How does osteopathy work?

Osteopaths work with their hands using a wide range of manual techniques according to the individual’s age, physique and particular problem. Techniques range from:

  • Soft-tissue stretching techniques to release muscle tension
  • Gentle articulations to realign and improve joint mobility
  • Mobilisations and gentle manipulation to increase the range of movement of a joint
  • Neuromuscular release techniques, which allow a contracted muscle to release and free a restricted nerve supply
  • Lymphatic drainage techniques to improve circulation throughout your body and enhance your immune system

Health advice and exercises may also be given to help to reduce your symptoms and improve your health and quality of life.

What can I expect from osteopathic treatment?

A first examination with an osteopath, for example, will include a full case history, an examination of your musculo-skeletal system and other clinical tests (e.g. of the nervous system), a differential diagnosis, treatment if appropriate, and possible prognosis and outcome.

After the actual treatment, you will feel a change: more mobile and fluid and with less pain. In some instances, your body may feel slightly more painful or inflamed as osteopaths harness the body’s own healing mechanism by increasing mediators of inflammation to aid healing. So you may feel slightly worse for 24-48 hours.

How many osteopathic treatment will I need?

It depends on how severe and complex your condition is, if you are able to make the lifestyle changes suggested, and carry out the exercises recommended by your osteopath. You can rest assured that your osteopath will discuss your options with you, and only advise you to make appointments that are necessary. Your osteopath should be able to give you an indication of the approximate amount of treatments needed after your first visit.

For some acute conditions your osteopath will expect to see significant improvement and pain relief within fewer treatments. Problems that you have neglected or chronic conditions may require more regular osteopathic treatments.

It must be emphasised that each individual is unique therefore some people will require more or less osteopathic treatment before their symptoms improve. The ideal objective is for your total recovery with no recurrence of the problem. If your problem does not seem to be resolving within these sessions, you may be referred to your GP.

What should I wear for my osteopathic appointment?

Patients are generally advised to wear underwear that they feel comfortable in or shorts. It will be more beneficial for an osteopath to be able to examine a patient’s whole body. This enables for a more accurate diagnosis and more effective treatment. Women will remain in their bra and underwear but if someone does not wish to undress a pair of shorts and a vest would be fine.

Does insurance cover osteopathy?

Most insurance companies cover osteopathy. Please check with your insurance provider for further information.

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