Dr Jessica Sammut
9 Things you'll know once you've seen an Osteopath
If you've never seen an osteopath, it's easy to get confused about the differences between osteo/chiro/physio/massage, and think that it's all too complicated - I mean, are you even that tight anyway? Do you even need as treatment? But once you've seen your osteopath, here are 9 things that you'll know!
Osteopathy is not all about clicking bones
The Osteopath uses palpation, a highly developed sense of touch, to assess areas of weakness, tenderness, restriction or strain within your body and joints. There is a myth that Osteopaths will always “click” your joints back into place – but this is certainly not the case.
Once the examination is completed the Osteopath will arrive at a diagnosis and discuss your treatment plan moving forward. If joint clicking makes you nervous, communicate that with your osteopath! It's certainly not a necessary technique.
I do not have to spend the next 6 weeks visiting an Osteopath
Some patients only need one visit to see an osteopath and others may need longer. The length of treatment will be determined after the initial diagnosis examination. However it is in the Osteopaths interest to get you back to your normal level of mobility and comfort as soon as possible so they will develop the most effective and safe options for you.
Your rate of recovery will depend on several factors including your age, general health, sensitivity to treatment, activities in your life, and of course, the type of problem you have. On average, 3 to 4 treatments are usually sufficient to correct most problems that are amenable to osteopathic treatment and they often aren't in a row. The number of treatments required will be discussed with you after the diagnosis has been explained at your initial assessment.
I do not have to stay in bed due to my back pain
Evidence now suggests that resting completely can actually make back pain worse. Other treatments for short term back pain include staying positive, changing your sleeping position, exercise and lifestyle, reviewing your sitting position.
Exercise may still be on the agenda
Actually, regular exercise helps prevent back pain and in some cases we recommend an exercise program for people who have recently hurt their lower back, which includes gentle movements that gradually builds up. Have a read here about staying active while injured.
I wish I had seen an Osteopath sooner!
Most back pain is usually a result of mechanical or functional disturbance of the spine – problems that Osteopaths have been treating successfully for over 100 years. There is now a common recognition in the value of Osteopathy, with GPs recommending spinal manipulation and acupuncture, and referring patients, however, you do not need a GP referral to visit us and we can start treating you straight away after an initial consultation.
If I have back pain it does NOT mean I will always have it
A high percentage of people with back pain make a very good recovery with the right treatment and although there may be instances where the issue reoccurs later in life – these instances are not serious. Only a small percentage of people may develop long standing problems later in life. If anything, people tend to become more aware of the signs of tightness and are able to get on top of it before big flare ups.
Osteopathy does not hurt
The Osteopath will use the most suitable techniques for the patient and aims to make you as comfortable as possible at all times during the treatment. Some techniques can feel a bit uncomfortable or sore but are not designed to cause pain. If your tissues are tense and sore, it may be uncomfortable at first to have them stretched and relaxed, especially if they have been tense for a long time.
Some patients can feel some mild aching or a slightly "bruised" feeling after treatment, for the next 24-72hrs, but this is not unusual and therefore is nothing to worry about - in fact I often tell people that the first 3 days can be anyones guess how you'll adapt! But don't stress, it's normal!
I can go back to work after my appointment
Side effects are generally very rare after your appointment and many patients continue with their daily activities afterwards. You might experience some soreness or tiredness for a few days afterwards but this will subside quickly.
Ignoring my back pain for a long period of time was a big mistake
Generally, the longer you ignore your back pain the longer it will take to heal. As well as sometimes getting worse as time goes on, back pain may also affect your every day life and prohibit you from doing the things you enjoy such as exercise, gardening and family activities. It is in everyone’s best interest to address this as soon as possible.
So bite the bullet and get to Whole Health Osteopathy for a treatment!