Orthopaedic Osteopathy

What is Osteopathy?

Osteopathy is an effective health care system which focuses on the musculoskeletal system and how it flows and inter-relates with the body as a whole system, as so the muscles, joints, ligaments and connective tissues work together in one strong and efficient system. Osteopaths utilise their hands to diagnose and treat the underlying cause of the problem. We take a holistic view that the musculoskeletal system is important in maintaining the health of other parts of the body such as the respiratory and digestive systems.

Poor health, pain and dysfunction may occur due to injury, work, stress, posture or perhaps disease. Osteopathy encourages the body to work together to its greatest potential, allowing the body to restore to its normal and most importantly natural function.

What kinds of problems can osteopathy help with?

There is a wide variety of problems in which osteopathy can help with for example, sports injuries, posture during pregnancy, babies with colic or sleeplessness, repetitive strain injury, postural problems caused by anything to driving to work strain, children with glue ear, pain of arthritis and many, many more.

What can I expect when I visit an Osteopath?

When you visit an osteopath for the first time, a full case history will be taken including details of your present problem, your past medical history and health in general. You may be asked to remove some of your outer clothing as appropriate so that a correct examination can be carried out of the problem in its prime location.

The examination involves you carrying out a simple series of movements to identify areas of dysfunction. Palpation will identify any points of weakness or excessive strain throughout the body. Other tests such as neurological testing, blood pressure, x-ray or MRI investigations may be carried out or arranged if and where required.

The assessment will be considered alongside lifestyle factors such as work and leisure to enable a full diagnosis and a development of the treatment plan.

Following treatment, advice can be given on what you may be able to do to help yourself, and how you can minimize the risk of further injury.

This examination procedure is not time consuming and in most cases treatment will begin during your first session.

What does the treatment involve?

Osteopaths work with their hands using a wide variety of treatment techniques to suit the patient at hand and the problem in which they have. These may include soft tissue techniques, rhythmic passive joint mobilization or high velocity thrust techniques designed to improve mobility and the range of movement of a joint.

Gentle release techniques are widely used, particularly when treating children or elderly patients. This allows the body to return to normal function with full efficiency.

How many treatments will I need?

Osteopathy is patient concentrated therefor the treatment is geared for you as an individual. The therapist should be able to give you an indication after your first visit. As a guide, for some acute pain, one or two treatments may be all that is necessary. Chronic conditions may need on-going maintenance treatment, an average of 6 – 8 sessions, however it can vary form case to case.

Do I need a referral from my GP?

A formal referral from your GP is not necessary; the majority of osteopathic patients self refer.

How can I be sure I’m in safe hands?

A registered Osteopath has to demonstrate to the General Osteopathic Council via a detailed application process that they are a safe and competent practitioner and they have adequate malpractice insurance and have agreed to abide by the Code of Practice.

What does D.O and/or BSc (Ost) after an Osteopaths name mean?

These are osteopathic qualifications. The D.O stands for diploma in Osteopathy or Doctor of Osteopathy, the BSc is a degree in Osteopathy. The length of training is the same for both, at least 4 years full-time training. The diploma course has been around the longest, the BSc degree is now the standard Osteopathic qualification.

Can I claim osteopathy on my private health insurance?

Many healthcare insurers pay for osteopathic treatments. However, insurers vary enormously in terms of what they cover and how you should seek treatment and re-claiming the cost of that treatment. You are therefore advised to contact your insurer as soon as possible if you intend to make a claim. At spine and joints clinics, in some cases it is your responsibility to pay for your treatment at the time of the treatment and to make the appropriate claim through your insurer for repayment.

Osteopathy Compared to Other Medical Professions

Classical Medicine

Modern day medicine advances and develops on a daily basis with considerable new technological breakthroughs. We are able to diagnose and treat problems sooner and more effectively than ever before. The treatment however is based many times on looking at treating an illness symptomatically.

Modern osteopathic medicine looks at structure and function from a macroscopic point of view and therefore we are able to help many patients where the standard medical aetiology of the complaint is not clear. We look at patients and ailments through different eyes giving us another vision on functionality.

As classical medicine works from cellular model and osteopathy from a macroscopic model, these two forms of medicine do not have to compete with each other. They are not an alternative to each other but rather complementary to one another.


Chiropractic therapy originated from osteopathy. The greatest difference between osteopathy and chiropractic therapy is that the first concentrates on the axial skeleton or spinal system when treating patients while osteopathy goes further and treats all the other systems of the body as well.


Physiotherapy principally treats patients who need rehabilitation and try to fix problems in the loco motor system by exercise. Osteopathy approaches the patient differently by adjusting malfunctions of the system that will bring back the synchronisation of the body. Then you are able to get your body into exercising and rehabilitation.

Cranial Osteopathy

Cranial osteopathy is a branch of osteopathic medicine dealing mainly with head problems. The idea of this is that the tensions in the skull bones junctions may cause disturbance in blood circulation in the head and brain.

Visceral Osteopathy

Visceral Osteopaths lean partially on the old Chinese medicine by believing that the functions of inner organs reflect to the whole body. Therefor placing their main focus in this area of the body.