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).
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.