How to Choose an Osteopath
So, you have some pain, it won’t seem to go away on it is stopping you go about your day. You’ve heard that an osteopath may be able to help so you have a look online and see there are quite a few in your area. How would you choose which one to go for? Will you get one who understands your problem and can help you achieve your goals? It can be difficult to decide who is the best fit for your particular situation but here’s some tips to help you make the correct choice.
1 – Are they actually an osteopath?
The term osteopath is protected by law, only someone who has met the stringent standards laid down by our statutory regulator (the General Osteopathic Council, GOsC) can call themselves an osteopath. The standards are comprised of education level (Masters degree level), professional standards and ongoing skill development. To find out if a person is actually an osteopath (and there are some out there who claim to be one but are not) is easy, the GOsC maintain a register of osteopaths which you can find here.
2 – The philosophy or focus of that particular osteopath
Osteopaths are a varied bunch, the style of techniques and skillsets can vary widely from one practitioner to another. The biggest difference is probably between ‘structural’ and ‘cranial’ osteopaths. Structural osteopaths would tend to approach people’s complaints by physical techniques designed to stretch muscles, mobilise joints and change movement patterns by hands on treatment and prescriptive exercise (which is what we do in case you were wondering). Cranial osteopathy is much more gentle and involves the ‘use a highly developed sense of touch to feel subtle changes of tension and tissue quality in the living anatomy of the whole body, and to diagnose areas of strain or dysfunction…..Diagnosis and treatment are intimately linked as the osteopath works to activate the innate ability of the body to heal itself, and by offering gentle and specific support where it is needed to bring the tissues into a state of balance and release, to restore it to health.’ (1). Before you choose an osteopath you may wish to find out how they treat to see if it is what you feel you need, and if indeed they treat the complaint you are experiencing.
3 – Recommendation/Feedback
A really good way of finding out if a particular osteopath is right for you is to ask your friends if they can recommend anyone, or if they have heard good things about a particular osteopath. About 2/3rds of our business comes through recommendation, and this is true of many osteopaths, so ask around. In lieu of a recommendation, have a hunt around online via social media or other sources for feedback relating to the osteopath, this is a great way to find out what kind of experience you will have if you choose them to help you (our feedback can be viewed here).
4 – Do they provide good service?
5 – Location/parking/logistics
Seems simple but can you get there? Can you park nearby (important if you are in a lot of pain)? Does the clinic have stairs or is it wheelchair accessible? All these things are important if you have limited mobility or are elderly and find accessing some buildings difficult.
Best advice we could give you is to get in contact with the clinic of your choice and see if you can speak to the osteopath you think might be your choice to help you, they should be able to help you decide if they are right for you and you are right for them (Our clinic promises to return any enquires the same day). This also affords you the opportunity to see if you have a rapport with them, which although is not crucial, it’s certainly better than not! Hopefully these points help you decide on the right osteopath for you!
Do you want to know what is causing your pain and if we can help? Why not take advantage of our new patient assessment introductory offer to get you started towards a tailor made recovery plan for only £19.
Are you in a lot of pain and want to get better as soon as possible? If so then why not book in for a new patient consultation, with treatment on the day, for £60.
We are also there to help you from home. Take a look at our suite of exercise resources and advice sheets which you can easily download and use from home.
1 – Sutherland Cranial College (2016). Available at; http://www.scco.ac/about-osteopathy/what-cranial-osteopathy/.