Osteopath can be broken down into “osteo” and “path” (from Greek); osteo means bone and path means disease. An osteopath is someone who practises osteopathy which can be defined, in general terms, as a therapy which works on problems of the musculoskeletal system.
Many people think that we just work on bones and only treat backs and necks but we can (and do!) treat any joint or muscle in the body including necks, knees, shoulders, ankles and feet. We can also work on the viscera (the organs such as the digestive system, the liver or the lungs).
The term “osteopath” is a legally protected term and you can only call yourself an osteopath once you are registered with the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC).
Osteopathy is a primary care profession which focuses on the diagnosis, treatment, prevention and rehabilitation of musculoskeletal disorders and the effects of these conditions on your general health.
Osteopaths seek to restore the optimal functioning of the body, where possible without the use of drugs or surgery. Osteopathy is based on the principle that the body has the ability to heal itself and osteopathic care focuses on strengthening the musculoskeletal system to treat existing conditions and to prevent illness.
Our patient centred approach to health and well-being means we consider symptoms in the context of your full medical history, as well as your lifestyle and personal circumstances. It is a holistic (whole body) approach to health care; we do not simply concentrate on treating the problem area, but use manual techniques to balance all the systems of the body, to provide overall good health and wellbeing. This holistic approach ensures that all treatment is tailored to you as an individual.
Dr. Andrew Taylor Still established osteopathy in the late 1800s in the USA, with the aim of using hands on techniques to improve circulation and correct altered biomechanics, without the use of drugs.
This really is the most frequently asked question!
It’s not the role of any health professional to try to define another health care profession. For a full definition of chiropractic, it would be best to ask a chiropractor and for physiotherapy, to ask a physiotherapist. For more details about what osteopathy involves, see the osteopathy section.
Generally speaking, osteopathic treatment probably involves more work on the soft tissues and fewer thrust techniques than chiropractic. Physiotherapy tends to be more exercise led, with less hands on treatment. Physiotherapists also use more electrotherapy equipment (TENS, ultrasound etc) and the majority of physiotherapy is within the NHS.
However, I believe there are many areas of overlap and some patients find the approaches similar.
So who should I see?
That really is down to your personal preference. Rather than worrying about the differences between practitioners, look for a therapist who you think will suit you. The aim of treatment will be the same, i.e. to get you better, but the style of treatment may be different. However, this can also be true between individuals within the same profession. You need to feel relaxed and trust your therapist. If you don’t, then you may not respond as well, or as quickly, as you otherwise would.
But most importantly of all, if you have a problem...do something about it now! It is better that you see an osteopath, a physiotherapist, a chiropractor or your GP than see no one at all!
Yes, we are regulated by, and have to be registered with, the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC) which ensures that we are safe to practise and, therefore, that you are in safe hands. This gives an osteopath similar status to a doctor or dentist and guarantees a patient the equivalent high level of protection.
In order to be able to call yourself an osteopath, you need to be registered with the GOsC – it is illegal for anyone to call him/herself an osteopath without being on the register.
Yes. Osteopathy is classed as a primary healthcare profession which means that we can form diagnoses and anyone can see an osteopath without referral from a GP. It also means that we are trained to recognise any concerning symptoms (so called “red flags”) and know when to refer someone back to his or her GP or another healthcare professional.
To qualify, your osteopath will have studied for 4 or 5 years on an accredited course at an established osteopathic institution. This training and qualification ensures that your osteopath is safe and competent to practise.
Osteopaths are required to renew their registration each year and GOsC provide registrants with an annual license to practise. As part of this process, the GOsC checks that osteopaths have current professional indemnity insurance, remain in good health, are of good character and have met mandatory continuing professional development requirements.
All the osteopaths at Wimborne Osteopathic Clinic are registered with GOsC.
Patients are often surprised at how long we train for and the depth of knowledge that we acquire along the way.
All osteopaths practising in the UK have completed rigorous training. Students of osteopathy follow a four or five year degree course, during which they study anatomy, physiology, pathology, pharmacology, nutrition and biomechanics. Training includes a minimum of 1,000 hours of supervised clinical experience.
Qualifications generally take the form of a bachelor’s degree in osteopathy – a BSc (Hons) Ost Med, BOst or BOstMed – or a master's degree in osteopathy (MOst). Osteopaths who qualified some time ago may have a diploma in osteopathy – DO.
The General Osteopathic Council sets the standards of osteopathic education and requires qualified osteopaths to update their training throughout their working lives, a process known as continuing professional development.
Yes. Osteopaths undergo rigorous clinical training. We are primary healthcare practitioners and your safety is our primary concern. In common with medical practitioners and dentists, all osteopaths are regulated by our own professional body, the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC).
