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What is Osteopathy?
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  • What is Osteopathy?
  • General Information
  • All of You
  • Arthritis
  • Pain Relief
  • Work Strain
  • Driving
  • Pregnancy
What is Osteopathy?

Osteopathy focuses on the musculo-skeletal system (the bones, joints, muscles, ligaments and connective tissue) and the way in which this inter-relates with the body as a whole. It combines scientific knowledge of anatomy and physiology and clinical methods of investigation.

Malvern Osteopathic & Acupuncture ClinicOsteopaths diagnose and treat faults which occur because of injury, stress or perhaps disease, to enable the musculo-skeletal system to work as efficiently as possible, allowing the body to restore itself to normal function. A caring approach and attention to the individual is considered particularly important.

After treatment, an osteopath can advise on maintaining a realistic level of health and avoiding those things which might be damaging. For example, remedial exercises to adjust posture or advice on diet and lifestyle can be given as part of a personal

Osteopathy is a fully regulated profession which means that only practitioners who have been properly trained and are able to show that they have been in a safe and competent practice, are allowed onto the register and must abide by a strict code of ethics and practice.

Osteopathy is a primary care profession, focusing on the diagnosis, treatment, prevention and rehabilitation of musculoskeletal disorders, and the effects of these conditions on patients' general health.

Using many of the diagnostic procedures applied in conventional medical assessment, osteopaths seek to restore the optimal functioning of the body, where possible without the use of drugs or surgery.  Osteopathy is based on the principle that the body has the ability to heal, and osteopathic care focuses on strengthening the musculoskeletal systems to treat existing conditions and to prevent illness. 

Osteopaths' patient-centred approach to health and well-being means they consider symptoms in the context of the patient's full medical history, as well as their lifestyle and personal circumstances.  This holistic approach ensures that all treatment is tailored to the individual patient.

General Information

Statutory Recognition
For the last sixty years, osteopaths had worked within a system of voluntary regulation that set standards of training and practice.

In 1993, under the Osteopaths Act, osteopathy became the first complementary health care profession to be accorded statutory recognition. The General Osteopathic Council (GOsC) has been set up, which opened its statutory register of osteopaths in May 1998.

The GOsC is now responsible for regulating the osteopathic profession in the UK and also for promoting and developing osteopathy. It has been given powers by Parliament to set standards of education and conduct and to maintain a register of those entitled to practise osteopathy.

The Council has 24 members. Twelve members are osteopaths, eight are lay members, three are educationalists (appointed at present by the Privy Council) and one member is appointed directly by the Secretary of State.

Education and Training of Osteopaths
The GOsC has a legal duty to determine the Standard of Proficiency required for the competent and safe practice of osteopathy and ensure that qualifications awarded by any educational institution in osteopathy reach that Standard. From time to time the Standard will be reviewed, and may be varied, as the profession develops.

The Register
The GOsC has appointed a Registrar who has the responsibility for creating and maintaining a register of those entitled to practise osteopathy. From May 2000, only those entered on this register will be entitled to call themselves osteopaths. The first statutory register was published in April 1999 (and thereafter annually). A searchable listing of Registered Osteopaths is available on the GOsC's internet site: www.osteopathy.org.uk

Members of the public can also obtain up-to-date details of an osteopath's registration or general information on osteopaths practising in a particular location by telephoning the Osteopathic Information Service on 020 7357 6655

Osteopaths currently in practice, in order to be entered on the register, must satisfy the Registrar that they are of good character and health and must provide evidence of having practised osteopathy lawfully, safely and competently.

Thereafter, from May 2000, entry to the register can only be achieved by obtaining a qualification in osteopathy recognised by the GOsC (and satisfying the Registrar as to good health and character).

At all times, Registered Osteopaths must follow high standards of professional conduct and behaviour and will commit to a programme of continuing professional development. Standards of Conduct for osteopaths are set out in the Code of Practice 'Pursuing Excellence'.

Fitness to Practice
The GOsC has legal powers to consider cases where it is alleged that an osteopath:

  • Has been guilty of unacceptable conduct
  • Has been guilty of professional incompetence
  • Has been convicted of a criminal offence
  • Is unable to practise properly as an osteopath because of a physical or mental condition.

The GOsC's duty is to protect the public and maintain the reputation of the profession. In the most serious cases of misconduct or incompetence, where the allegation can be successfully proved, the osteopath's name can be struck off the register, or he or she can be suspended, or conditions may be imposed on practising.

In other instances, complaints can be resolved through informal conciliation, or an osteopath can be given advice or training so as to prevent similar problems or misunderstandings arising in the future.

