HELPING YOUR BODY TO HEAL ITSELF
WHAT IS AN OSTEOPATH?
As an Osteopath we are trained to use our hands over a 4-5 year training period. With the understanding of your body structure (anatomy and physiology) including the study of how injuries develop (bio-mechanics) we get very good at finding which tissues in your body are strained or stressed.
For most common injuries there are three stages to our treatment plan:
1st Stage – Your pain relief is our first concern, most pains are due to some sort of inflammation and muscle spasm. Our duty is to work out which tissues are causing you pain and to provide relief. There are occasions when the body will take its own time to start getting better but in most cases we will give you advice to promote a faster healing process. In addition, we can feel for imbalances in your tissues that no one else can, giving you the advantage of treating underlying problems and not just superficial pain relief.
2nd Stage – Combination treatments: We may prescribe Clinical Massage Therapy in combination with your treatment to help speed up your recovery. Specific instructions will be given to the therapist so you won’t have to explain your condition. Together with the therapist will work as a team to closely monitor your progress. At this stage your pain level should be less and we will give you further advice so that you can do more things to help your body continue its recovery.
With each visit we are keen to help you correct your work posture, advice on your sleeping posture and use of the correct pillow as well as give you specific stretching or exercise routine. With our advice you will continue to get better and the little changes in your lifestyle helps a long way.
3rd Stage– Long term relief: Our goal is to minimize future recurrences of your problem and we recommend a regular check-up of every 4-6 months depending your case and needs. Those active in regular sports like triathlon or marathon, a monthly check-up is recommended. Being disciplined with exercises and keeping a good posture is never easy and people often lapse in doing them. Which is why a regular check-up even when you are not in pain is essential to check for a build up in muscle tension or joint stiffness that you are not aware of.
Here is a list techniques /procedures we will choose from during each of your visits, we may do all or some of them in combination, we are keen to tailor them according to your particular need.
- Trigger Point Therapy – releases muscle knots
- Osteopathic manipulation will loosen your spinal joints and peripheral joints.
- Deep muscle inhibition with muscle energy stretch to release deep ache and improve flexibility.
- Bio-mechanical assessment and advice to correct imbalances in your posture and activities.
- Balancing ligament techniques resolves stress and strains in your joints.
- Craniosacral treatments releases stress patterns in your body.
- Visceral techniques releases organ tensions related to your digestion, respiration and reproductive systems.
- Corrective behavioural advice to reduce risk of further injuries at home work or during sports.
- Referral to appropriate exercise program such as yoga, pilates, personal trainer that best suits your needs and body type.
What should patients expect on their first visit with the Osteopath?
- Your medical history will be asked
- We will carry out an Osteopathic Examination (gowns and shorts are provided)
- We will explain to you our current findings
- We will explain why further tests or investigations are required
- We will describe what the treatment is involved
- Osteopathic treatment will be carried out
- Advice or exercises maybe prescribed
- After the treatment and before payment – a simple questionnaire is given to you so that we can further understand your expectations
Osteopathy is more aligned to Western Medicine than Traditional Chinese Medicine, but osteopaths are also more interested in your environment from home, work and posture to get a picture of the normal stresses and strains particular to you. Ofcourse a simple wrist or ankle strain may not require as much questioning but an overall medical health questioning will be carried out, so do bear with us if you feel we are asking more health related questions than what you might be expecting.
Its quite common for people tell us more about their medical background during their repeat visits. And this is one of the most important difference when seeing an osteopath- the time we spend in our treatments and examinations allows us to understand your particular situation and life style giving us the ability to advice you a better way to manage your pain or discomfort.
Depending on the areas that needs to be examined, gowns and shorts will be provided for women and shorts for men. There are two parts (Active/Passive) to the examination both looking to find out which structures or tissues are causing you pain/discomfort.
- Active Examination- looks in detail how much you can move your muscles, joints and ligaments.
- Passive Examination – looks at how much tension is present in your tissues and joints. We also apply Cranio-sacral examination to get a better understanding possible underlying tensions.For those in acute pain we are interested in how persistant the protective muscles spams are guarding the area of pain.
Explanation of the current findings or possible tests.
Once we locate the tissues that are causing the pain we explain to you a possible mechanism as to why you are in pain or why the area is giving you discomfort. We may indicate if further tests are required eg Xray or MRI and why they may be needed. We are always aware to limit your exposure to radiation or un-necessary tests.
Common examples of our findings are:
- muscular strain after over lifting a luggage as well as tendon inflammation
- ligament tear after twisting your ankle
- wear and tear (degeneration) of the your knee cap after repetitive injury
and the list goes on, but in general we try and localise which tissues from your muscle, ligament, tendon or bone is the cause of your pain/discomfort.
We will describe what the treatment is involved
Our initial aim for new patients is reduce inflammation, irritation, swelling, muscle tightness or joint stiffness. And so our description of how we will treat you will depend on what we find during the examination and what affects will our treatment will have on your pain. There is a natural progression of recovery eg muscle tear usually takes 3 days to recover and ligament tear depending on the severity may takes weeks. We will advice you as best as we can to help yourself and improve the chances of a faster recovery time.
Osteopathic treatment will be carried out
Most of the time our treatments are painless although when the area in question is inflammed there maybe discomfort during our manipulation. We don’t generally susbcribe to “no pain no gain”, we believe that the more relaxed you are during the treatment the faster recovery you will have.
Trigger point therapy can give more discomfort during treatment and this will be explained to you as each person had different pain thresholds.
Advice or exercises maybe prescribed
We believe in self treatment as an important aspect of our work and giving you exercises or anti-inflammatory techniques is our goal to quicken your recovery process.
Our exercies advice have origins in yoga, pilates, personal training, and rehab therapy. We will prescribe convenient ones that you should be able to do on daily basis.
A simple questionnaire is given to you
We are keen to understand your expectations and for most receiving osteopathic treatment is a new experience. After treatment we would like you to fill in a simple questionnaire which we will base our follow up sessions from and hopefull improve our service.