What is Osteopathy?

Our Colchester Osteopaths explain what Osteopathy really is

Osteopathy is a manual therapy. This means that Osteopaths use their hands to diagnose and treat areas of pain and restriction. Osteopathy is a safe, natural and non-invasive form of treatment that can be tailored to the individual patient’s requirements.

How do Osteopaths assess and diagnose patients?

Osteopathy is recognised by the British Medical Association as a discrete clinical discipline and uses many of the diagnostic and examination techniques used in conventional medicine. Osteopathic diagnosis looks at how the body is functioning through joint structure and body movement patterns. This will involve taking a thorough case history and examination, where the patient will be asked to carry out a range of movements.

The Osteopaths at The Mersea Road Clinic in Colchester understand that if the body’s structure is altered, then it cannot function to the best of its ability. This altered structure does not have to be something you would see on an x-ray because it can be an imbalance in your tissues and joint mechanics that is causing you discomfort or pain. In this respect your GP maybe unable to isolate what tissue is causing you pain because it is not visible under imaging.

This is where Osteopaths are unique, in that they look at the overall structure and function of the body dynamically; this means how your joints are moving and how your tissues are working actively. This then enables osteopaths to understand why certain areas of your body are not working well, are predisposed to injury or are under more load and therefore why you might be experiencing pain and discomfort.

What symptoms and conditions can Osteopaths treat?

Most commonly it is thought that Osteopaths only treat musculo-skeletal conditions of the spine such as low back pain. However, Osteopaths can treat any joint of the body and help manage a wide variety of conditions such as digestive problems and headaches. Take a look at What our Osteopaths Treat or give us a call for more advice.

What treatments can Osteopaths offer their patients?

Osteopaths here at The Mersea Road Clinic, Colchester, are also trained in a wide range of treatment techniques and can look at a number of systems in the body to form a diagnosis. For example, our Osteopaths here in Colchester can treat using visceral osteopathy (this means looking at the organs inside the body) and Cranial Osteopathy (looking at subtle movements of skull bones).

Treatment techniques will also vary from spinal manipulation to more gentle articulation and soft tissue techniques depending on the patient’s needs. We can take you through what to expect when you visit one of our osteopaths if you are visiting for the first time.

How are Osteopaths regulated?

All Osteopaths in the UK are registered with the General Osteopathic Council, a regulatory body that ensures the utmost quality and standards of care for patients.

Professionalism and safety

To qualify, an Osteopath must study for four to five years for an undergraduate degree. This is similar to a medical degree, with more emphasis on anatomy and musculoskeletal medicine and includes more than 1,000 hours of training in osteopathic techniques. By law, Osteopaths must register with the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC). Our Osteopaths are continually monitoring their standards and on the 1st September 2012, our regulatory body, the GOsC, published new guidelines. As always we endeavour to give the safest and most effective treatment to all our patients. Read more about them on the GOsC website.It is an offence for anyone to call themselves an osteopath if they are not registered. The British Medical Association’s guidance for general practitioners states that doctors can safely refer patients to osteopaths.