However, the GOsC does not have the power to order an osteopath to compensate a client, or to pay a fine. Allegations of negligence should be made to the osteopath concerned, and his insurer. Every registered osteopath in practice must, by law, carry professional indemnity insurance.

Osteopaths are always happy to explain the nature of any treatment proposed or given. If you have any worries or concerns, please talk them through with him or her in the first instance.

All of You

Osteopathy is a safe and natural approach to health care. Patients may be treated for health problems from the trauma of birth to the arthritis of the elderly, from the cradle to the rocking chair. Britain's osteopaths see over five million patients every year. Most practise privately at their own clinics. Increasingly, too, they are working within the NHS to make osteopathy more widely available.

Malvern Osteopathic & Acupuncture ClinicWhat is Osteopathy?
Osteopathy focuses on the musculo-skeletal system (the bones, joints, muscles, ligaments and connective tissue) and the way in which this inter-relates with the body as a whole. It combines scientific knowledge of anatomy and physiology and clinical methods of investigation.

Osteopaths diagnose and treat faults which occur because of injury, stress or perhaps disease, to enable the musculo-skeletal system to work as efficiently as possible, allowing the body to restore itself to normal function. A caring approach and attention to the individual is considered particularly important.

After treatment, an osteopath can advise on maintaining a realistic level of health and avoiding those things which might be damaging. For example, remedial exercises to adjust posture or advice on diet and lifestyle can be given as part of a personal health care programme.

What about Treatment?
Instead of drugs, osteopaths use their hands both to discover the underlying causes of pain and to carry out treatment using a variety of manipulative techniques. These may include soft tissue stretching, rhythmic passive joint movements or high velocity thrust techniques to improve the range of movement of a joint. Gentle release techniques are often used, particularly when treating children or elderly patients.

What do Osteopaths Treat?
Malvern Osteopathic & Acupuncture ClinicA recent survey of osteopathic practices underlined the wide range of patients treated.

Half suffer low back trouble - Most back pains result from mechanical disturbances of the spine - postural strains, joint derangements and spinal disc injuries. Osteopathy, with its comprehensive approach to health care, is a particularly successful approach to treatment.

Over half are women - Many women are working mothers and both aspects of their lives can give rise to problems, from the perennial headache to severe musculo-skeletal disorders. Many headaches originate from stiffness and tension in the neck and osteopathic treatment can often bring relief. Pregnancy can put a strain on the low back and osteopathic treatment can help the body to adjust.

A quarter are in their forties - Many patients are losing fitness at this stage in their lives and are more prone to injury. Osteopaths consider all the factors, examining posture and the strength and flexibility of muscles, ligaments and tendons. Treatment is designed to alleviate current problems and to help prevent recurrences.

Many are elderly - Painkillers are not the only solution for the aches and pains associated with ageing. For more permanent relief it is necessary to eliminate the underlying causes of pain, a job for which the osteopath is specifically trained. Osteopathy can also help in reducing pain and stiffness in the less acute stages of arthritis.

Many problems relate to work - Work, whether it be at a computer terminal or in heavy industry, can give rise to disorders of the muscles, tendons and joints, particularly in the back, hands and arms. Osteopaths treat many conditions relating to the workplace and can give remedial advice and preventative exercise.

Visiting an Osteopath
When you visit an osteopath for the first time a full medical history will be taken and you will be given an examination. You will normally be asked to remove some of your clothing and to perform a simple series of movements so that the mobility of your body can be evaluated. Any points of weakness, excessive strain or specific injury will be identified. This musculo-skeletal assessment will be considered alongside lifestyle factors such as work and leisure activities to enable a full diagnosis and suitable treatment plan to be determined.

What about Training?
Osteopathy is moving rapidly to becoming an all-graduate profession. Training is demanding and lengthy. Osteopaths study anatomy, physiology, pathological processes, biomechanics and clinical methods. They learn about the interpretation of clinical tests and imaging and also study relevant areas of psychology and sociology. Qualified osteopaths have an academic qualification indicated by DO (Diploma of Osteopathy) or BSc (Ost) after their names. Medical doctors who have trained in osteopathy at the London College of Osteopathic Medicine use the designation MLCOM.

Arthritis

A large amount of our time at the Malvern Osteopathic and Acupuncture Clinic is spent in dealing with the pain and suffering caused to patients as a result of arthritis.

Many people mistakenly assume that arthritis is untreatable and that they must learn to live with their symptoms.

In many cases, we help considerably to relieve the pain and improve the quality of life for arthritis sufferers.

