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What Does An Osteopath Do?

What does an Osteopath do?

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Many people email in or call me and have questions about what osteopaths do and how we can help.

Here’s a few of the most recent questions we’ve received:

Q: What exactly happens when I visit an osteopath?

At your first visit you will normally meet lovely reception staff, and If you are are little early then I’m sure you will be offered a cup of tea! You will need to fill out a case history form for us and the osteopath will talk through this with you so we know as much as possible about everything we need to know to get the fastest and best results for you.

Your osteopath will then look at your back from different angles and with you doing simple movements to assess through “osteopathic eyes” what is going on and where the problems are. These might not be where you think they are or where the most pain is!

We can then proceed with osteopathic treatment. This can be variable from the most gentle cranial osteopathy to the normal massage and manipulation of osteopathy. We are all trained in hundreds of techniques so if you like a gentle treatment or a firmer treatment then no problems, we will listen to you and cater for what you prefer. Remember we treat all ages from babies to the elderly.

Often patients may be nervous about taking their top layer of clothes off. Again do not worry about this, we can do much of our treatments by moving some clothes around and we have plenty of towels to cover you at all times. It is one of our top most priorities that our treatments are well explained to you and you feel comfortable at all time. We have myself and two female practitioners.

Q: How will you get me out of pain or discomfort?

Osteopathic treatments consists of “soft tissue” techniques, these are similar to massage (working on the muscles) but we have a wide variety of highly effective specialised techniques such as muscle energy, positional release and inhibition that gentle release tension and knots, or trigger points as we call them.

This then allows us to use techniques to better release restricted joints, such as mobilisation where we gently stretch joints that are “locked up” and also the “click” techniques where you sometimes here the joint “pop”. This is the classic technique that osteopathy is well know for. The “pop” is actually an air release in the joint as it frees off to move better. Patients absolutely love having the “click” as it can bring such quick pain relief and improved range of movement. However, the occasional patient isn’t keen on it and that is absolutely fine too, we have such a wide variety of other techniques we can use instead.

Q: What is your success rate with clients?

We have an extremely high success rate with all our patients. Everyone is different though and has varying goals. For example, I aim to have a colicky baby better in two weeks but my elderly patients are over the moon if we get them back out gardening again! We will discuss with you your health goals but importantly we will educate you in prevention too. If you are relatively young then we should be aiming for as close to 100% pain relief if possible. However, if your pain is from poor posture at your workstation then this pain will probably return if you don’t change your set-up and the way you sit. We will help you with this so you gain long term relief. We might also discuss MOT treatment if this is the only way to help you into the future. But hey, you have read my e-report so you will know this!

Q: How many treatments will I need?

Everyone differs on the amount of treatments they need, however using our experience we will give you an estimate after we have seen you for your consultation and posture analysis. Again the number of treatments goes back to how you originally injured yourself and other factors that we will speak to you about. It is often easier to assess how many treatments will be required at your second treatment as then we will have an idea of how you have responded.

Factors that affected the number of treatments included the severity of the pain you are in, whether you have radiating pain, like sciatica and how long you have had the pain. If two people have a similar low back pain and one has had it for 6 months and the other 6 days then it will probably take longer for the 6 month patient to get better.

Yours in health,

Christian Bates, Osteopath, The Perrymount Clinic, Surrey, 01444 410944

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