We are trained to recognise any concerning symptoms (so called “red flags”) and will refer you back to your GP, or another healthcare professional if we believe further investigations are indicated.
A Medical Research Council trial in 2004 entitled "UK Back Pain Exercise and Manipulation" comparing treatment options for lower back pain found that spinal manipulation, added to GP care, is clinically effective and the most cost-effective option for patients. You can read more here.
In 2006, The Department of Health published guidelines entitled “The Musculoskeletal Services Framework. A joint responsibility: doing it differently” which advocated a multidisciplinary approach and recognised that musculoskeletal disorders can often be resolved quickly and effectively by treatments such as osteopathy.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recognised the benefits of osteopathy in its guidance for the treatment of low back pain in May 2009, which recommends that a course of manual therapies (to include osteopathy) is considered for patients with low back pain.
After a course of treatment with us at Wimborne Osteopathic Clinic, many patients have enjoyed the following benefits:
- Rapid return to normal activities
- Improved health
- Better posture
- Increased mobility
- Improved sleep patterns
- Feeling of wellbeing
- Greater flexibility
- Increased energy levels
- Improvement in other symptoms
- Life without (or reduced) pain killers
Our practice message is treating you as we would like to be treated and we really mean it. We pride ourselves on providing excellent osteopathic care tailored to your individual needs. Our aim is to get you better and keep you better.
With our lives becoming increasingly busy, yet more sedentary, we can offer advice on stretching exercises, lifting techniques, posture, breathing and stress reduction which can help you to maintain your own health. In addition some lifestyle changes, including diet or workplace ergonomics (e.g. desk set-up), can dramatically improve your health and reduce your on-going health costs.
Early intervention by an osteopath means you can be aware of potential sources of future problems and how you can make changes to your lifestyle now, so you won’t have to deal with pain later on.
Preventing injuries means reduced time off work and therefore more time keeping active and enjoying the benefits of good health, such as continuing to play golf or tennis or look after your grandchildren. It is vitally important for everyone to be aware of how injuries can occur (they are usually the culmination of a gradual build up) and what we can all do to avoid them.
Cranial osteopathy is not different from any other form of osteopathy. The name refers to a refined and subtle type of osteopathic treatment that uses very gentle manipulative pressure to encourage the release of stresses and tensions throughout the body, including the head.
It is a gentle, yet effective, approach and may be used in a wide range of conditions for people of all ages, from birth to old age.
Cranial osteopaths are trained to feel a very subtle, rhythmical shape change that is present in all body tissues (the cranial rhythm). Tension in the body disrupts the cranial rhythm. We compare what your rhythm is doing with what we consider ideal. This shows us what stresses and strains your body is under at present, and what tensions it may be carrying as a result of its past history. It also gives us an insight into the overall condition of your body, for example if it is healthy, stressed, tired or dehydrated.
All the osteopaths here at Wimborne Osteopathic Clinic are trained in cranial osteopathy.
Please see our What to expect page
No you don’t. It is a common misconception that you need to be in pain to have treatment. Aches and pains, joint and muscle stiffness, reduced flexibility, fatigue and headaches, as well as acute pain, are all signs that the body is no longer working optimally. The aches and pains may be intermittent or resolve if you take painkillers or anti-inflammatory drugs, but the underlying mechanical imbalance will remain and could progressively get worse.
All of these things are symptoms, not the primary problem. It is important to determine the cause of your pain. That’s where we come in – we are trained to diagnose and get to the root of your problem.
Some of our patients like to have a preventative MOT (maintenance osteopathic treatment). This is a regular (not frequent) appointment to prevent their symptoms building up into something more serious. This type of treatment is particularly beneficial for patients who have degenerative changes or ongoing factors which contribute to their symptoms such as awkward working postures or lots of driving.
You will be asked to undress to your underwear so you can be examined. As osteopaths we are not just interested in the area giving you symptoms; we look for the root cause of your problem. This may involve examining areas of your body which are not giving you symptoms.
Please wear appropriate underwear or shorts so that you are comfortable. We appreciate that you may be embarrassed about undressing – please don’t be. You can bring a friend or relation with you if that helps you to feel more at ease. Once we have performed our examination and you are lying on the treatment table, we can cover you with a blanket.
If you are concerned about undressing, please discuss this with us and we will work with you to ensure that we are able to examine and treat you sufficiently whilst respecting your wishes.
There are some deep tissue massage techniques that can be quite uncomfortable, but the majority of the treatment shouldn’t hurt. We always check that any technique is within your tolerated levels and your osteopath will ask you to let her know if a technique is too uncomfortable for you.
