Frequently Asked Questions — When to See an Osteopath
What can osteopathy do for me?
It depends what is wrong with you, if anything. Osteopathy is a system of treatment that attempts to help the body adapt to its environment. This is achieved by making changes in the state of the body, and possibly the environment, to reduce the effect of stress on the body.
Osteopathy can treat stress?
Yes. If stress can be thought of as that load placed upon an individual, which means the person has to adapt to cope. This may be sudden gravitational, dietetic, emotional, or habitual stress. The total load upon you may be so intense that your immune system starts to fail, meaning you succumb to disease. One particular example involves heart disease, as explained below:
Cardiology — There is a saying in cardiology: “If the circulation fails, the heart won’t be far behind.” When you breathe in, blood returns to the heart with the help of a negative pressure in the chest. When more blood is returned to it the heart works less hard providing blood to the rest of the body. This process involves stretching its walls and allowing an efficient contraction.
Osteopathic Treatment — A flexible ribcage can help this process, and an osteopath is trained to help the ribs and thoracic spine become more flexible. A rigid ribcage, combined with too much fat in the abdomen and poor return drainage from the legs, will all combine to make the heart work harder. Walking helps, but if a painful leg or back discourages this, problems may accumulate.
Do I have to be ill to see you, and can there be any benefits to treatment if I feel fine?
Some people prefer to wait until they are having problems before they visit, while others like to keep themselves fit to cope with whatever life will throw at them. Feeling fine can precede having problems by a whisker or you might stay feeling fine forever. We are here to help if you need or want it.
Will I have to keep coming back?
The choice is always yours. We do not take fees up front. When you feel you no longer need help, talk it over with us.
What will happen when I arrive?
A case history will be taken, and if that suggested treatment will be useful to you, we carry out an examination. You frequently, but not always, will need to undress to your underwear for the physical tests. If the osteopath still thinks there will be some benefit to you, then treatment can go ahead, usually immediately.
Will I have to wait for an appointment?
Not usually. We are able to fit people in for emergencies. Typically, this will be before booked appointments start daily, and we also keep the middle of the day free. If you arrive early or the previous patient is overrunning, you may wait in our waiting room, which is equipped with a tea and coffee machine.
What can you cure?
No one knows. The research that has been done is of dubious value, both for and against. J.M. Littlejohn, the Scotsman who founded the first British School of Osteopathy, when asked what the limits of osteopathy were, replied: “We don’t know.”