What Is Osteopathy?

Osteopathy uses manual therapy and a range of non-invasive techniques to provide pain relief and rehabilitation. This aims to improve the mobility of your joints and relieve tension in the muscles to enable it to heal more effectively.

Osteopaths are highly trained healthcare professionals, with a four-year degree, and are experts in the musculoskeletal (MSK) system. They use manual therapy to treat musculoskeletal issues, from back pain to issues with the joints, in order to reduce pain and improve the function of the body.

What conditions can Osteopathy treat?

Osteopaths work with people from young children to older patients, manual workers, office professionals and athletes, pregnant women and even animals. Since the treatment is so gentle, it can be used by people of all ages to treat different problems. Osteopathy is used to aid healing for a wide range of conditions and health concerns, creating an optimal healing environment for the body.

The conditions Osteopathy can treat include:

  • General aches and pains
  • Joint pain, including pain in the knees and hips associated with osteoarthritis
  • Back pain and backaches
  • Mechanical neck pain
  • Headaches caused by the neck
  • Preventing migraines
  • Frozen shoulder
  • Tennis elbow
  • Circulatory problems
  • Cramping
  • Digestive issues
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Neuralgia
  • Sciatica
  • Muscle tension and spasms
  • Rheumatic pain
  • Minor sports injuries
  • Inability to relax/stress
osteopathy on back

Is Osteopathy treatment painful?

The goal of Osteopathy is to provide a gentle form of treatment, so those trained in this field work hard to provide a treatment that is as pain-free as possible. However, you may experience some slight discomfort during your session or after the treatment. If you’re experiencing pain during your treatment or you feel uncomfortable, you can ask your Osteopath to stop.

Osteopathy is popular amongst athletes and sports enthusiasts, as it provides muscle and joint pain relief and helps to increase mobility. It can also be highly effective for those with age-related concerns, people requiring rehabilitation following an accident or those suffering with back pain from working in an office environment.

Osteopathy can manage pain and help with a range of conditions and concerns, from sporting injuries, postural problems, and hip or joint aches, to digestive problems, migraines and rheumatic pain. The focus of osteopathic treatment is to reduce pain and discomfort and improve your overall wellbeing. The benefits of osteopathy include improved bodily functions and mobility, a regular and more restful sleep pattern, increased energy levels, a reduction in stress and muscle tension, and a positive impact on your mood.

Osteopaths are trained to manage musculoskeletal issues, from back pain and neck problems to issues with the joints and muscles. Osteopathy uses manual and physical therapy to reduce pain and improve the function of the body.

What Is The Difference Between Osteopathy & Chiropractic?

Although Osteopaths and Chiropractors both aim to help patients with physical issues that prevent them from living full and active lives, and both focus primarily on the back, there are differences between chiropractic and osteopathy. Chiropractors focus on the joints and spine, whereas Osteopaths adopt a more holistic approach to the body. So it is the approach to physical therapy that is the key difference between these allied health professions. Following a thorough case history and physical assessment, osteopaths aim to formulate a diagnosis that focuses on the cause of the patient’s pain rather than just treating the site of the pain. Find out more about the difference between Osteopathy, Chiropractic and Physiotherapy here.

osteopathy vs chiropractor

What does an Osteopathy appointment involve?

At an osteopathic consultation, you will be asked questions about your medical history and your lifestyle, along with the symptoms you are experiencing. This provides your Osteopath with an overview of your health and enables them to formulate an appropriate treatment plan for you.

Your osteopathy appointment will involve examining the areas that are causing you issues, whether that is your back, joints, neck or elsewhere. Your Osteopath may also examine areas that are connected to the pain, such as your forearm if you have neck pain as the nerves are connected here and could be contributing to your health issues. As they carry out the examination, they will explain to you what they are doing and why.

Osteopathy involves manual therapy, which is a gentle hands-on approach that focuses on releasing tension in the joints or muscles and improving mobility. The treatment may also include exercises that you can complete at home to assist the healing process and advice designed to help you manage your pain and improve wellbeing. Osteopathy treatment usually begins from your first appointment but the Osteopath may advise that you go for additional tests, such as blood tests or scans, or they may liaise with other health professionals such as your GP.

doctor with patient
student presentation

Are Osteopaths trained health professionals?

Osteopaths in the UK are regulated by the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC) and are recognised as an allied health profession by the NHS. In order to become a registered Osteopath, they need to complete a degree which is recognised by GOsC and this includes 1,000 hours of supervised clinical practice in a teaching clinic. The GOsC requires practicing Osteopaths to maintain continuous professional development and knowledge to stay on the GOsC Register.