Frequently asked questions
What happens during an appointment?
You will be asked about your previous medical history, accidents, operations and current condition and medication.
Your osteopath will examine you to assess painful areas, posture & mobility and on the first visit will want to have a good look at your spine.
The initial diagnosis will assess the problem and any factors contributing to it.
There may be physical factors, such as spinal curvature , or environmental factors like poor seating, occupational hazards or stressful lifestyle.
Other tests such as reflex testing or blood pressure readings may required and you will be referred to your GP if other medical testing is necessary.
What should I wear?
During your appointment you may be required to get undressed and may feel more comfortable in appropriate underwear.
Tell your osteopath if you feel uncomfortable about this. You should expect privacy to undress and a gown or towel should be provided.
Alternatively you may prefer to wear shorts / leggings / jogging bottoms for this part of the consultation.
A friend or relative may be present throughout your treatment if required.
Is osteopathy painful?
You may be asked to make simple movements and stretches so your osteopath can observe your posture and mobility.
Treatment is hands-on and involves skilled manipulation of the spine and joints, and massage of soft tissues.
If you feel pain or discomfort at any time during these procedures, please let your osteopath know.
Your osteopath will always explain what they are doing and ask your permission before manipulating or massaging your body.
Is osteopathy safe during pregnancy?
It’s quite normal to get some discomfort during and directly after a pregnancy, and whilst usually nothing serious, it’s natural to worry about what might be causing your symptoms.
The Institute of Osteopathy has produced a two page guide about Osteopathy and Pregnancy which you may find helpful.
Is referral from a doctor necessary?
No. Most patients ‘self refer' to an osteopath for treatment and although referral by a GP is not necessary, you are encouraged to keep your GP informed so that your medical records are current and complete.
This will also ensure you receive the best possible care from both health care professionals.
How many appointments will I need?
You will be advised on the frequency and interval of further treatment.
As with all primary healthcare treatment, we recommend you seek the advice of your GP or regular medical practitioner before committing yourself to significant treatments, especially those requiring physical manipulation.
Are osteopaths regulated?
Yes. Osteopaths are regulated by the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC). It is against the law to call yourself an osteopath unless you are qualified and registered with the GOsC.
The minimum qualification for an osteopath is completion of a four or five year degree, which includes at least 1000 hours of supervised clinical practice. Many osteopaths also study for masters degrees.
They must then continue to update and expand their knowledge by logging a minimum of 30 hours per year of continuing professional development.
The GOsC can remove an osteopath from the register if they fail to maintain a strict code of professional practice.
You can check whether an osteopath is registered by visiting the GOsC website.