopath and your doctor informed to ensure you get the best possible treatment and to make sure your medical records can be kept up to date
How long do osteopathy appointments last?
Your first appointment with the Osteopath at Swansea Body Kinetics is up to 1 hour and 20 minutes – they are shorter if the condition is not a complicated one. During this appointment your osteopath will do the following:
- Take a detailed case history of the problem you are coming in with, and other injuries you may have had in the past.
- Go through a list of important general medical questions in order to ensure osteopathy is the right treatment for you. Some problems can seem musculoskeletal but require input from another professional such as your GP, Osteopaths are trained to recognise when to refer you.
- Go through an examination to see what the problem might be. This involves you performing simple movements so your practitioner can see if anything is moving too much or not enough. Patients usually undress to underwear for this, although if you are self conscious or don’t wish to undress for religious reasons our practitioners are considerate of this and you are welcome to bring shorts and a camisole to your appointments.
- Palpate the muscles and joints of the body in order to understand if there are any areas of restriction or pain and what might be causing this.
- Perform certain tests called orthopaedic tests, these test specific joints and structures of the body and are useful in helping your osteopath to diagnose the problem.
- Tell you what they understand to be the problem and explain this to you using models in a way that you can understand and answer any questions that you might have.
- Usually the osteopath with then go on to give treatment. In rare cases you may have a lot of complicated history and you may not receive treatment in the first instance. If this is the case your osteopath will be keen to book you for a follow on appointment so that they can get on and treat and get you feeling better.
Follow on appointments with your osteopath are from 30 to 40 minutes. During these appointments your osteopath will ask you some questions to determine your progress and then get on and treat you.
How can I tell if I would benefit from going to an osteopath?
Whilst there are no guarantees, there is a wide range of conditions where osteopathy has helped people to cope with pain and to improve their quality of life.
The point of the initial interview we provide is to allow us to analyse the problem and to provide you with exactly the advice you are looking for. It allows you to decide if our treatment can help you and us to decide whether it is appropriate, or we should refer you to a medical practitioner.
What can an osteopath treat?
Osteopathy can provide relief and treatment for a wide range of conditions, including:
- foot, ankle, hip, and knee pain
- back pain, neck pain, and sciatica
- hand, shoulder, and elbow pain
- tennis and golfer’s elbow
- postural problems due to pregnancy, sports injury, driving or work strain, or digestive issues
Osteopathic physicians can also detect conditions that are not treatable through osteopathy, to refer patients to other specialists.
What can you expect?
Osteopathy is patient-centered. An initial consultation will take place before any active treatment or management begins.
During this consultation, the osteopath will discuss the patient’s health problems, listen, and take case notes. The session will last approximately 45 minutes
The osteopath will physically examine the patient, who may need to remove some clothing to carry out the diagnosis. Patient privacy will be respected during this process.
The patient will be asked to demonstrate simple stretches and movements to help the osteopathic physician make an accurate analysis of their posture and mobility.
The osteopath will also assess the health of the joints, ligaments, and tissues
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