Structural Osteopathy

Structural osteopathy is primarily aimed at treating the tissues that make up the structure of the body, such as the muscles, ligaments, joints and tendons. The body’s structure is evidently important in performing everyday functions such as, walking, running, working and all sports activities so is important it can function at its optimal capacity.

What to expect at my first structural osteopathic session

Communication

At the start of your first appointment, your osteopath will ask you questions about your medical history and lifestyle, as well as any symptoms you may be experiencing. This is very important as it will help them to make an accurate diagnosis and suggest appropriate treatment. It is natural to worry about what may be causing your symptoms and your osteopath will always discuss your concerns as part of your consultation.

Your osteopath will write down what you tell them in your records. These will be treated as confidential in accordance with standards of practice set out by the General Osteopathic Council and the Data Protection Act. If you wish, you may request a copy of your notes.
You are welcome to bring a chaperone with you to each of your appointments.

Examination

Your osteopath will need to examine the area(s) of your body causing discomfort. Sometimes the cause of the problem may be in a different area to the pain, (for example, pain in your lower arm may be linked to the nerves in your neck) so they may need to examine your whole body. You will be asked to stand, and perform some simple movements whilst your osteopath stands behind and then in front of you to observe how the problem area of your body is moving.
You will then be asked to sit or lie on the treatment plinth and your osteopath will need to feel for any tightness in the muscles and stiffness in the joints and may need to touch these areas to identify problems. They will explain what they are doing as they go along. If you are uncomfortable with any part of this, you have the right to ask them to stop at any stage, without prejudicing your future treatment.
If needed, further medical testing may be required such as neurological and orthopaedic testing. At the end of your examination your osteopath will discuss treatment options with you, to jointly decide upon an appropriate treatment plan you feel comfortable with. You are encouraged to ask as many questions as you like throughout the appointment.

Treatment

Your osteopath will make a diagnosis and discuss this and a course of treatment with you. As osteopathic care is based on the individual needs of the patient it varies depending on your age, fitness levels and diagnosis. Therefore, each treatment is tailor made to each individual patient. Your osteopath will use a wide range of gentle, hands on techniques that focus on releasing tension, stretching muscles and mobilising joints. We also offer Cranial Osteopathy, Dry Needling and Laser Therapy. Occasionally osteopathic techniques can result in an audible ‘click’, this is perfectly normal. Research has shown that manipulations can have beneficial effects, especially for back pain, helping you to return to ordinary movement and activity. The health risks associated with having osteopathic treatment are extremely low. If you have any concerns about your treatment, we encourage you to raise these with your osteopath who will be happy to discuss these with you.
Most osteopaths will begin your treatment at your first appointment, but sometimes we may require further tests to be conducted such as blood tests, x-rays or scans, to reach a diagnosis. So you may be referred to your GP or another appropriate health professional for further tests before we can treat you.

Advice

At the end of your treatment you will be offered advice on how to care for yourself, what exercises you can do at home and as you get better, helpful advice designed to help you relieve or manage your pain, and to keep active and maintain the best of health.

Can I bring a friend/partner?

You are more than welcome to bring a chaperone with you to any of your appointments. Please be aware that they will then hear what is being discussed, which includes your medical history.

How many treatments will I need?

Most adults need between 3 to 6 sessions usually on a weekly basis for the first 3 treatments. Treatments are then spread out according to how you are progressing. At East Sussex Osteopaths we endeavour to space your treatment sessions further apart as quickly as possible so you don’t spend money unnecessarily. However, we believe each patient is different and your osteopath will discuss with you a realistic recovery time and likely cost of your treatments and will ask for your consent to proceed. Please be aware that a long term problem may require more sessions and sometimes people like to have a ‘maintenance’ treatment every so often to reduce their likelihood of future problems.

Do I have to undress?

As with any healthcare appointment, it may be necessary for your osteopath to ask you to remove some clothing from the area being treated. This is so they can see and touch the areas of the body causing you concern. Your osteopath will want you to feel at ease, therefore it is not compulsory for you to undress and you are welcome to wear lose-fitting garments such as jogging trousers, shorts, t-shirts or vest tops so you feel comfortable.

You may wish to seek treatment from an osteopath of the same gender as yourself, at East Sussex Osteopaths we have male and female practitioners so please just mention this when you book an appointment with our receptionist. You are also welcome to ask a friend or relative to accompany you and be present throughout your appointment.

Does structural osteopathy hurt?

Osteopathic treatment is usually a very gentle process and osteopaths work very hard to make treatment as painless as possible, but you may experience some discomfort during and after treatment. Your osteopath will warn you if they think that the technique that they are about to use is likely to be uncomfortable and will stop if you tell them that you are feeling too much discomfort.
Following treatment, you may experience some mild soreness in the area of the body that was treated, this will normally resolve within 2-3 days. If you experience serious or unusual symptoms after treatment, you should contact your osteopath straight away for advice.

What can structural osteopathy treat?

My neck felt altogether more comfortable and I am now playing golf without any pain at all.

I have always loved and played sport. Alas due to the passing of time I now only play golf so the exercise I take on the golf course is very precious to me. I have suffered from time to time with neck and back problems and recently my back was causing quite sharp pain and was threatening to ruin my games of golf. When I visited Chantal she soon told me from where the pain was coming and I started the first of four treatments. After the four treatment sessions my neck felt altogether more comfortable and I am now playing golf without any pain at all. Chantal adopts a totally honest approach to her work. She advised me that at least four sessions of treatment would be needed and that after the sessions my neck area could be a little sore. Four sessions did the trick and I am now enjoying my golf again. I have no hesitation in recommending Chantal to sports enthusiasts or to anyone with neck problems.

Michael de St Croix