An osteopath will treat a wide range of medical conditions using touch, physical manipulation, stretching or massage. These techniques are used to increase the mobility of joints, relieve tension in the muscles and to enhance the blood and nerve supply to tissues which helps the body’s own healing mechanism. An osteopath may also offer advice on posture and exercise to help with recovery, promote health and stop symptoms from recurring.
An osteopath does not use surgery or prescribe medication as part of their treatment.
What happens when you visit an osteopath?
Your osteopath will ask questions about your problem, your general health and medication you are taking and any other medical care you are receiving. They will make notes which will be kept confidentially in your case notes.
They will examine you properly and you may be asked to remove some of your clothing in order for them to do so. If you are uncomfortable with this, you can ask for a friend or relative to accompany you for your treatment. It may be necessary for them to ask you to perform simple stretches or movements to enable them to observe your posture and mobility. Your osteopath may examine the health of your joints, tissues and ligaments with their hands.
Your osteopath will give you a clear explanation of their diagnosis and the recommended treatment plan explaining both the benefits and risks associated with the treatment that they are recommended to you. They will also provide a guideline of the number of sessions that may be required.
It is important to note that if the osteopath suspects a serious condition that they are unable to treat they may refer you to your GP or to a hospital for further investigation.
After your treatment
It is not unusual for you to feel sore in the first 24-48 hours after your treatment with an Osteopath due to the physical nature of the treatment. Your osteopath should explain to you any likely reactions you could expect to experience after your treatment. If you are at all concerned then you should contact the osteopath and ask for their advice.
Do you need a GP referral for osteopathy?
Although if you have Private Medical Insurance you may need a GP referral for your treatment with an osteopath, if you are self-funding your treatment this would not be necessary. You do not have to notify your GP of any treatment you have had with an osteopath however, it may be advisable to make them aware to ensure your medical records are complete.
Are osteopaths regulated in the UK?
The General Osteopathic Council (GOsC) regulate osteopaths in the UK. In order to practice in the UK an osteopath must be regulated with GOsC by law.