Firstly, a detailed case-history will be taken. As well as investigating the problem you have come for, this includes full medical history – any previous illnesses, accident, operations and so on. Your lifestyle – occupation, hobbies, sports, and so on, may also be relevant, as well as details of medication and diet which are included. Very rarely, it may be necessary to refer you to your GP at this point, if there are concerns that the presentation of your case may show some underlying problem you might not be aware of. Routine questioning can reveal the possibility of conditions that would not be safe to treat, such as raised blood pressure. Our Osteopaths can easily check blood pressure in the clinic, and if there are concerns they will explain and write a referral to your doctor.
Secondly, your osteopath will examine you. It is likely that you will be asked to undress to your underwear. This is so that any other parts of the body that may be adding to your problem can be identified. (And more effective treatment can be carried out, if this is the case.) Your osteopath will ask you to carry out various movements, in order to assess mobilty both actively (you doing the movement) and passively (your osteopath doing the movement for you). This helps to identify which tissues may be causing the problem. Additionally, your osteopath may carry out strength testing, orthopaedic and neurological testing if they need to. Occasionally, they may need to refer you to your GP for conventional medical tests, such as X-rays or blood tests, to ensure Osteopathic treatment is entirely safe to undertake.
At this point, your osteopath will explain their diagnosis and the treatment they think is best for you. You will be asked for your consent to the treatment, so if you don’t understand anything, it is very important to ask.
Treatment is usually carried out while you lie down, and involves a variety of manual techniques. These include massage and stretching of stiff muscles; articulation, which involves stretching of joints to increase their mobility by loosening muscles, ligaments and the tissues that directly support the joints; manipulation, in which your osteopath aplies a short, rapid movement to gap the joint, and free restrictions. You may hear a clicking, similar to knuckles being cracked, which is normal. Naturally, your treatment may consist of massage and stretch alone, or gentle articulation to help drain tissues of inflammation, when manipulation is not necessary.
Some osteopaths are trained to use specialist techniques, such as cranial Osteopathy, which can be very effective for infants and children (see Paediatric page); or acupuncture needling techniques which can be useful if you are in acute pain, and massage and articulation causes an increase in pain. Again, this will be explained to you, and you will be asked for your consent. If you are unhappy about it, your Osteopath has other techniques that are equally suitable.
At the end of your consultation your osteopath may prescribe exercises to help you maintain mobility and recover quicker. They may also recommend the use of hot or cold treatments you can carry out at home, or suggestions regarding activities that would be best avoided. You will have been given an idea of how many treatment may be necessary, and this is always re-examined at each subsequent treatment.
Do I need to be referred by my GP?
Whilst many GPs recommend Osteopathy, there is no requirement to be referred by your Doctor. The majority of our patients approach us directly. We will always contact your GP, with your permission, if we need results of previous conventional medical tests, such as X-Ray results.
Can I claim on my Private Health Insurance for my treatment?
Most private health schemes pay for Osteopathic treatment. In these cases we bill your insurer on your behalf, although some scheme have an excess, which means you may have to pay this amount directly to us. Some Insurers will reimburse the total fees, or pay a percentage. Contact the help line of your Insurer who will explain the actual benefits and how to claim on your policy.
Why should I choose you?
The Richards’ Centre has been open since 1985. We are in a central location, with excellent parking and transport links, with a bus stop at the entrance. Our reputation as a caring and professional environment has grown steadily, and 92% of our new patients are recommended by friends, Doctors, and other working professionals.
Excellent working relationship with GPs and Consultants.
A commitment to continued professional development with regular in-house meetings, in addition to courses run by the Osteopathic profession
Consultations/treatments are always 30 minutes, on a one-to-one basis.
We are a registered PPP clinic, and are accepted by all applicable private health insurers, including WPA, Aviva, Health Response etc.
Our Osteopathic treatments are ‘hands-on’, though we can use Ultrasound for acute tissues. Some of our Osteopaths occasionally use dry-needling acupuncture as an adjunct to treatment, as they find this very effective in reducing pain.
MasterCard, Visa, Maestro, Solo and Amex all accepted here.
Chiropody, Podiatry, Nail Surgery and Biomechanics also available.
We do not believe in having patients back unnecessarily.
What side-effects are there?
No two people react in the same way, but temporary effects that people experience after treatment range from feeling of well-being to a worsening of symptoms while the body is adjusting to the changes that have been brought about. The most common side-effect is an inflammatory response, but can also include:
Your osteopath will have given you advice to minimise these, and they should disappear within a day after treatment. You should always call if they persist or worsen.
How can I be sure I am in safe hands when I visit?
All our Osteopaths have completed a four-year course, resulting in their Degrees in Osteopathy, and have satisfied the General Osteopathic Council – the legal governing body – that they are safe and competent to practise Osteopathy. They abide by a stringent Code of Practice, which helps to ensure their safety in treating all ages. All attend regular professional development courses to ensure their skills are maintained.
What kind of problems can Osteopathy help?
Whilst back and neck pain are the most common problems seen, we treat every joint and muscle in the body – arms, legs, feet etc. Osteopathy can help with a wide variety of problems that affect the muscular-skeletal system – the body! There are pages here that give more detail of the treatment of sports injuries, babies and children, and maternity patients.
What happens if I need an MRI, Diagnostic Imaging or X-Ray?
Whilst our Osteopaths are fully trained to diagnose most conditions, occasionally they might want to refer you for further checks if they have concerns regarding underlying problems. This can either be referring you back to your doctor, or directly to one of our trusted imaging centres.