Osteopathy is a treatment for painful muscles, joints and ligaments which usually have become strained, often through injury or problems with posture. Sometimes there may be an underlying structural issue which makes this more likely, or a disease process which causes pain. Whatever the reason, as osteopaths we assess you carefully to determine whether we can help alleviate symptoms.
Osteopathy originated in the late 1800’s with Dr Andrew Still who was convinced that the muscles reacted to illness. He treated the muscles and found that the symptoms of illness reduced. Some osteopaths, particularly in Europe focus on the treatment of illness rather than limiting their treatment to the musculoskeletal pain. Headaches and migraines respond particularly well to osteopathy.
What to expect
At your first osteopathy consultation, you will be asked details of your pain and a thorough health screening is undertaken in the form of a questionnaire with other examinations if necessary. It is helpful if you bring a list of your medical history and a list of medications, as well as any medical notes, scans or x-rays. Blood pressure, reflexes and other tests are often performed and you will be asked, in most cases, to undress so that the painful part and related parts can be seen and examined (a gown is available if you wish or if you would prefer to bring shorts or leggings, and/or a chaperone, then feel free to do so ). You will need to perform a range of movements which demonstrate any restrictions you may have which may be causing or contributing to your problem. Finally, a diagnosis is made. We then treat you with a range of hands-on techniques designed to decrease your pain. At the end of your treatment, which takes about 1 hour, you will be advised on specific exercises which will enhance the effectiveness of your treatment and reduce the amount of times you will need to visit. This enables you to manage at home and reduce the likelihood of the problem re-occurring.
How many osteopathy treatments you will need varies enormously depending on the cause of your pain, how long you have had it, your age, how much effort you put into helping yourself and how good you want to be! We re-evaluate after 3 sessions and most of our patients feel an improvement or have been discharged already. Some people continue treatment because although their initial complaint has resolved, they like the fact they feel looser and freer and are more able to pursue their work,sports and hobbies.
Are there any side-effects
Most people feel more flexible, free, looser and relaxed following treatment and may have instant relief of pain. Sometimes a mild aggravation is experienced and for 24-48 hours you may feel a little more discomfort. This is normal with any musculoskeletal treatment such as physiotherapy and chiropractic as well as osteopathy. Ensuring you have had enough to eat and drink before your osteopathy appointment avoids any slight ‘spaced-out’ feelings that occasionally are experienced if these measures are not taken. Compared with the, sometimes quite serious side effects from some medications, these minor inconveniences are not usually considered a problem.