Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know that an osteopath is properly qualified?
Anyone practicing as an osteopath is required by law to be registered with the General Osteopathic Council (GOs.C), which was established by The Osteopaths Act, passed in 1993. Osteopaths must also be insured, to protect both the public and themselves. Extensive training and ethical behaviour are required in order to be registered by the GOs.C.
Does osteopathy cure arthritis and rheumatism?
No, but it can certainly help to alleviate many of the symptoms associated with these common problems. These are several techniques aimed at improving function and reducing the pain and discomfort of the muscles, ligaments and joints. Osteopaths can also give advice on how to help manage these problems long term, for example with exercises.
Does manipulation put the joint back in place?
As such, the idea of putting something back in place is a misconception. Spinal joints out of place would be a serious injury and would certainly mean hospitalisation rather than a visit to an osteopath. In fact, joints become restricted and limited within their normal function. Another commonly referred-to misnomer are spinal "discs being put back in". Disc injuries can be treated osteopathically, but again treatment is applied to help the tissues return to a more normal healthy state.
Is it necessary to see the GP first?
Many patients are referred by their doctor, but it is not necessary to visit him/her first. If there is any reason for the osteopath to contact your doctor, he will ask you first.
Do manipulations hurt?
Manipulation is not inherently painful. Some discomfort will occasionally be experienced when an injury is treated, even with gentle soft tissue techniques. The osteopath will be sensitive to your symptoms and not proceed with a technique if there is undue discomfort. It is wrong to assume that you will always have manipulation whenever you go to an osteopath. Many successful treatments can be conducted without its use. All good osteopaths keep the patient informed as to what they are doing as the treatment progresses.
Are there side effects with treatment?
You may experience some tiredness or soreness for a few days afterwards, but this will subside quickly. Significant side effects are very rare. Osteopathy is a very safe and effective form of treatment and most patients feel subsequently better for it.
How many treatments will I need?
This of course depends on the problem, and the osteopath will advise you on your first visit. With an new injury involving acute symptoms, early assessment and treatment can greatly speed recovery. With a long-standing problem, patterns of stiffness and pain can be established and it can take more treatment and time to effect a good change. Your rate of recovery will also depend upon several other factors including your age, general health, sensitivity to treatment and activities in your life.
Will I need a regular check up?
Once again, this depends entirely upon the problem and your osteopath will advise you on the need for exercises and possible maintenance treatment.
Can I claim on my medical insurance?
The majority of medical insurance companies now cover osteopathy. It is best to check with your insurers first, as individual policies may have exemptions. If you do have complimentary health cover then you should be given an authorisation number, which should be given to the receptionist at your first appointment. Sadly, after many years, we at Hamworthy Osteopaths have withdrawn from providing services for BUPA and AXA/PPP since their imposition of new contract arrangements that we felt were totally unreasonable.
What should I wear?
In order to carry out the examination, you will be asked to remove some of your clothing (leaving underwear on of course). If you are at all anxious about this, please feel free to bring along a partner or friend for 'moral support'. Also you may wish to bring some shorts, and hospital type gowns are available to use at the clinic if you prefer.