What is osteopathy?

Osteopathy is an established and 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 we suffer stems from abnormalities in the function of the body structure, as well as damage caused to it by disease. Osteopaths specialise in correcting areas of weakness in the body called lesions, thereby helping to restore harmony.

What does osteopathic treatment involve?

Osteopaths work with their hands, and treatment often consists of soft tissue massage, gentle passive mobilisation techniques and specific joint manipulation.

Does treatment hurt?

Generally no, as all techniques are specifically chosen to suit individual patients and a consultative approach is taken to ensure that the patient is comfortable at all times. Some of the osteopathic techniques used can occasionally feel awkward and unusual, but it should never hurt.

Is osteopathy safe?

Yes, stringent and extensive training and regulation by statute law ensures that osteopaths have the skills necessary to care for you in a safe and gentle fashion. Practitioners employ a variety of different techniques and apply the most appropriate technique for each individual circumstance and most treatments are gentle. As osteopaths do not prescribe medication or perform surgical procedures, we have an excellent safety record as patients avoid the potential side effects of medication and surgery. Osteopathy is a very safe and effective way not only to treat babies but pregnant mothers as well.

Who can be treated?

Age or status is no barrier to osteopathic care – we treat babies from a few days old, to patients in their 90’s plus, and everyone in between.

Do I have to be referred by my doctor?

No. Although most GP’s actively refer their patients to osteopaths no official referral is required.

What can I expect on my first visit?

When you visit an osteopath for the first time, a full case history will be taken and you will be given an examination. You will normally be asked to 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, before going on to give you treatment.

Do I have to undress?

We care about your health and never want a state of undress to be a barrier to you getting the treatment you need, so do express your concerns and we will do our utmost to cater to your needs. In most cases, light and loose clothing is suitable. Your privacy and modesty is respected at all times.

How many treatments will I need?

While the aim is to get you back to full health as quickly as possible, osteopathy is patient centred, which means treatment is geared to you as an individual. Each person is an individual and different in the way they are made, the way they look after their bodies, and the way they react to treatment, therefore the results of osteopathic care can vary from person to person. Your rate of recovery will depend upon several other factors including your age, general health, sensitivity to treatment and activities in your life.

Recovery also depends on how long and how severe your problem is. Chronic conditions take longer to heal usually but this again depends on the individual.

How do I know whether an osteopath is properly qualified?

Anyone practicing as an osteopath is required, by law, to be registered with the General Osteopathic Council, established by The Osteopaths Act, 1993. This ensures that patients have the same safeguards as when visiting their doctor or dentist. All osteopaths must carry public Indemnity Insurance in order to be registered.

What's the difference between an osteopath, a chiropractor and a physiotherapist?

There are probably more similarities than differences as all are classed as musculo-skeletal experts and treat mostly the same kinds of conditions. Generally though, chiropractors tend to treat the spine only and routinely use x-rays for diagnostic purposes. Physiotherapists on the other hand tend to routinely prescribe rehabilitative exercises.

Osteopaths treat the whole person and take other areas of the body into consideration rather than just the area in pain. We look for the underlying cause of the problem and diagnose through case history notes, clinical examination and palpation. Osteopaths treat with 'hands on' techniques, exercise prescription and postural rehabilitation.


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