A treatment where muscle and/or skeletal tissues are manipulated, articulated and stretched in order to relieve physical pain or emotional tension.

What is Osteopathy?

Traditionally, osteopathy developed as an alternative system for the treatment of illness and disease. At the core of original osteopathic philosophy was the idea that spinal nerve entrapment could trigger off abnormal nerve messages and cause related body organs to eventually become diseased. It was believed that by treating trapped spinal nerves some less severe organ damage could be helped.

Nowadays, osteopathy's main focus is on the body framework, otherwise known as the musculo-skeletal system (the joints, muscles, ligaments, connective tissue and the bones) and the way in which this interrelates with the body as a whole. Modern day osteopathy uses scientific knowledge of anatomy and physiology along with detailed understanding of disease processes and standard medical clinical methods to diagnose and treat mainly body framework problems.

Problems with the body framework may occur because of injury, stress or disease. By using the bio-social holistic health model (in other words treating body, mind and spirit) holistic osteopaths try to improve a patient's overall health as well as treating the strained or pained part of the person. As a result of osteopathic treatment, the musculo-skeletal system is then able to function as efficiently as possible. This allows the body to have a much better chance of restoring itself to normal health.

As part of treatment and management, an osteopath may suggest how to maintain a realistic level of health. For example, prescribing preventative exercises to improve posture or giving advice on diet and lifestyle enhancement. These can be provided as part of an integrated personal well-being plan.

What happens when you consult an osteopath?

You will be asked about the history of your current complaint. This will include questions about how long you have had the problem, how it may have started, what factors may be stopping it getting better, what aggravates and what relieves the symptoms. We will want to know about the impact of your trouble on your daily activities, including your domestic, social and work life.

You will be asked about your past history of similar problems and about any other body framework injuries. We will also want to know about any other health problems such as illnesses, tests and investigations, hospitalisations or operations you may have undergone. You will also be asked about any illnesses that have affected any blood relatives. The effects of stress, dietary intake and impact of your lifestyle on your health may also be explored.

The examination will include a detailed evaluation of your standing and sitting postures. The flexibility level of your spine and other joints will be assessed. Depending on the problem, for example, if a disc is damaged or a nerve is entrapped, a neurological examination may need to be undertaken. Examination of your neurology and nervous system will include testing your reflexes, the strength of your muscles, the sensation levels of your skin and possibly use of other specialist neurological tests. If necessary, other examinations or testing procedures may be required. For example, x-rays, scans or blood tests may sometimes be arranged.

Once the examination has been completed and the diagnosis has been made, our osteopaths can then decide as to whether osteopathic treatment is appropriate and if so, what osteopathic approach is indicated. Sometimes, depending upon what is diagnosed, a referral to another healthcare practitioner may be deemed to be in your best interest.

There are many different osteopathic techniques or treatment modalities that may be used. Some resemble massage and stretching, while others require patient participation. Some techniques are very light in touch, where others are more forceful. All techniques are specific to the patient and the condition. Osteopathic treatment is modified and tailored to each individual patient's needs and capabilities.

What to expect after osteopathic treatment?

Many people feel very relaxed and even sleepy during and after an osteopathic treatment session. Most patients notice improvement in their condition soon after treatment (for example within a day or two). Rates of improvement from treatment vary from person to person and can be affected by many factors. These include the severity of the problem, the length of time it has been present, a person's age and pre-existing state of physical health. Our osteopaths will discuss with you your likely rate of improvement during the consultation.

Occasionally, particularly if the treatment has been slightly stronger or sometimes after the first treatment session, some patients may feel slight soreness. This soreness is comparable to that experienced after doing unaccustomed exercise. This soreness usually disappears in a day or two. This effect more commonly occurs in those people who are not as flexible as they should be for their age and in those who are inactive or who exercise very little. As the underlying problem improves, soreness is not normally experienced.

Our osteopath's qualifications and professional memberships

Our osteopath has undergone a four year full time course of training and education at a recognised and approved osteopathic college.

He is registered with The General Osteopathic Council (osteopaths' governing and disciplinary body that is regulated by the government) and has exemplary professional conduct and competence records.

We have full public, professional and personal indemnity insurance.

To find out more about our osteopath, Alan Szmelskyj, please click here.

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