Frequently Asked Questions About Osteopathy

Through Jean Hopkins years of Osteopathic experience in Chatham, she has been ask a wide range of questions from her patients about achieving better health and the benefits of osteopathy.

 Here are a sample of the most commonly asked questions: 

The fee structure of Osteopaths differs depending on the area you live. For the fees at Princes Avenue Osteopathic clinic please go to our `Our Osteopathy Clinic` page and look at pricing
Both Osteopaths and Chiropractors treat the same types of condition and  use similar techniques. Osteopathy and Chiropractors both have a similar history and philosophy seeing the body in a holistic way rather than focusing on individual parts of the body. a_t_still osteopathyAndrew Taylor Still was the first proponent of this philosophy and founded Osteopathy in 1874. David Daniel Palmer, a former student of Andrew Taylor Still, was the founder of Chiropractors 21 years later.The philosophy of Osteopathy has two core beliefs which  treatments are based around. One, ' the rule of the artery is supreme', ie a healthy blood supply is needed to support a healthy body. When assessing patients Osteopaths take into account the bodies blood circulation . Secondly  'structure governs function', this means that problems in body structure, eg an immobile joint  or muscle spasm, will inhibit the way that area works leading to compensations elsewhere. The root of osteopathy means bone,Osteopaths do not treat bones directly but the structures that play a part in how the skeletal system works. Chiropractors focus on the alignment of the vertebrae. Vertebrae are the back bones, the spine. They surround and protect the spinal cord and spinal nerves. The spine is very mobile to enable us to move easily and can misalign, possibly pressing or trapping a nerve. This can cause local pain and referred pain such as shooting pain down the arm or leg. We frequently treat these problems. Osteopaths and Chiropractors want to relieve pain in our spines and muscles and by working with the blood supply and nervous system we can affect the function elsewhere in the body alleviating the symptoms of conditions such as migraine, digestive disorders and more.
Osteopaths are primary care practitioners, complimentary to other medical practices. Physiotherapists are supplementary to medicine, ie Physiotherapists are part for the NHS. Osteopathy is a system of healthcare, treating the whole body. Osteopathy works with the bodies own self regulating abilities to maintain good health. If injury and compensations overwhelm this natural ability then Osteopathy can help. Physiotherapists consider full functional movement of the body to be central to good health. Osteopaths also consider movement very important. Osteopaths and Physiotherapists both take a medical history to ensure treatment is safe and beneficial to you, and perform a physical examination to make a diagnosis. Osteopathy consists of manual therapeutic techniques, sometimes manipulations which may result in a joint "clicking", articulation, soft tissue massage, techniques which relieve imbalances and restrictions within the connective tissues joining the body organs to the body wall (visceral osteopathy) and cranial osteopathy. Physiotherapists put more emphasis on therapeutic exercise, electrotherapy, mechanical intervention and functional training exercises in their consultations. Physiotherapists also work with occupational therapists to provide aids and appliances. Some physiotherapists will also use manipulation but this is taught as a short post- graduate course. Osteopaths have 2 years of manipulation training as part of their course tuition.
Most of the time Osteopathy is very relaxing. If the patient is in acute pain when they arrive typically the Osteopath will be very gentle, if however the problem is chronic (been there for a long time), the treatment may be stronger in order to get the body to change. This does not mean that treatment will hurt but it will be firmer. Sometimes a patient will feel achy or sore following Osteopathy, this is usually short lived and can also occur with other manual therapy i.e. chiropractors and physiotherapists.
No is the simple answer. Osteopathy is designed to promote the health of the total person, whatever the problem is and aims to improve the function of the whole person and in doing so help the body heal itself.  Osteopathy can help at any time in life, pregnancy, babies that had a traumatic birth, a child not thriving, or the elderly. Osteopaths tailor the treatment to the individual making sure it is suitable for you.
You may have heard the term ‘cranial Osteopathy’, or ‘craniosacral therapy’. It is a form of treatment that Osteopaths use. It is not a new concept, 50 years ago practitioners were questioning the accepted thought that the skull was fused. They were the first to think of the skull as being part of a system with dynamic activity involving the bones, membranes and cerebral spinal fluid. Initially this approach was not understood even by the practitioners themselves. Some of them thought they were funnelling divine healing power through their hands and some observers regarded it as quackery.There was a need for the underlying anatomy and physiology to be understood. One of the major people to have brought understanding to this concept is John Upledger. In 1971 he was taking part in a surgical procedure in the neck. His task was to hold the dura mater, this is a strong membrane that covers the brain and spinal cord. A calcified was being removed and the surgeon did not want to cut this membrane during the procedure. John Upledger realised that he could not hold the membrane still. It became apparent that the dural membrane had a rhythmical movement of about 8 cycles per minute. This rhythm was independent of the rhythm of the patients breathing and pulse. It appeared to be an ebb and flow of the fluid which is contained within the dural membrane. Neither the neurosurgeon or the anesthesiologist or himself had ever seen this before. It was this that started Upledgers interest. There was no conventional medical or physiological literature on this phenomenon. He became aware of a course in cranial osteopathy and the ideas seemed to fit what he had witnessed during the surgery. He did the course and tried some of the techniques he had been taught with great success. From then on he studied cranial osteopathy and became part of a research team. One of his jobs was to research cranisl osteopathy. He and a college spent 6 years trying to explain why the separate bones that make up the skull are the shape they are and what relevance that has to the structures beneath them. The conventional medical system still does not accept the idea of cranial osteopathy but now Osteopaths have a good understanding of what is happening when we tune into this cranial rhythm to treat patients.
  If our FAQ's page has not been able to answer your query, please do not hesitate to contact the Princes Avenue Osteopathic Clinic today