There is a difference between “good pain” and “bad pain” and you can often tell the difference. “Good pain” is where you can feel like the technique is working into something tight and it feels like it is doing something good. Patients actually find this reassuring because they can tell we have identified the area causing their symptoms and, even though there is discomfort, they feel that the area needs to be worked on. “Bad pain” just feels wrong – and you shouldn’t experience any bad pain during treatment.
If anything in the treatment is too uncomfortable for you then please tell us. If you are uncomfortable for any reason, then you will not be able to relax and any technique, no matter how useful, will not have the desired effect. If you are comfortable and relaxed, you will get better quicker!
You may feel some soreness or stiffness for 24-48 hours after treatment. We compare this to the aching you can get after doing a new activity and using muscles you never knew existed.
Usually yes. We ask that you pay us directly and then claim the cost back from your insurers.
Before coming to see us, you will need to check your private medical insurance policy to see if:
- osteopathy is included
- you have an excess
- you need to be referred by your GP
Unfortunately, we are unable to accept any BUPA patients currently.
We aim to see new patients within 48 hours and do our best to see you on the same day if you need to see us urgently.
If you need an appointment at the beginning or end of the day, or an appointment with a specific practitioner, then you may need to wait a little longer, but we will always do our best to accommodate your wishes as quickly as possible.
If you require a same day appointment, it is helpful if you can ring us on 01202 888439 as early as possible so we can try to fit you into a cancellation slot or reschedule other commitments.
We are not open at weekends but we can arrange to see you at the weekend if this is more convenient for you. The more flexible you can be regarding timing, the easier it will be for us to accommodate you.
Rona established the clinic from her home in 2006 and moved it to its current location in 2013. During that time the clinic has grown steadily based on patient referrals.
There are two long stay car parks close to the clinic in Poole Road and Leigh Road. It costs 50p for one hour or 60p for two hours and is free after 6pm. You can park for free for one hour in the street in Poole Road. Click here for a map and directions.
We both trained for four years, full time. Rona qualified in 2005 and Katherine qualified in 2010. For more information on us, please see our profiles:
Rona has worked at Wessex Osteopathy Clinic in Lymington, Poole Bay Osteopaths and Ashley Cross Osteopaths in Poole and at Not Just Backs… in Salisbury.
Katherine works at Wessex Osteopathy Clinic in Lymington and runs her own practice in Christchurch.
Nobody knows for sure but it is believed that the click is the noise of gas escaping from the joint fluid. Manipulation should not hurt, but the noise can be a little disconcerting.
After your initial consultation, appointments are 30 minutes and consist of a brief re-evaluation of the problem and examination which normally takes around 10 minutes. You will then receive “hands-on” treatment, which could last up to 20 minutes. The length of the treatment may vary depending on what is appropriate for you and your condition.
You do not need to see your doctor before seeing an osteopath. If further investigations are required, we may write to your GP, but only with your consent.
Yes there are some osteopaths working in the NHS (but not many in this area). Your GP may be able to refer you to an NHS osteopath.
In many cases, we will give you exercises to do at home. This helps to maintain the benefit of treatment for longer and to rebalance muscles and/or keep joints mobile. We know you have a busy life and will work with you to find a small selection of exercises that you are able to fit into your daily schedule. At subsequent treatments, we will review your exercises with you to ensure you are doing them correctly for maximum benefit – we don’t want you to waste your efforts!
Osteopathy is a very safe and effective form of treatment. Some patients may experience some discomfort for a day or two after treatment, but this usually subsides quickly. It is always a good idea to take it easy after treatment to allow the body to recover. Please call us if you have any concerns.
Following medical acupuncture, a small minority of patients may experience drowsiness or fainting, in which case you are advised not to drive. There can be minor bleeding or bruising and, as with osteopathic treatment, symptoms can get worse after treatment. Rare but serious risks include damage to an internal organ from the insertion of a needle and infection. Again, please contact the clinic if you have any concerns.
For more information and further question in respect of acupuncture, please see the Medical Acupuncture section.
Most people are fine to drive after being treated. If you are unsure how you will respond then try to bring someone with you who could drive you instead. In the unlikely event that you don’t feel well following your treatment, you will be welcome to sit in the waiting area for a while until you feel better; alternatively we can call a taxi for you.
Occasionally, patients feel lightheaded after acupuncture. In this case we would suggest that you wait until the feeling has passed before leaving the clinic.
If we perform the Epley manoeuvre because you have benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) then you will not be able to drive afterwards. However we would not usually perform this technique at your initial appointment and would advise you to have someone else drive you to your appointment if we were likely to perform the manoeuvre.
This depends on what the current problem is. If you have pulled a muscle for example you may never have another incident. On the other hand, if you have a prolapsed disc in your lower back there will always be a chance it may happen again.