Why Osteopathy?
Malvern Osteopathic & Acupuncture Clinic - Arthritis

At the clinic we may well require x-rays, blood tests or even MRI scans to assess the extent of your condition. If we felt these were indicated we would make the necessary arrangements.

There are many popular misconceptions about arthritis. For example:

  • Degenerative change on x-rays means that nothing can be done
  • My doctor says all I can do is to take pain killers or anti-inflammatories

Nobody can reverse the changes which have taken place but osteopathic treatment can do so much to reduce pain, ease swelling and improve mobility and range of joint movement.

 

You don't have to live with any of these: Neck pain; Pain; Low back pain; Swelling; Hip pain; Lack of mobility; Early morning stiffness

Treatment
Our treatment is aimed at improving mobility and reducing inflammatory processes by using gentle, manual osteopathic techniques on joints, muscles and ligaments.

You will be given positive advice related to your lifestyle about how you use your body. Age is no barrier to osteopathy since each patient is considered individually.

Exercises to do at home may also be prescribed to improve the way joints work, even though they may be worn, and to reduce muscle spasm. Exercise in warm water or salt baths may also be recommended.

Osteopathy is not a cure-all and there are times when surgery may be necessary - such as hip replacement when you will be referred to a specialist via your GP. However osteopathy can help with rehabilitation after surgery.

Visiting an Osteopath
When you visit the Malvern Osteopathic and Acupuncture Clinic for the first time a full medical history will be taken and you will be given an examination.

You will normally be asked to remove some of your clothing and to perform a simple series of movements so that the mobility of your body can be evaluated. Any points of weakness, excessive strain or specific injury will be identified.

This musculo-skeletal assessment will be considered alongside your lifestyle - your work and leisure activities - to enable a full diagnosis and suitable treatment plan to be determined which is specific to you.

Remember

  • Osteopaths treat patients with arthritis every day.
  • You may not have to put up with your pain.
  • Osteopaths can help you with treatment and advise on self-help.
  • Osteopaths are highly skilled practitioners.
Pain Relief

At Malvern Osteopathic and Acupuncture Clinic we spend most of our working lives dealing with pain - from the legacy of the many untreated sports and work-related injuries to the arthritis of the elderly. Our role is to alleviate pain, to improve mobility and to make patients' lives more comfortable.

What is Pain?
Malvern Osteopathic & Acupuncture Clinic - Pain ReliefPain is a warning signal that something is wrong. It is the body's natural defence mechanism to alert you to a problem but also it is there to stop you. Look upon it as a red traffic light.

We can diagnose the cause of pain and can do a great deal to help reduce the level of your pain and suffering.

But what directly causes pain? More often than not it is the result of localised swelling of tissue which creates pressure on nerves.

Why an Osteopath?
At the Clinic we can help to reduce inflamed tissues by a number of methods ranging from massage of soft tissues, manipulation ultra-sound and TENS.

This helps to reduce muscle spasm and increase mobility, helping to create a normal anatomical environment in which damaged tissues can heal.

Much long-term, chronic pain is caused by degenerative changes to the body's framework. Nobody can reverse the changes which have taken place. However, osteopathic treatment using gentle, manual techniques on joints, muscles and ligaments may often ease pain, reduce swelling and improve the mobility and range of joint movement.

Britain's 2600 osteopaths are handy people to know, as their 5,000,000 patients a year would agree. Pain control is an important part of treatment and osteopaths give guidance on simple self-help methods to use at home.

Your Pain
You don't have to live with any of these: Low Back Pain; Rheumatic Pain; Leg Pain; Neck Pain; Pain From Injury; Sports Injury; Headaches; Arthritic Pain; Period Pain; Joint Pain; Joint Stiffness

The skilled techniques of our Clinic can allow you a speedy return to normal activity. Treatment is aimed to reduce pain, discomfort and allow relief from your symptoms. There are times when it is wise for you to take medication as well as receiving osteopathic treatment. We frequently work in close co-operation with your doctor.

Remember

  • Osteopaths are skilled health professionals
  • Osteopaths deal with pain every day
  • UK osteopaths treat 5 million people every year who are suffering from pain
  • Osteopaths can help you both with treatment and self help
  • Osteopaths treat acute pain
  • Osteopaths treat chronic pain
Work Strain

Occupational injuries account for many of the 350 million working days a year lost in Britain.

Malvern Osteopathic & Acupuncture Clinic - Work StrainAt Malvern Osteopathic and Acupuncture Clinic we are skilled at discovering underlying causes of pain. We are trained to have a thorough understanding of anatomy and physiology, using our hands to investigate and treat injuries to the ligaments, muscles and joints.

