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Will they crack my back?!! What to expect from an Osteopath Consultation...



Over the years I have often heard many of my patients say, "I keep telling my partner/friend to come but they just won't make that initial appointment".

An initial osteopathic appointment can be extremely daunting for a novice.


Firstly you have the fear of what and how you might be moved around when you've been suffering in pain:

  • If it's acute back pain it's likely you've been unable to walk properly or possibly even get your pants on in the morning! Forget socks and shoes!

  • It may be the uncertainty in your ability to drive due to the lack of movement from a neck injury and the horrendous, acute pain that just randomly occurs.

  • Or maybe it's a recurring issue you've learnt to put up with over the months (or years!) and you're worried any intervention will simply stir things up.


Secondly, you've got the dreaded thought of having to be in your underwear!? AHH! How much will I have to take off? Will I be physically able to take them off? Will I be able to put them back ON?!!!


If that's not enough to put you off, many people I see are scared of the term, 'manipulation' and what that means. Will I hear a crack? what does that mean? Will it hurt?


So hopefully here I can clear some of the myths about osteopathic treatment and how we, as a profession, can help.....


MOST IMPORTANTLY, any experienced Osteopath will be used to ALL of these scenarios and more!

If you are in acute pain or movement restriction, treatment will be adapted and catered to your needs at that time. If you can't do a certain movement because the pain is just too unbearable or because you cannot move that way, we can work around this. There are ways to sooth the soft tissue and use movements that are possible to create the same result but within your comfort zone. We are not masochists! Honest!


When people are in great pain removing clothing only creates further discomfort and pain. In this situation I will only ask what is primarily needed, this may be just removing a top/shirt. However, if this isn't possible I have treated patients fully clothed providing I can be sure through examination of what is going on. I have had to help patients put their socks and shoes on, it happens.


If you are visiting in a non-acute state, observation of your posture and movement assessment will be ten times better if we can actually see your body. Remember we as Osteopaths are used to this, we are looking at what is restricted, if you move better one way than the other, not the make of your underwear or when you last shaved your legs!?? I have welcomed the use of shorts to some patients if they feel uncomfortable or a towel to cover whilst treating.

Please do inform your Osteopath if this is the case. I am aware of a handful of patients that feel this way, most often get more comfortable after they have been once.


Now.....the crack, 'Manipulation'!

The word itself doesn't sound inviting does it?! The term we were taught is High Velocity Low Amplitude Thrust. This means a quick, but minimal movement through the joint that has not been moving. The crack or pop comes from the release from the air vacuum formed from the gapping within the joint. This technique is actually highly effective used in a specific way. It is a form of mobilisation and used where there is a joint restriction. It frees the joint almost immediately. Occasionally this technique can feel uncomfortable for some people, however for most, it is relieving.

Do bear in mind this type of technique is not always required depending on what is causing the issue. In addition, you will always be informed if you don't like the idea of it or dislike the sound. It is your body and you need to feel at ease.



Back To Your Feet Osteopathy


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