As an osteopath, I always get asked the question; ‘What makes an osteopath different?’ and I’m sure you all ask yourself when in pain ‘should I go to a physiotherapist, a chiropractor, an osteopath or even the doctor?’
In this blog I would like to give you a better understanding of what we as an osteopath can do for you and when it’s right to come and see us.
What is an osteopath?
When people think of osteopathy, they usually think ‘oh that’s to do with bones right?’ Well yes we do deal with bones but also a lot more than that. We look into the joints, muscles, ligaments and all the other connective tissues that bypass that bone, not to mention the systemic stuff such as nerves, arteries, lymphatics, even organs!
Osteopaths believe that the body should be seen holistically. This means that we not only look at the current symptoms but we look into other areas and systems of your body to ask the question ‘Why?’. ‘Why now? Why is this pain portraying itself in this way? What are the key factors causing this pain?’
Is your problem suitable for osteopathic treatment?
Osteopaths are classed as primary healthcare practitioners meaning that we can diagnose your problem and therefore ‘prescribe treatments’ to do at home. Our prescriptions include exercises to stretch and/or strengthen a certain muscle or muscle group to reduce the pressure on the underlying structures.
In the healthcare industry, osteopaths are mainly thought of for things such as lower back pain, neck pain and pelvic pain. These are all common presentations that we do deal with but we can treat and help manage a whole range of symptoms such as:
Plantar fasciitis and other foot problems
Hand and wrist pain such as tennis/golfers elbow
The list continues as we see multiple presentations in our day to day practice of problems from your nose to your toes!
What happens in your visit to an osteopath?
When you come to visit an osteopath, you will be asked a series of questions about your symptoms, your general health with some in depth medical questions and your previous medical history i.e. any previous accidents, investigations etc. This is so we can create that all important diagnosis.
Following this, we ask you to dress down to your underwear (or shorts and a t-shirt, or a crop top/sports bra for the ladies, we don’t mind as long as you’re comfortable!), so that we can evaluate you standing and to see how you move actively.
Then, focusing on the area that is symptomatic, we will see how you move passively and carry out any special tests if necessary to give us a better understanding. We will then be able to tell you more about what’s going on with your body that is causing you to have pain. So we will explain to you our diagnosis, prognosis and a treatment plan before we ask for your consent to carry out the treatment.
Any further questions?
I hope this blog has given you an insight into osteopathy and helps you in your decision on how to tackle your pain.
We are currently offering free 15 minute back checks so you can have a taste of osteopathy with no money lost. We would be more than happy to meet you and discuss further what osteopathy can do for you!
Still feel you want more answers? Head to the GOsC (our governing bodies) or the Institute of Osteopathy’s website for more details.
Have a great week everyone and hopefully see you all soon! Don’t forget, we’re here to help!