Poor posture can contribute to daily aches and pains whether you lift heavy loads, sit at the PC incorrectly or drive for long periods. We can advise on correct posture and movement and can give instruction on back care and preventative exercises.

Common problems
Significant types of illnesses due to work are disorders of the muscles, tendons and joints (particularly in the back, hands and arms). Symptoms vary from mild aches and pains to severe pain and disability:

  • Caused by manual handling and lifting:
    • Muscle and tendon injuries
    • Intervertebral disc lesions ('slipped disc')
    • Sciatica
  • Caused by forceful or repetitive movements
    • Carpal tunnel syndromes
    • Tenosynovitis
    • Peritendinitis
    • Epicondylitis (eg 'tennis elbow')
    • Mouse wrist
  • Caused by unsuitable posture or repetitive movements Low back pain
    • Neck and shoulder pain
    • Computer hump
    • Repetitive Strain Injury

For The Employer
For years, a number of large companies have retained osteopaths as part of their permanent company health teams. Many smaller companies have also benefited from liaison with their local osteopaths.

Having an osteopath involved in your staff care programmes can lead to a fitter workforce and improved morale, increased productivity and less time off through ill-health.

For The Employee
Many private health insurance schemes now cover osteopathic treatment (discuss the details with your company).

You do not need to consult your GP before you visit an osteopath although you may choose to do so.

Osteopaths can provide you with a sick note if you need time off work.

Your Osteopath Needs to Know
To reach a full diagnosis, we will need to know about your job:

  • Is your work repetitive?
  • Do you have much heavy lifting?
  • Do you have to bend frequently?
  • Do you have to work in an awkward posture?
  • Does your work involve frequent finger, hand or arm movements?
  • Do you have any work breaks?
  • Are you working in bad light conditions?
  • Do you sit down at work and for how long?
  • Do you spend a great deal of your day on the telephone?
  • Are you expected to work to deadlines?
  • Of the tasks you perform, which cause you the most discomfort?
  • What is your working relationship with peers and employers?
Driving

Whether driving your car to work, driving a bus, or lorry for a living or even as a passenger, you could be a prey to back pain.

In many cases osteopathy can help to reduce pain and your practitioner can offer advice on back pain management, including simple exercises, to prevent problems in the future.

Driver or Passenger - Keep Moving
It's not just the driver who can stiffen in a car. Passengers are often seated for long periods of time in a fixed position. Movement is the key for car, driver and passenger. As a passenger, try to alter your position from time to time and sit with your knees bent and thighs level and comfortable. Avoid sitting with your legs crossed; move them regularly. For driver and passengers, stop regularly especially when feeling tired. Get out of your vehicle and walk around it several times. Stretch like a cat, gently moving your arms around, bringing your knees up to your hips, and stretching your whole body.

Back Pain Sufferers

  • Choose a car with an adjustable lumbar support (and use it).
  • Choose a car with a higher kerb height to make getting in and out less stressful on the spine.
  • Depressing the clutch increases intradiscal pressure so choose an automatic to avoid this.
  • Power steering also significantly reduces the load on the spine.

Driving Can Give You: Neck pain; Elbow pain; Hip pain; Headaches; Stiff neck; Knee pain; Shoulder pain; Back pain; Foot and ankle pain; Wrist pain; "Bottom ache".

Is the Car the Right Fit for You?
Sometimes, the design of the car itself can lead to back problems. If you have to drive long distances, particularly, check out the cabin and layout of the controls with the following tests:

The Praying Test
The driver places both hands together, pointing outwards. If the steering wheel is not offset then the driver should be pointing straight at the centre of the wheel. The danger of having an offset wheel is that most drivers tend to rotate the middle of the spine to compensate for its position.

The Fist Test
With the seat in the normal driving position make a fist with the left hand keeping the thumb to the side of the index finger. It should be possible to insert the fist on the crown of the head. If it is only just possible to insert the flat of the hand between the roof and the head then there is insufficient headroom. The danger of having too little headroom is that the driver may compensate for the lack of height by slouching in the seat, which puts a strain on the spine and thighs.

The Look Down Test
With both hands placed evenly on the steering wheel look down at the legs. It should be possible to see equal amounts of both legs between the arms. Frequently the left leg will be visible but the right leg will be obscured by the right arm, which may indicate that the shoulder girdle is rotated to the left in relation to the pelvis.

The Right Leg Test
This test should be performed after driving the car for a short while. Once again, look down and examine the position of the right leg. Is it elevated above the level of the left or has it fallen out towards the edge of the seat? Is the right foot roughly in line with the thigh as it should be, or has it had to come across towards the centre of the car?

