In the UK alone, Osteopaths provide over 8 million consultations a year for musculoskeletal problems. Patients visiting an osteopath have the same rights as any patient visiting a doctor or dentist. The General Osteopathic Council regulates and develops the profession, maintaining a statutory register of those entitled to practice.

Osteopathy recognises the importance of the link between the structure of the human body and the way it functions. Osteopaths focus on the body´s skeleton and joint function along with the underlying muscles, soft tissue and internal organs.

Utilising a highly developed sense of touch, osteopaths identify problem areas of the body. By using gentle stretching and mobilising techniques as well as manipulating joints, an osteopath works with the body facilitate the healing process.

How can osteopathy help?

Common conditions often helped by osteopathy include back and neck pain; headaches and migraines; whiplash injuries; shoulder and neck stiffness; joint pain, stiffness and arthritis; repetitive strain injuries (RSI); postural problems including changes during pregnancy; nerve pain (including sciatica); and sports injuries.

Children can suffer from similar musculoskeletal issues as adults, from their everyday lifestyle activities. Babies can also suffer from musculoskeletal pain and discomfort following birth, or postural challenges in early years. An osteopath will help to establish the cause of the problem, and will provide advice on appropriate treatment, or refer you for further examinations. Often gentler osteopathic techniques such as cranial osteopathy are used.

What to expect

On your first visit, we will take a full medical case history and carry out an examination of how your body moves. You may be asked to perform a few simple movements, and we will assess areas of weakness, tenderness, restriction or strain in your body using a highly developed sense of touch called palpation.

We will make a diagnosis and discuss if osteopathic treatment is suitable, and if so what the treatment will involve. Treatment will be aimed at helping to restore normal joint stability and body function. Treatment can include gentle massage techniques, rhythmic joint movements and muscle release techniques. It may also involve manipulation using short, quick movements to spinal joints. More subtle techniques such as cranial osteopathy may also be used depending on your problem. Specific exercises and advice is usually given for self-help.

Treatments usually last up to half an hour, and normally between 2 and 6 sessions are required. Many patients decide that they would like to have periodic preventative treatments to avoid recurring problems.

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