Tel: 01279 755994

What to expect from treatment

If you are a little nervous about visiting an Osteopath or Physiotherapist, you are welcome to bring a friend or relation to accompany you into the treatment room.

Please do not hesitate to ask your practitioner to stop at any time during the appointment/treatment and explain anything they say or do during your treatment.

It is important that the practitioner can see and feel not only the area causing your problems, but also other areas of your body that may be related to your condition. You will probably be asked to undress down to your underwear for examination and treatment. Please feel free to wear loose fitting shorts and a vest top if you will be more comfortable. We do have clean shorts and tops available for you to borrow if you require, please just ask your practitioner.

Your initial consultation will take around 30 minutes. Before your actual treatment commences you will be asked to complete some online forms about yourself and your general health (both past & present), medical history including operations and illnesses, and any medications you are taking. You may then be asked to perform certain simple movements so your practitioner can observe the effects of your condition. Further examination, such as blood pressure, reflexes, joint mobility and muscle strength may also be conducted.

Your practitioner will make a diagnosis which will be discussed with you, and in most cases treatment will be given. If your practitioner does not think that you will benefit from treatment, this will be explained to you.

What does treatment involve?

Treatment itself takes about 20-30 minutes and employs a range of techniques from manual therapy such as soft tissue work and mobilisations, to exercises, ultrasound, acupuncture and taping.

Osteopaths can also use gentle ‘cranial techniques’ and HVT manipulation where appropriate.

So whatever your current level of discomfort, or pain tolerance, do not worry. Your practitioner will discuss this with you and adjust your treatment to use only techniques that are appropriate for you at that time.

After relieving your initial symptoms your practitioner can proceed with your rehabilitation. This may take several more treatments and has three basic aims;

  • to get your body working as it is supposed to
  • to educate you how to use and work your body as it is supposed to be used, and
  • to prevent the problem recurring

This may involve gentle exercise or stretching routines for you to do at home.

Respecting you – Your modesty matters

It is important that you feel comfortable during your osteopathic treatment, particularly around matters of modesty and privacy.

At the start of your first session we will ask questions about your medical history and lifestyle as well as your symptoms. This is very important as it will help us to make an accurate diagnosis and suggest appropriate treatment. This information is kept confidential in conjunction with the Data Protection Act 2018.

We will need to examine the area(s) of your body causing discomfort. Sometimes the cause of the problem may be in a different area to the pain, (for example, a difference in leg length may result in compensations in the upper back which might result in neck pain) so we may need to examine your whole body.

We will need to feel for tightness in the muscles and stiffness in the joints and may need to touch these areas to identify problems. We will explain this as we go along, but if you are uncomfortable with any part of this then let us know, we can discuss this with you or stop if you prefer.

As with a visit to a GP or other medical professional, for us to examine you effectively it may be necessary for them to ask you to remove some clothing as appropriate for the condition. This may mean undressing down to your underwear, but we always have large towels on hand to keep you covered. If this is a problem for you then let us know and we will try to make arrangements that make you more comfortable.

You are also welcome to bring someone with you for all or part of your consultation, and children should always be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Remember, if you have any questions we will be happy to discuss this with you.

Side effects and risks

Osteopathy is a manual form of treatment. Like most forms of treatment, including medication, there can be side effects and no matter how minor the effect, or remote the possibility, we are obliged to inform you they do exist and so gain your informed consent to administer treatment.

Side effects can vary from person to person, and we could not possibly list every slight possible side effect for each individual procedure. The most common side effect, though not experienced by everybody, is some discomfort or soreness after treatment, usually about between 24 to 48 hours. However, in extremely rare circumstances a manipulation has caused injury to the spine or neck. In the most severe of these incidents a neck manipulation has damaged an already weakened artery which has resulted in a stroke or possible neurological (nervous system) changes.

However we would like to reassure you:

  • The likelihood of such a severe side effect is extremely rare, but given its severity we are obliged to tell you that a risk- though extremely rare - does exist.
  • The number of actual occurrences of ‘stroke following neck manipulation’ is not known and estimates of the risk vary wildly between 1 chance in 1 million and 1 chance in 10 million. Nearly all of these incidents have involved Chiropractic treatment and according to information produced by BUPA1 “there is a general consensus that osteopathy is less of a risk in terms of spinal injury because osteopaths usually use less forceful manipulation techniques on the spine”. To put it in perspective – it is believed that a stroke due to damage to the artery is as likely to occur whilst having your hair ‘back-washed’ at a salon.
  • Your osteopath will only carry out a neck manipulation if he/she considers it necessary and will perform certain screening tests that should identify a weak artery before a manipulation. Please inform your osteopath if you do not want to undergo this procedure (you are completely free to change your mind either way at any time).

If you require more information just ask. We are here for you.

How many sessions will it take?

We only employ professionals that we consider to be of the highest quality and integrity. Rest assured that your practitioner will discuss your options with you, and only advise you to make appointments that are necessary. During your first consultation, as well as establishing the cause of your specific complaint, your practitioner will try to establish your 'wants, needs and expectations' and then plan your treatment appropriately.

The ideal objective is for your total recovery with no recurrence of the problem. However 'total rehabilitation' is not just in the hands of your practitioner, nor is it instantaneous. To achieve full recovery, the chances are you will need to commit a certain amount of time and effort yourself, usually in the form of specific gentle exercises or stretching to do at home, and concentrating on avoiding certain positions and situations that may aggravate your problem.

However, many of our clients recognise that their personal circumstances (for example age, available time or even a dislike of exercise) prevent them achieving 'total rehabilitation', but regularly return for treatment which maintains mobility and comfort to an acceptable level.

Others achieve initial pain relief and with a little effort reduce their discomfort to a level that they consider acceptable, and with a few light exercises, a little education, and the occasional 'maintenance' treatment, dramatically reduce the risk and severity of a repeated injury or trauma episode.

Together, we will find the appropriate balance for your lifestyle, your interest, your circumstances and your specific condition, to provide the best and most appropriate treatment program for you.

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127 Dunmow Road, Bishop's Stortford, Herts, CM23 5HQ