If the car can pass these four simple tests then there is a good chance that it is suitable for the particular driver. By using these tests a prospective buyer can make an informed choice of car and hopefully avoid "driver's backpain".

Position

  • Car seats can be moved to suit your posture but make sure that you always.
  • Keep your seat reasonably upright, leaning at only a slight angle.
  • Keep headrest adjusted so that the centre of the headrest is level with your eyes. This prevents serious whiplash injury in the event of an accident. Don't set the headrest too low as this can exacerbate injury in an accident.
  • When getting in, sit and swing your legs into the car. When you get out move the seat back to help.
  • Do you 'ride the clutch', resting your foot in the air? No wonder your ankles or calf muscles hurt.
  • Avoid resting your elbow on the window especially in a draught, which is a sure way of getting a stiff neck.
  • To relax, raise your shoulders to your ears breathing in, then lower them as you breath out. Do this at every red traffic light, or major junction.
  • Avoid reaching behind to get bags from the rear seat. Don't be lazy. Get out and open the door.
  • Be careful when loading and unloading. Lift correctly.
  • Avoid lifting unnecessary weights. Get help to change a tyre.
  • Sit with arms gently bent at the elbow to the wheel and don't lean forward out of the seat

Remember
Prevention is better than cure. Sit properly, drive relaxed.

At the Malvern Osteopathic and Acupuncture Clinic we can advise on posture. We treat neck and back pain - and a great many other things as well. If you are unlucky enough to be involved in a road accident osteopathy can help relieve the pain of injury, especially whiplash-type injuries.

Drive Safely!

Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a time when women are most aware of the workings of their body. It is the largest postural change that a woman's body will undergo.

For many years, osteopaths have used their skills to help relieve the aches and pains caused by weight and posture changes during and after pregnancy.

For many women pregnancy means having to cope with a whole range of symptoms from back pain to morning sickness.

As the baby grows in the womb, its extra weight results in a changed centre of gravity and posture changes from week to week. This often leads to back and leg pain.

As breast weight increases, this also causes changes and pain may occur in the upper back and neck.

Why Osteopathy
At the Malvern Osteopathic and Acupuncture Clinic treatment through pregnancy can help the body adapt to the changes which are taking place.

The safety of mother and baby is our first concern. After a thorough assessment, gentle osteopathic treatment may help to relieve the aches and pains caused by growth in size of the baby and the accommodation of the mother to this.

Advice from us can help you to change your posture and learn to use your body correctly through pregnancy.

At the Clinic we can also help to ease other side effects of pregnancy such as heartburn, indigestion, constipation and sciatic pain. Some patients too report reduced morning sickness after osteopathic treatment.

Relief From

  • Low back and leg pain
  • Neck and shoulder pain
  • Discomfort around the thorax and indigestion
  • Wrist pain
  • Post natal problems of the coccyx

Osteopathic treatment during pregnancy is not new. For many years, osteopaths have used their skills to help, employing gentle rhythmic relaxation and soft tissue techniques to ease supporting muscles and ligaments.

Every pregnancy is 'special'. We focus on the mother as a person and take account of her emotional state and other factors as well as her physical condition.

Treatment may be supplemented by exercises and other forms of self help which the osteopath may prescribe for the mother to do at home.

We can advise on positions in labour to help prevent back problems later. Pain relief techniques can also be shown to the mother and her partner or friend so that they can help during labour.

After delivery it is advised that mother and child return for structural examination, advice and check ups and, if necessary, for treatment.

Useful Tips

  • Look after your back during pregnancy. Take particular care when lifting and carrying - especially lifting other children or carrying shopping. Do not carry a small child on one hip for any length of time. Ask your osteopath for simple back stretching exercises.
  • If you stand for any length of time, keep your bottom 'tucked in' to reduce the curvature of the lower part of your spine.
  • When sitting, use a cushion for support and don't sit with your legs crossed. Avoid twisting movements. These may cause torsional strain within the pelvis.
  • Lying on your side in bed, place a pillow under 'the bump' to provide support and also put a pillow between your knees to prevent back strain.
  • If you prefer to lie on your back, place pillows beneath your knees to keep them bent.
  • Buy a pram with handles at a comfortable height for you.

Remember

  • Osteopaths are skilled practitioners
  • Osteopaths deal with pain every day
  • Osteopaths can advise on good posture
  • Osteopaths may help to relieve back and leg pain in pregnancy
  • Osteopaths can advise on pain relief during labour
  • Return for advice and a check-up after deliver