When is it appropriate to seek an osteopath rather than a GP?
A: Osteopaths treat chronic and acute musculoskeletal ailments including back, neck, shoulder and knee pain. Osteopaths train for 4 years to diagnosis and treat musculoskeletal conditions but also recognise when it is appropriate to refer you to your Doctor or other medical professional when appropriate.
Q: What should the expected outcomes be?
A: Depending on your ailment, osteopaths will give you a guide to how long it will take to recover. They consider your activity, general health, cause of the ailment and time frame. No person is the same which makes this question difficult to answer, but a general rule that acute conditions will recover in a matter of weeks whilst chronic conditions may take months.
Q: Is there an option for continuous support post treatment? (e.g. if the treatment option is similar to physio where much of it is done at home, are there follow ups to check it’s working?)
A: Personally, I will always offer support post-treatment. I will give patients a time frame to return for a follow up and alter the time frame depending on their recovery rate. I use the follow-up treatments to check your experience with the exercise(s) prescribed, reassess how you do the exercise(s), alter/provide additional exercises and how they have influenced the problem. I also provide manual treatment on the day as well.
Q: What’s the difference between a chiropractor and osteopath and who do you go to for what?
A: Although this is a common question I am asked, I have yet to perfect an answer to it that I am happy with as, let’s face it, it is a biased opinion. I can say that we both treat musculoskeletal conditions but we may go about treating it slightly differently. What is more important is that you are happy with how they treat you, their explanations for your problem and the evidence they cite. If it seems far-fetched, it probably is!
Q: What’s the difference between an Osteopath and Physiotherapist and when you should visit one rather than another?
A: Very similar to the answer above but will depend on if you see a private or public health physiotherapist. Like osteopaths, private physiotherapists have the luxury of having more time to assess, examine and treat you. They will also provide hands-on treatment and exercise advice. Unfortunately, to no fault of their own, NHS physiotherapists have less time and cannot be as specific with their treatments but still provide an invaluable service to those in post-surgery rehabilitation. Some physiotherapists, osteopaths and chiropractors may also be trained in acupuncture, K-taping, ultrasound therapy and/or electrotherapy and may use them depending on your needs. But again, see answer above!
Q: What does an osteopath do differently to a masseuse?
A: A masseuse does mainly passive massage of various types (Swedish, Thai etc) which are designed to relax, sooth and even reduce pain. Osteopaths are trained to do soft tissue massage, lymphatic techniques and stretching techniques which are similar. Osteopaths also do joint mobilisations and manipulations (moving joints around), muscle energy techniques (active stretching), injury rehabilitation, exercise prescription, ergonomic, postural and dietary advice. This can also be relaxing too but the intention is getting the patient better, for good.
Q: What specific conditions do you treat?
A: We treat a variety of musculoskeletal based ailments. The evidence base is such that we can advertise the following: Arthritic pain, Circulatory problems, Cramp, Digestion problems, Fibromyalgia
Frozen shoulder/ shoulder and elbow pain/ tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis),
Headache arising from the neck (cervicogenic), Joint pains, Joint pains including hip and knee pain from osteoarthritis as an adjunct to core OA treatments and exercise,
General, acute & chronic backache, back pain (not arising from injury or accident), Generalised aches and pains, Inability to relax, Lumbago, Migraine prevention, Minor sports injuries and tensions, Muscle spasms, Neuralgia, Rheumatic pain, Sciatica, Uncomplicated mechanical neck pain. For further information see this website:
Q: Do you treat holistically or just focus on certain areas of the body?
A: Osteopaths will treat holistically regardless of the problem. Our bodies are very complex and we need to consider it as such. For example, treating neck pain may also include but not exhausted by examining and treating the shoulder girdle, upper back and head.
Q: How do you know to visit an osteopath and not the hospital?
A: If you are considering going to the hospital in the first place, you should probably go to the hospital! If you are unsure of what to do, calling 111 or seeing your Doctor are good options too. As an osteopath, I am prepared and trained to recognise what is ‘outside my remit’ and will refer when appropriate to your Doctor or other medical professional. If you wish to visit an osteopath, you will have the peace-of-mind that they know how to take care for you or can point you in the right direction.
Q: What would you expect on a first visit (consultation) to see an osteopath?
A: You will be asked several questions regarding the nature of your complaint followed by a social and medical history to understand you as a person. A physical examination is carried out which may require you to undress to your underwear to allow for an accurate and thorough assessment. Your osteopath will provide you with information regarding your problem, advice as to how to treat it and will include you in the treatment process so that you feel safe and happy. Manual treatment and exercises are standard as part of the treatment. Your osteopath will provide you with a guide to your recovery time.