What is Osteopathy?

Osteopathy is a modern, scientifically based system of diagnosis and treatment of problems which occur in the muscles and joints of the body. These problems, as well as sometimes causing localised pain, can also have far reaching effects upon the wellbeing of the whole body. Osteopaths are skilled assessors of the body mechanics, with particular insight into how each part effects and influences another. They use a range of manual techniques to restore function and movement and therefore balance within the body. Osteopaths work with their patients, treating them as individuals and often giving advice on exercise and daily living to improve health.

What is cranial osteopathy & is it just for babies?

Cranial osteopathy is a very gentle form of osteopathic treatment and relieves stresses and tension throughout the body. Cranial osteopaths are trained to feel a very subtle, rhythmical shape change that is present in all body tissues. This is called involuntary motion or the cranial rhythm. The movement is very small, therefore it takes practitioners with a very finely developed sense of touch to feel it. Cranial osteopathy is a common treatment approach for babies and children, but can be used on all ages, as it is very gentle.

Does osteopathy hurt?

Generally patients are surprised by how gentle treatment is. Following treatment, some patients will experience some discomfort for up to 48 hours. This is normally mild and will be relieved by ice or heat. The discomfort is the result of the body adjusting to the changes we have made. Your therapist will advise you of the likely reaction you may experience as each person is different. You can call and speak to a therapist at any time about any concerns you may have following your treatment.

What will happen on my 1st visit to an osteopath?

First you will complete a form about your medical history and your lifestyle. Your osteopath will then talk to you about your condition and how it affects your life. You will then be assessed by the osteopath, who will look at your spine and your muscles and may also perform some standard orthopaedic and neurological tests to find out what is causing your problem. Afterwards, your osteopath will discuss their findings and will customise a personalised treatment plan. Treatment will normally be given on this initial visit; customised exercise and lifestyle plans may also be given. It is important to note that it is usual for patients to be asked to undress down to underwear. This enables full examination and is essential for your osteopath to see how your spine works. Please bring shorts and a sports top or equally, wear loose clothing if you feel more comfortable. We can provide gowns at the clinic and you are free to bring a chaperone.

Do you take X-rays or MRI scans

We do not have the facilities to perform X-ray or MRI scans at BOP. We are able to refer patients for these if they are needed privately, or alternatively we can refer you to your GP for any further investigations. X-rays are often of limited use in the diagnosis of back pain, but if we feel you need one, we will of course refer you.

I am pregnant, can I still have osteopathy?

Yes, osteopathy is a safe form of treatment to have at any stage during pregnancy, although there are some treatment methods which may be reserved until after 12- 16 weeks. Due to the changes and stresses that occur during pregnancy, back and pelvic pain is extremely common. Understandably many women don’t want to take drugs for pain during this time. Osteopathic treatment provides both a safe and effective way of relieving pain and making sure your spine and pelvis are in the best possible condition to prepare for the birth. . It can also help after the birth to make sure that the pelvis and spine have returned to normal to enable you to do any lifting and carrying associated with babies and small children.

Do you just treat back pain and do you only have osteopaths?

Osteopaths see clients with a range of conditions from back pain to knee, hip, shoulder, elbow, wrist, ankle and toe pain to headaches and migraine. At the practice we have 12 therapists offering a variety of massage treatments, acupuncture, chiropody, sports therapy, hypnotherapy, nutritional assessments, applied kinesiology and stress management.

My pain seems to have gone or is settling, should I still come in?

Pain is often just the final sign that the body is not working well. You may be shocked to know that you can lose 75% of your spines’ function without any pain at all. Our osteopaths will assess your function, look to see what the cause of your pain may be and what may be maintaining the symptoms you are experiencing. You do not have to be in pain to have treatment and most back problems, when left untreated recur, so it is best to be assessed by an osteopath.

My pain is really bad, should I wait until things settle?

It is generally a good idea to seek advice as soon as possible to settle the acute inflammatory stage, which often lasts 2-4 days. During this time the use of ice packs and gentle movement may be better than treatment if you are in too much pain to be able to get to us and to be examined. If you are unsure, please call reception and ask to speak to one of the osteopaths who will advise you on the best course of action. When you are fit enough to attend, gentle massage, articulation and electrotherapy will often ease your symptoms, before any further treatment commences.

Can I claim on my Insurance?

BOP is a recognised healthcare provider for most of the major health insurance companies, with the exception of BUPA. Some healthcare providers will stipulate that only certain therapists can provide care due to the experience of the therapist or the regulators that the therapist is associated with. Others will insist that you see your GP prior to treatment for an authorisation code to then be processed. It is always advisable to check with your insurer prior to starting treatment to ensure you are covered, if your chosen therapist is covered and if you need a GP referral. In most cases, we do not deal directly with the insurance companies, but will provide you with a receipt for your treatment to reclaim costs. If we need to contact the insurers to reclaim the costs of treatment, we request that you bring with you all copies of your cover, any authorisation codes and claim codes you have been issued.

Do I need a GP referral to attend?

You do not need a referral from a GP to attend BOP, although some health insurers may require you too if you wish to reclaim costs.

How many treatments will I need?

This is a difficult question to answer before we see you. It will largely depend upon the nature of your condition, how long you have had it, your age and your general health. It will also depend on how well you follow the advice we give you. As a general rule, a normal course of treatment is between 3-6 treatments. At your 1st visit the therapist will discuss with you how many treatments you may need and this will be reassessed as treatment progresses. After an initial course of treatment, check-ups at anywhere between 1 month and 6 months intervals may be recommended to ensure you are still ok.

Is osteopathy effective?

There is research to show good evidence for osteopathic treatment of back and neck pain, headaches, shoulder, elbow and knee pain, hip and knee arthritic pain. The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE), which sets the national clinical guidelines for care and management of adults, has recommended osteopathic treatment as a primary treatment option for non-specific back pain.

Are all of your osteopaths qualified and which one is best for me?

All of our osteopaths are qualified and statutory regulated by the General Osteopathic Council (www.osteopathy.org.uk) They all undertake continued professional development in-house and through distant learning. The use of the title ‘osteopath’ is protected by law and restricted only to those on the Osteopathic Register.

All of our osteopaths work slightly differently and have different specialist interests. Commonly patients are recommended to a particular osteopath by a friend or family member and this is how most clients choose their osteopath. It is worthwhile looking at each osteopaths profile to see who may suit you best or speak to reception who can guide you further on 01903 820206.

Can I donate blood if I have acupuncture?

Sometimes you will not be able to donate blood for a period of time following acupuncture, this is commonly 18 months. At BOP all of our acupuncturists use single use, sterile needles, but you may still be asked not to donate. Please ask your local blood donor group for more information, as the rules vary area to area.