Frequently Asked Questions

Thank you for visiting Osteopathy and therapy based in Gateshead / Newcastle and offering treatment to those throughout the North East of England. Here follows are the most common questions we have been asked regarding our osteopathic and massage service as well as questions we are frequently asked on osteopathic treatments and conditions for which osteopathy is a recognised treatment.

What is Osteopathy?

Osteopathy is a model of diagnosis and treatment used mainly in the UK for musculoskeletal conditions, largely affecting the neck and lower back. Hips, knees, elbows and other muscles and joints are also treated.

Osteopaths have excellent palpatory awareness which means they use their hands to detect changes to tissues and to treat conditions using a variety of soft tissue techniques, joint mobilisations, as well as fascial, lymphatic and vascular improvements to help improve healing in the body.

The outcome of an osteopathic treatment is to improve the structure of the body i.e. improving muscle condition and joint mobility, as well as allowing good blood flow and lymphatic drainage allowing the body to improve in function, heal from injury and strain and to reduce pain.

Does Osteopathic Treatment Actually Help?

Osteopathy is an evidence based approach to diagnosis and treatment for musculoskeletal conditions usually associated with the back and neck. This means that our treatments are guided by RCT’s which show that the techniques used can reduce the impact of pain and improve their health and wellbeing through seeking osteopathic treatment.

Do Normal People Need Chiropractic / Osteopathic Care?

This very much depends upon your definition of ‘normal.’

We can all benefit from osteopathic treatment when we have a diagnosable musculoskeletal problem such as back or neck pain. There are clients who come in for treatment in a preventative manner because the treatment helps them to manage their existing longer-term pain.

For example, if you are desk based, perhaps working in an office you may be more prone to shoulder and neck problems – meaning you may need help to maintain healthy muscles and joints.

Osteopaths always encourage their clients to make adjustments to their ergonomics or do exercises or stretches to help themselves too.

If I don't drink coffee, I get a headache, what should I do?

This is a caffeine withdrawal headache.
Either ride it out for a couple of days whilst you come off caffeine, have a cup of tea or take some paracetamol.

Which doctor do I go to if I have a pelvic tilt?

Firstly, you should see a professional who is trained and able to assess your full posture and the position of your pelvis in relation to the spine and your legs.

This could be an osteopath, chiropractor, or physio. This might be a totally normal part of your posture, or something that needs to be addressed with treatment and some exercises and lifestyle advice.

Which doctor should I visit for lower back pain?

Osteopaths are trained to diagnose and treat low back pain. There is a strong evidence base that along with exercise advice and increasing your mobility that you will have good results seeking osteopathic treatment.

What Does an Osteopath do?

Osteopaths are trained to diagnose and treat a whole range of musculoskeletal conditions.  They firstly assess through case history and thorough examination and follow up with treatment which is hands on and involves working on the muscles, joints and fascia.

What do people think about Osteopathic treatment?

I have heard from a fair number of my clients that they wished osteopathy was available on the NHS because they have been so happy with their treatment and have felt the NHS have not the time or resources to allocate to their back pain. Osteopathy has a high level of positive customer feedback based on studies.

Do you believe in holistic medicine?

Holistic medicine is especially important. People are becoming more aware that we can no longer assume a tablet will cure our ailments. We understand more that we need to look at our mental and emotional wellbeing if we are to make longer lasting changes and that we are responsible for our own choices in life.

What we eat, how much we move, making time for ourselves and to de-stress will all improve outcomes and prognosis for most health complaints.

How does a stand-up desk improve your health?

It is important to note that a stand-up desk should not be used constantly, and just like a seated desk you still need to move around at regular intervals.

For example, you may be likely to get circulatory problems such as varicose veins if you are standing still for long periods of time. Ideally you will alternate between sitting and standing with a good walk around the office every half an hour for good measure!v

What is the best way to stay healthy?

Eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly, have a healthy work-life balance, take a break when you need one and get rid of the stresses in your life! Often easier said than done we know, but we’re here to help.

My back always cracks when I stretch. Is this bad?

Not necessarily. If there is no pain associated with the cracking sound, then it is probably just tight muscles or tendons which can snap or crack as they move over each other or bony protuberances.

We do get more noisy bodies as we age as things like our work, our hobbies, our genes and how we use our bodies have a direct impact on how they adapt, age and function.

How do psychological factors affect physical health?

A lot of psychological conditions involve the stress response in our bodies being in overdrive for long periods of time. The stress response was perfectly designed to respond to a fight or flight situation. When we experience lower levels of stress such as deadlines, poor sleep, bad relationships etc – then the same hormones that might save our lives if we had to run from a charging lion, become a burden on our immune system.

This prevents healing from injuries occurring as quickly, and you are also more susceptible to common bugs and illness.

What are the signs of increasing metabolism / metabolic rate?

You may start to notice that you have more energy, that you are losing weight, and have more mental clarity. However, if your metabolic rate is rising due to a condition such as hyperthyroidism, then this would cause symptoms which are not so positive. Your sleep may be affected, you may become jittery or anxious, your hair may become dry and start to fall out.

