Osteopathy Frequently asked questions

Is osteopathy safe?

Osteopathy is a safe and natural approach for a variety of conditions.  It is suitable for pregnant women and for all ages including the elderly.

Should I see my GP before seeing an osteopath?

It’s not necessary to see your GP before coming to Larch Tree Osteopathic Practice. We may, with your permission, write to your GP to keep them aware of your progress or refer you to the GP for further investigations.

Will I be sore after treatment?

Some patients feel sore for a couple of days after treatment. It may be that the muscles ache after the treatment or that there is some inflammation but in either case this should subside after a day or two. If you feel you are not improving or if your symptoms worsen please contact us by telephone and talk to our osteopath, Liam Halton. Do not wait until your next appointment – Liam can give you advice, or if necessary, bring your next appointment forward.

Should I use hot or cold?

When a joint is injured it becomes swollen, and swelling reduces with the application of cold.  A cold pack or bag of frozen peas wrapped in a thin cloth should be applied to the painful joint for 5-10 minutes every 1-2 hours. Make sure to remove the ice before it becomes painfully cold.

Should I exercise?

Do not exercise through the pain. Pain is your body’s warning system. Our osteopath will give you appropriate exercises during your course of treatment at the appropriate stage for you.

Are osteopaths regulated?

All osteopaths are now required by law to be registered with the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC) and must have undergone recognised training over four or five years.  Our osteopath, Liam Halton, is registered with the GOsC and has a B.Sc. (Hons.) in Osteopathy from the British School of Osteopathy in London. He is also a member of the Institute of Osteopathy and the British Medical Acupuncture Society.

How long does an osteopathy treatment take?

Your initial consultation is likely to take about 1 hour because the osteopath needs to take a full history of your case and conduct an examination in order to make a diagnosis of your condition.  If he is able to make a diagnosis without the need for further investigation he will then begin your treatment.  Subsequent consultations usually take about 30 minutes.

What if I can’t attend my appointment?

If you are unable to attend an appointment please telephone to let us know as soon as possible so we can give someone else the opportunity of being treated.  There is no cancellation fee.

How many treatments will I need?

The number of treatments depends on the severity of your problem. Some problems may be resolved within one or two treatments. Other problems may require ongoing treatment but we will continually discuss your treatment with you so you understand your progress.

What’s the difference between an osteopath, chiropractor and a physiotherapist?

Liam says: I will try to answer this without bias but please remember that I am an osteopath and therefore cannot be truly objective. Inevitably, this brief snapshot does not do justice to the development of three different forms of manual therapy. It merely attempts to highlight some of the differences in clinical practice you can expect from each.

Osteopaths use in depth physiological & clinical knowledge, coupled with keen observation & palpatory skills. The osteopath will combine a detailed health case history with a thorough physical evaluation to diagnose a patient’s condition and treat it. The patient’s diet, work & leisure practices all inform the process.

The osteopath doesn’t treat a painful back, knee or shoulder, but rather the body as a whole unit – one that must be treated in an integrated manner in order to return to good balance & function: can an injured knee, for instance, be treated conclusively without addressing the biomechanics of the ankle, hip, pelvis and back? The osteopath’s aim is not merely symptomatic relief, but to address the underlying causes of the problem to prevent re-occurrence.

Osteopathic treatment combines joint mobilisation and manipulation with work on muscles and ligaments.

Chiroprators: The origins of Chiropractors are close to osteopaths as the first chiropractor was a student of the founder of osteopathy. A large proportion of chiropractors focus treatment on the manipulation of spinal segments to normalise spinal position and the underlying nerve roots. Treatment plans are often based on regular manipulation for a set number of sessions in order to wholly correct a disorder. Chiropractors also often use imaging to aid diagnosis, such as X ray. These x rays will often be conducted in the clinic as part of the course of treatment.

Physiotherapy is the most commonly known form of manual therapy due to its prevalence within the NHS. Physiotherapists specialise in the rehabilitation of acute and chronic joint injury, often using a variety of prescribed exercises that the patient carries out at home. Physiotherapists also use machines such as ultrasound or TENS to facilitate change in an injured area.

NHS physiotherapists tend not to have a diagnostic input, the diagnosis and treatment request tending to emanate from a consultant or doctor. As a result treatment will tend to be more specific than integrative.