What is Osteopathy?
Osteopathy is a manual therapy approach which works with the body’s natural mechanisms to promote healing. The approach uses a combination of joint manipulation, soft tissue release and stretching of the musculoskeletal system. It’s based on the theory that our health relies on the integrity of all body’s structures, and that a wide range of conditions and injuries can be treated by addressing these structures and correcting them. The body has inherent self-healing mechanisms that can become impaired by the effects of chronic postural strains, traumas or just every-day stress. Osteopathy aims to restore, encourage and enhance these physiological mechanisms to aid recovery and physical wellbeing.
Only registered osteopaths can call themselves so and use these techniques to treat you. The training is lengthy and rigorous and the profession is strictly regulated by the General Osteopathic Council.
Osteopathy is classified as a non-invasive complementary medicine and is one of the few non-mainstream physical therapies that are formally regulated.
What does Osteopathy treat?
Osteopathy focuses on enhancing the body’s natural functions by increasing mobility, promoting good circulation and reducing tension, all of which stimulate the body’s innate ability to heal itself.
It’s commonly used to treat:
Many of our day-to-day activities such as driving, pregnancy, too much sitting, and incorrect movement habits are all common causes of incorrect posture.
Based on the principle that all body’s systems are interconnected in a fine balance, and that structural and physical health can have collateral effects on other aspects of our wellbeing, osteopathy can also help with the management of more complex conditions as an adjunct to other forms of medical treatment of disorders such as:
- Digestive issues
- Headaches or migraines
- Menstruation-related issues
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
How does Osteopathy work?
Exactly like you, we want to understand what has happened and why it’s happened. During your first Osteopathy consultation, we will ask you a variety of simple questions to investigate the source of the problem. This process will highlight the history of your complaint and any other factors that might play a role in determining the current clinical presentation. We’ll also want to know about your general health, and any other musculoskeletal concerns you might have had in the past, sometimes even stretching back into your childhood. After gaining a complete case history your osteopaths will move forward to an examination phase.
The format may vary but most patients will likely be asked to undress to their underwear or change into sports clothing for the examination as details of contour and movements are better observed when very well visible and their observation is crucial for an accurate evaluation. After carrying out a complete clinical examination your osteopath will develop a working diagnosis and explain to you the most effective way of treatment.
Sometimes depending on the nature of the problem, additional clinical assessments such as neurological, cardiovascular or abdominal examination, might be carried out by your osteopath to rule out other causes for your complaint that aren’t musculoskeletal and find out whether an onwards referral to another medical practitioner might be more appropriate. Many of these examinations are the type used by your General Practitioner (GP) when you visit them for a medical appointment. Your osteopath will also advise on whether further imaging or scanning may be necessary. These might include an X-ray or an MRI, which can be carried out through our network of local private specialist units or by referring you back to your GP.
If osteopathic treatment is considered appropriate to help alleviate your symptoms, a treatment approach will be explained and with your consent started within your initial consultation. Usually, initial consultations will take up to 1 hour with follow-up sessions lasting between 30 to 45 minutes depending on your requirement.
Is Osteopathy safe?
The Osteopathic approach, by its very nature, is extremely safe. The following information has been taken from the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC) , and the Institute of Osteopathy (iO)’s websites:
Osteopaths are regulated by law and recognised as an allied health profession by NHS England. This gives them a similar status to dentists or physiotherapists and guarantees an equivalent high level of care. By law, an osteopath must be registered with the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC) to practise in the UK. Before an osteopath can obtain registration, they must attain specialist degree-level training, either a Bachelor of Science (BSc.) or integrated Masters (MOst.), plus complete over 1000 hours of clinical placements (direct patient contact time). To maintain their registration with GOsC, which is renewed annually, osteopaths must meet mandatory continuous professional development (CPD): keeping skills and knowledge up-to-date and maintaining high standards of professional development.
It is the responsibility of the GOsC to regulate osteopaths in the UK. They work with the public and the osteopathic profession to promote patient safety by setting, maintaining and developing standards of osteopathic practice and conduct. The discipline of osteopathy is recommended as first-line care for the management of lower back pain both with or without sciatica symptoms as a part of a treatment package including exercise and/or counselling and psychotherapy (NICE).
Here at Kennington Osteopaths & Physiotherapy, we ensure that all members of our team are up to date with their continued professional development to always provide a non-invasive and safe solution to an illness or injury.
Does Osteopathy hurt?
Osteopathy is not usually painful, although it’s not unlikely to feel slightly sore or stiff in the first 48 hours after treatment, particularly if you’re receiving treatment for a painful or inflamed traumatic injury. Your osteopath will always explain the possible side effects of treatment and whether you’re likely to develop a reaction. If you feel any pain during or after treatment, tell your osteopath and they will be able to adapt their technique or give you advice to ensure your experience is pleasant and non-invasive.
Your osteopath may also discuss with you exercises or self-help procedures to aid your recovery and prevent symptoms from returning or getting worse. At Kennington Osteopaths & Physiotherapy we pride ourselves on being one of the best teams in London with highly qualified practitioners that will be able to support you during your recovery in the most effective and pain-free way possible.
What our clients say
For three months I had been finding it progressively more difficult to walk, I put this down to my deteriorating knee causing severe pain to my leg giving me a pronounced limp. Ana quickly, gently manipulated and balanced my hips and then aligned my spine. She worked with immense skill, stretching and massaging, though it was incredibly pleasant I felt nothing was happening but when I stood up it was amazing, no longer twisted. I was able to walk home without dragging my feet, the aches gone, I felt like I had a new body. A month on and I am still delighted to have visited her.
I went to Kennington Osteopaths with a sore shoulder. Andrea Rippe took care of me and was excellent. I left the practice with an early diagnosis of shingles and also had very effective pain-relieving acupuncture. In a world where no one has time for anything to take time, the level of care and consideration was excellent. I thoroughly recommend Andrea and her practice.