You should see a medical doctor if you are experiencing some of these symptoms as a blood test will be able to tell you your thyroid hormone levels.

Is gluten-free a fad?

A gluten-free diet is important for those of us who have a condition call coeliacs disease, this is an auto-immune condition which cause the lining of the gut to inflame in response to gluten. It is a serious disease and can affect people’s wellbeing as well as their physical health.

There are also several people who are gluten intolerant. These people experience bloating and discomfort as well as diarrhoea or constipation in response to eating gluten, but they do not get the full immune response that coeliac patients get.

What are the treatments for fibromyalgia?

Treatment for fibromyalgia should be holistic. There are theories around its progression and onset which are explained by a hyperexcitability of the central nervous system, which means that they feel pain at a much lower threshold than the average person.

There is often a traumatic event around the onset of symptoms, and a high level of stress or anxiety associated with these patients. Sleep is often poor.

There is evidence to support that teaching these clients about why they experience pain from a low stimulation of tissue where there is no tissue damage/injury can reduce the amount of pain they experience. This must be done sensitively.

Stress and sleep management should also be discussed and worked on as this also reduces the hyperexcitability of the neurones within the central nervous system.

What is the public perception of Integrative Medicine?

In my opinion, once people become aware of what integrative medicine is, they are certainly pro. We are becoming more and more aware that a pill or tablet is rarely the answer to our health concerns. We must look at our bodies holistically.

The food we put into our bodies, the exercise, the supplements and the therapy or counselling we use is needed to heal the body as a whole – not just as a part of the whole.

How to treat back pain without drugs?

Back pain is best treated with movement introduced at an early stage of pain – within the limits of that person’s condition. Evidence supports movement as key to recovery.

If your back pain is severe or you need advice first, then see an osteopath who can diagnose you and advise you on the right exercises which would be most helpful to you.

Osteopathy can treat a range of disorders what are they?

Some disorders for which osteopathy is an effective treatment are listed on the home page (link). For further information please follow the following link.

Osteopath or chiropractor: Who Should You See?

Both Chiropractors and Osteopaths offer assessment and diagnosis and can treat the same array of musculoskeletal problems.

You may find that an osteopath will take into account and treat the muscular framework as well as focussing in on the spine, which is often the focus of a chiropractic adjustment.

Leg pain and osteopathy how can it help?

Leg pain can be the result of many things, including the actual muscles and joints which make up the leg. However, pain may also be referred from the lower back.

This means that the source of the pain is elsewhere and most often this is the lower back. If you are unsure, see your local osteopath to get a thorough assessment and diagnosis.

Do osteopaths go to medical school?

Osteopathy is a regulated profession in the UK and in the USA it is a branch of medicine.

Does osteopathy really work, or is it a placebo effect?

Osteopathy is supported by evidence-based practice. However, the placebo effect is not to be knocked.  Evidence also supports the placebo effect to be strong for pain medication and even surgical procedures.  

With osteopathic treatment adverse effects are minimal and rarely last longer than a day or so.  

What is musculoskeletal condition?

This is a change in the muscles, bones, joints, fascia, or other soft and connective tissue in the body usually causing pain or dysfunction

What are bone specialists or bone doctors called?

Specialist bone doctors are called Orthopaedic specialists and specialise in the joints as well as more serious conditions affecting bones and the musculoskeletal system.  

What is the best way to treat musculoskeletal disorders?

Most musculoskeletal disorders are best treated with a combination of hands on therapy, exercise prescription and movement.

Are monthly osteopathic appointments too much?

How often you see an osteopath will vary person to person. Some people require a higher or lower frequency of treatment depending on their jobs, activity levels, previous injuries, and general usage of their bodies.

What is Osteopathic Manipulation?

Osteopathic manipulation refers to the treatments offered by osteopaths. This Includes soft tissue techniques, joint mobilisations, and various other techniques.

What can an osteopath do for sciatica?

Firstly, establishing the cause of the sciatica is important. Sciatica is just a cluster of symptoms including referred pain and sensory changes in the lower limb. This may be from the spine or from the muscles in the buttock. Finding out where the sciatic nerve is getting impinged will determine your treatment.

Can an osteopath fix kyphosis or hunchback?

An osteopath can help you to determine why you have a kyphosis. Then treatment and exercises may be given to help you to try and change your posture. There are conditions where the kyphosis may be fixed in which case you may not see any improvement.

What are the best exercises for spine health?

Pilates is a great way to help support and mobilise the spine to enhance spinal health and to treat conditions causing pain from the spine and it’s musculature.

What causes neck pain?

Neck pain can emanate from the muscles, joints, or discs in the cervical spine. Usually our posture is the main cause for this, but other factors could be injuries or illnesses which cause stresses to strain on our neck.

What is the best treatment for Neck pain?

Depending on the cause, but usually manual techniques to reduce muscular tension and mobilise the joints, postural advice, and exercises to strengthen and stabilise the neck.

Thanks for reading. If you’d like to chat to a member of our friendly staff for advice or to make a booking then please click here.

Thanks for reading. If you’d like to chat to a member of our friendly
staff for advice or to make a booking then please click here.

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