Questions:

What should I wear?  As with any medical examination, you will probably be asked to undress to your underwear, so please wear something you are comfortable in.  Patients generally like sports bras and cycling shorts as a preference.

Can I bring a friend or relative?  Yes you can have someone present throughout your consultation and treatment.  Michael is always happy to have anyone in with you.

Does it hurt?   It will vary from patient to patient as to the pain an individual will feel but treatment should not be excruciating as some new patients have come in expecting.  Some soft tissue treatment may cause discomfort during treatment dependant on the condition of the individual’s muscles.  Your osteopath will tell you what to expect, and must know if you are in more pain during a treatment.  You may feel aches, stiffness or soreness after treatment and occasionally in disc injury cases the pain may increase for a day or so after the treatment but this is an expected, normal and healthy response to the treatment.

Please remember an osteopath is acting as a catalyst, moving you from point A, which is pain, through point B the healing process, to point C which is your normal healthy state.  During this process if you where going to be in pain for example 6months the osteopath could potentially cut that time down to weeks or days.  Obvious on a case by case basis. Some pain in the healing process is normal, natural and expected.

Do I need to see my doctor first?  Most patients are self referred and do not need to see a doctor first.  However, some insurance companies require you to see your doctor first.  Osteopathy is available on the NHS in some areas and national NICE guidelines say it should be available everywhere for low back pain.  Unfortunately currently NHS provision is a post code lottery.  Please write to your local NHS provision manager or local MP in order to get what others are already receiving paid for by your taxes.  Michael will be willing to undertake NHS work when it becomes available in the area.

How many treatments will I need?  The number of treatments you need are dependant on a number of factors.  Your current condition, your activity, your working conditions, your current medical condition, lifestyle and the individual healing rate.  All osteopaths are legally and morally obliged to keep your appointments to a minimum.  However realistic expectations coupled with your own knowledge of your ability to recover from similar conditions should give you an idea of your own healing /recovery rate.  Your osteopath will be able to tell you during your first consultation whether they can treat you or if they need to refer you to a specialist for further investigation.  At the beginning of a course of treatment the osteopath will formulate a treatment plan which is agreed with the patient which is individually tailored and will rely on the patient following all advice and recommendations as well as following the course of treatment to the end.

Why has this happened to me?  It is impossible (other than in a direct trauma case where a patient has been seen before the trauma and directly after the trauma) to point at the smoking gun.  Very often minor things can trigger a problem.

Sadly we are all guilty of putting things off to the last minute or hoping a problem will ‘just go away’.  A favourite quote heard in practice in more extreme cases is ‘It always just sorted itself out before and went away on its own with painkillers’

Sadly the patient who says this particular favourite is often the patient who doesn’t really understand that nothing ever just goes away the body heals, scars and adapts to its user.  As with anything the better you care for a body the fewer problems it will give you in the future. A problem left is a problem multiplied for the future.  Often meaning the number of treatments for this patient will be greater than a patient who has come more regularly for other problems or small cases of this now larger problem.  Leaving the poor person with pain for longer, more treatment expense and poorer outcomes.

In an ideal world we would all work in ergonomically perfect offices, with regular breaks, never have to lift heavy or awkward objects at work or at home, never have sports injuries or sleep ‘funny’ but that is what your osteopath is here for, to help you live a full and pain free life.