Anyone calling themselves an osteopath is required by law to be currently registered by the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC). This is part of a government act that was passed in 1993. Osteopaths are also required by law to be insured to protect both the public and themselves. All our osteopaths are registered with the GOsC.

The aim of the longer first appointment is to formulate a diagnosis or working model of what may be contributing to a patient’s problem and to decide from this a useful course of action. Treatment is usually provided at the first visit if safe and appropriate to do so. This involves using our hands to encourage changes in the body tissues to help alleviate the presenting problem and improve general health. A treatment plan will also be given to provide you with an idea of how quickly you may expect to improve. Subsequent visits will focus on treatment and do not take as long. See below for details of what to expect when we see patients at different ages: Your osteopath will start by taking a case history during which questions will be asked about the reason for your visit, your general health, lifestyle and medical history. This enables them to understand your problem in the context of you as a whole and your overall health. It is useful to have a list of any medications you may be taking, prescription or otherwise, and details of any scan results or other medical tests. Following this, an osteopath will examine you in order to begin to work out how your body may be being affected by your problem and what factors may be contributing to it. The osteopath will watch you moving and assess your overall posture. The osteopath will also gently use their hands to gain further impressions of your body tissues and also to check for any areas of tenderness. To assist this, you may be asked to dress yourself down to your undergarments to enable us to form a clear picture of your physical structure. Some patients prefer to bring gym clothes or shorts to change into. Whilst you are changing your privacy will be respected. You may be asked to remove jewelry such as necklaces or large earrings to better help your treatment. Following this, the osteopath will position you upon the treatment table and may test, for example, nerve function and the movement of parts of your body while you are at rest. If they are doing a ‘cranial’ osteopathic assessment they will ask you to lie down and gently place their hands upon you at various sites to gain a deeper impression of your tissues. As stated above, during this visit the osteopath will formulate a working diagnosis which will be explained to you. Questions are always very welcome and you will be given opportunities to ask these. If you feel any discomfort, physical or otherwise, you should tell the osteopath immediately and they will do their best to remedy this.

Osteopaths often include postural assessment during the first appointment and when re- assessing on subsequent appointments. This is easier when we can actually see your back/legs so we may ask you to remove outer clothing. Some people prefer to wear leggings/shorts so that they do not need to remove trousers and spaghetti-strap vests which can be lifted to see the lower part of the back as necessary. In some cases, treatment can take place in loose fitting clothing or leggings. One piece garments, such as dungarees or dresses are much harder to work around. You may be requested to remove jewelry such as necklaces, chains or large earrings.

It is very important that you feel able to communicate any wishes, questions or concerns you may have at any point before or during your visit.

As such, this idea of putting something ‘back into place’ is a misconception. A spinal joint out of place would be a very serious injury, and would certainly mean hospitalisation and not a visit to the osteopath. In fact, within osteopathic understanding, joints become restricted and limited in their normal function. Osteopathic treatment uses many treatment methods to try and restore that normal function. Another common misconception is spinal ‘discs being put back in’. Disc injury can be treated with osteopathy, but again treatment is applied to help the tissues to return to a more normal, healthy state.

If practiced by a qualified and sensitive osteopath they are not dangerous. Manipulations should not hurt if the osteopath has good technique and is respectful of a patient’s sensitivity. You shouldn’t assume that you will always have manipulation whenever you go to an osteopath, as many successful treatments can be conducted without its use. All good osteopaths will keep the patient informed of what they are doing as the treatment progresses.

Largely depends on the problem, and the osteopath will advise you on your first visit. As a general rule the more acute a problem then speed is of the essence, as an early assessment and diagnosis can speed the recovery time (in some cases by as much as weeks). If your problem is of a more long-standing nature it can take some time to ascertain the cause of the symptoms. Many muscular problems can be aggravated or caused by the most unlikely things, like emotional upset, office seating or even nutritional factors. Each problem is different and needs an individually assessed treatment plan. Your osteopath should be able to give you some indication on your first visit what treatment is required and how long it may take.

This depends on your problems and your osteopath will advise. Some patients with chronic pain feel that they benefit enormously by some maintenance treatment, while we only see others when they have a problem.

Sometimes there are unforeseen circumstances which mean that either a patient or an osteopath is unable to attend a prearranged appointment. If we are unable to make an appointment, we will ensure that the patients are informed as soon as possible. If you are unable to make an appointment, please get in touch with us as soon as possible to rearrange the visit. Notice of a cancellation gives us the opportunity to offer the space to someone else who may need it. If less than 24 hours notice is given, we may charge £25, unless we are able to fill the appointment. If an appointment is not attended without prior notice being given, we reserve the right to charge the full fee.