Following from my previous post about reasons not to see an osteopath (here), it is only fair that I write about a few reasons TO see one of us!
Seen straight away
I have seen people that have experienced an episode of back pain that hadn’t been able to see their GP for another two weeks. As I have said in the last post MOST back pain is not serious and does not need further scans, tests, or surgery. However, it can be quite a miserable time and sometimes you just want the reassurance that the pain you have isn’t serious!
Osteopaths are fully trained to question and examine you and say whether they believe it is something that may need further investigation by your GP.
A survey of osteopathy patients found that 54% of new patients were seen within one working day, or 95% were seen within one week (General Osteopathic Council, 2006). We can often see you on the day that you ring or a day and time that suits you. This means you don’t have to rearrange your life to receive treatment! Our appointments vary from the morning to later in the evenings.
Longer appointment times
We have found that to ask the right questions and examine you properly takes time. Osteopathy appointments generally last longer than any other healthcare profession.
A few average appointment times are:
GPs – 10 minutes (Irving et al. 2017)
NHS Physiotherapists – 30 to 60 minutes (National Health Service North Devon)
Chiropractic – range from 15 minutes to 1 hour (General Chiropractic Council)
Osteopathy – first appointment generally lasts about 45 minutes to an hour (General Osteopathic Council, 2006).
At our clinic, we offer 40-minute appointments that include a case history, assessment, diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation exercises and goal setting. There may be occasions that if it is quite a complex issue, you or your osteopath may believe that up to an hour is needed. Feel free to contact us if you are unsure.
Everybody’s experience of pain is different and no two cases are the same. That’s why we believe that “person-centred” care is better than “condition-centred” care. In condition-centred care, everybody with the same generic diagnosis get the same treatment which results in an AVERAGE improvement!
We’ve found that some people may just need a couple hands-on treatments and some reassurance before they’re good to go. Others (often when the pain has been persistent/long term) may need a bit longer to get the improvements they want. This will include discussions about coping strategies and lifestyle changes (osteopathy isn’t just about the “click” you know!).
Although the sheet of exercises given to you in the past will be helpful and all that’s needed to help you get better, they don’t work for everybody. Often people come to me and say that the exercises are either aggravating, time consuming, ineffective, or worst of all BORING! This means they don’t get done and as the maxim goes “the best exercise is the one that get done”.
This means we must answer a few questions (you can do this now if you want!)
What activity is the pain stopping you from doing that you’d REALLY like to get back to doing?
What do you enjoy doing? (in the past/now/would like to try)
What activity are you worried about trying?
What habit or routine do you already have, that you could add an exercise to? (e.g. brushing your teeth in the morning)
The answer to these questions starts the process of working together to find the best way forward and the discovery of a specific beneficial exercise.
Often feel better straight away
80% of people who had visited an osteopath were either satisfied or very satisfied with their treatment (General Osteopathic Council, 2006). Personally, I have found that significant in-session improvements typically arise in acute cases, or very recent onset of pain. Especially in lower back pain where some patients have hobbled in but managed to walk out a little bit straighter and a lot happier! Unfortunately, this is not always the case and sometimes your body needs a little longer to adjust to the changes made in the appointment.
With this greater freedom of movement, you will be able to do what will really make the difference for your back – activity! Physical activity keeps the back muscles strong and teaches the body that movement is safe, turning the body’s alarm system down a few notches. This also means you can get back to doing what’s important to you – that be getting back to work, sports, or just playing in the garden with your grandchildren!
So, there we have it! Four reasons why an osteopathy appointment may suit you for you when pain comes knocking at the door. Any questions feel free to email or give us a call!
Irving G, Neves AL, Dambha-Miller H, et al International variations in primary care physician consultation time: a systematic review of 67 countries BMJ Open 2017;7:e017902. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2017-017902