WHAT IS OSTEOPATHY?
Osteopathy is a gentle form of manual therapy for musculo-skeletal conditions. It looks at the body as a unit, and your osteopath will aim at identifying the tissue that causes symptoms, but also, when appropriate, the reason why these symptoms have started, to then treat the root cause and prevent re-occurrence. The aim is to find full resolution of your problem, wherever possible.
To adjust the body mechanics, osteopathic treatment mainly consists of articulation (moving joints to re-establish normal range of movement) and soft tissue (massage / trigger points to relax tensed muscles). Manipulations, also known as "high-velocity low-amplitude thrusts" or "clicking technique" are sometimes used as well to adjust the body.
WHAT TO EXPECT ON MY FIRST APPOINTMENT?
Before your first appointment you will need to complete an online health questionnaire. This includes detailed questioning of your presenting problem, questions about your general health and any other relevant aspects of your health.
This is followed by an examination. You can bring a pair of shorts / leggings/sports wear with, to allow for easy assessment and movement for treatment. From there, your osteopath will explain to you the diagnosis and treatment proposed.
WHAT TO EXPECT AFTER TREATMENT ?
Most patients will feel at least some improvement after the first osteopathic session. For some patients, the benefits may only be felt after a couple of days. Other patients may have a reaction to treatment, sometimes called a "healing crisis", and feel a bit worse for a day or two after treatment. This is due to the body mechanics changing around the treatment done and is part of a normal response - the same way some muscles may feel sore after a good work out if they haven't been used for a while. Indeed, certain muscles may suddenly be recruited again to activate a joint that has been freed to move again.
Some patients feel better after treatment, and can be disheartened if symptoms return a few days later. This is also a normal reaction and it simply means that the right spot has been "hit", but simply needs more treatment to stabilise around the right position / behaviour. Treatment is often a gradual process, and patients will notice that periods without experiencing symptoms get longer and longer, until symptoms disappear completely. Treatments can often be booked further apart as a consequence, to follow the progress your body is making.
HOW IS THE TREATMENT PLAN ESTABLISHED?
At the end of the initial consultation, your osteopath will explain to you as accurately as possible the mechanical cause of your symptom, why your symptoms have started, the direction that needs to be taken, how to get there and how long it is likely to take.
Your osteopath will be interested in your posture at work, your diet, your exercise regime and your hobbies, to give you the best possible advice and work out with you the best treatment plan, that will most easily be integrated to your routine. The treatment plan is discussed between patient and osteopath to find the best solution for you, and patients are encouraged to make suggestions and can ask for alternatives at any time.
Your osteopath will also happily work alongside other health care professionals and may refer you to your GP or another specialist.
HOW MANY APPOINTMENTS DO I NEED TO MAKE?
There are many factors that influence the speed of recovery, depending on what tissue has been injured, how badly it has been injured and of course your age, diet, exercise regime and how long the issue has been going on for.
Your aims will also influence how many treatments you need. Are you simply looking for pain relief, or are you interested in dealing with a chronic condition for good?
Sometimes a patients may only need 1 or 2 treatments. Following that, their body can take over and do the rest of the work. However, generally most patients will need 4 to 6 treatments to re-establish normal mobility in their body (although symptom reduction happens more quickly) and some complex cases may need more sessions. This is discussed from the start, and your osteopath will make a quick assessment of the progress made at each appointment to keep you in control.
Your osteopath will also give you as many self-help tools as possible, such as exercises, diet changes, use of heat or cold packs, etc., to speed up recovery.