After your initial consultation you will be informed of the prognosis and the chances of recurrence. There may be things you can do to avoid or to manage the problem so that you know how best to avoid it happening again. This will all be explained during your course of treatment.
It is hard to say how many treatments you will need but our aim is to get you better as quickly (and therefore as cheaply) as possible.
After your initial consultation we will explain to you exactly what your issue is, what the prognosis is and how many sessions you are likely to need. This information will be based on our experience of previous similar patients. Your recovery may be quicker or take longer than the initial prediction, but the more you can do to help yourself in between treatments, the quicker you are likely to improve.
At Wimborne Osteopathic Clinic, we will:
- do our best to get you back to normal in the fewest possible number of treatments
- refer you on to another healthcare professional if that is what we think is best for you
- never keep you coming back unnecessarily
If you have received treatment and we decide together that you would be better off seeing another practitioner within the clinic or another speciality outside the clinic, then we would like you to pay for the treatment you have had.
After we have taken your case history and examined you, if we decide that you are unsuitable for treatment we generally tend not to charge, despite the fact that we have spent time with you and used our expertise.
In the unlikely event you are injured during a treatment you will be covered by our medical malpractice insurance or our public liability insurance.
Most likely, yes. Certain conditions are more common than others but every now and then someone may come in with an issue that doesn’t present like others before or with something we haven’t seen. Even though we may have treated many others before you with the same kind of pain, that doesn’t mean you will respond in the same way to them.
If we believe something is outside of our ability to treat, we will not hesitate to refer you to another healthcare professional for further investigations.
Yes you can. Please click here to see what other patients say about us.
Currently, we only have female osteopaths at Wimborne Osteopathic Clinic. Don’t forget you are welcome to bring a friend or relative along with you.
If you would prefer to see a male osteopath, please contact us and we will be pleased to recommend someone to you.
Yes we do!
We do treat a lot of backs, but it’s not the only part of the body that we treat, take a look at the list below:
- back pain
- joint pain
- muscle tension
- minor sprains and strains
- arthritic pain
- nerve pain
- minor sports injuries
- neck ache
- headache (arising from the neck)
- shoulder problems
- work strain
We are trained to look at you as a person and your body as a whole. For example, a pain in your knee could be the result of an imbalance in your pelvis. In this case, if we just treated your knee symptoms, they would keep coming back as the underlying problem had not been addressed. The great thing about osteopathy is that we treat the whole person and like to get to the cause of your symptoms. Often symptoms are exacerbated by other factors such as your working posture or stress and we can advise you on ways to reduce these and thus improve your health.
Why not visit our patient stories section to see examples of the kind of people and conditions we treat?
Not if you don’t want to be. We have undergone extensive training and thrust techniques (i.e. the “clicking”) are only a small part of our wide range of techniques. Other techniques we use include specific massage of soft tissues, (e.g. muscles, tendons & ligaments) gentle mobilisation of joints, gentle cranial osteopathic techniques and medical acupuncture. For more information, please visit our what to expect section.
If you do not want to be “clicked”, please advise your osteopath. In any event, we would always seek your consent before using these techniques. Occasionally, we may feel that it really would be helpful to use a thrust technique in which case we would discuss it with you further and try to address any concerns you have. Ultimately it is your treatment and you do not have to consent to anything.
This is depends on your condition and how long you have had it. Some conditions may always cause you pain but you may be able to reduce it to a manageable level with treatment. Other conditions may only cause pain for a week or two, depending on the severity. The sooner after you injure yourself you come in for treatment, the easier it will be to return you back to normal. We often hear people say “I just thought it would go away on its own…” – as a general rule, if it hasn’t gone within a week, then it is unlikely to go on its own. Sooner is always better than later.
Many patients feel immediate benefit after treatment, some take a few days after treatment before the pain starts to decline.
Yes it is. For more information, please click here.
Yes, you can. Osteopathy is very safe and gentle and techniques can be adapted so that they are suitable for use in pregnancy. The good news is that your body is changing rapidly during pregnancy and a little treatment will go a long way. For more information see our osteopathy in pregnancy section.
Unfortunately due to the age of our building we are not fully accessible to anyone in a wheelchair. However we are on the ground floor and, generally speaking, accessible to the ambulant disabled.
We have two steps at the front of the building with handrails. If you require assistance with a pram or walking frame just tell us when we answer the buzzer and we can help you.
If you are concerned about access, please let us know when you book and we can advise you accordingly and make alternative arrangements if necessary.
If you have a concern about any aspect of your treatment, please contact the clinic as soon as possible. A copy of the complaints procedure is available from the clinic or can be downloaded here: complaints_procedure