Frequently asked questions & answers for Osteopathy in Colchester

Here are some F Q & A that may help you before you see one of our Osteopaths here at our Colchester clinic. If there is anything else you need to know please contact us.

Do I need a GP referral to see an Osteopath?

You do not need a referral to see an osteopath. Osteopaths are primary healthcare practitioners, meaning you can book an appointment directly without seeing a GP first.

What can I expect on my first visit to an Osteopath?

On your first visit to an osteopath, you can expect a thorough and comprehensive assessment to understand your health concerns and determine the appropriate treatment. Here’s what typically happens:

Medical History:

Discussion: The osteopath will ask about your medical history, including any past injuries, surgeries, chronic conditions, medications, and your general health and lifestyle.

Symptoms: You will discuss the specific issues or symptoms that brought you to seek osteopathic care, such as pain, discomfort, or mobility issues.


Physical Assessment: The osteopath will conduct a physical examination, which may include observing your posture, movement, and gait.

Palpation: Using their hands, the osteopath will palpate (feel) your muscles, joints, and tissues to identify areas of tension, restriction, or discomfort.

Range of Motion: They may ask you to perform specific movements to assess your range of motion and identify any limitations or pain points.

Diagnosis and Explanation:

Findings: The osteopath will explain their findings based on the history and examination.

Diagnosis: They may provide a diagnosis or, if further investigation is needed, suggest additional tests or referrals to other healthcare professionals.

Treatment Plan:

Customised Plan: The osteopath will develop a treatment plan tailored to your needs. This plan may include osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT), exercises, lifestyle advice, and sometimes dietary recommendations.

OMT Techniques: If appropriate, the osteopath may begin treatment during the first visit. Techniques can include soft tissue manipulation, joint articulation, stretching, and gentle pressure or resistance to improve mobility and reduce pain.

Advice and Education:

Self-Care: The osteopath may provide advice on posture, ergonomics, exercises, and stretches you can do at home to support your recovery.

Follow-Up: They will discuss the expected number of follow-up visits and what to expect in terms of progress and outcomes.

Questions and Concerns:

Open Communication: You will have the opportunity to ask any questions about your condition, the proposed treatment, and any other concerns you might have.

Tips for Your First Visit:

Wear Comfortable Clothing: You may be asked to move around or perform certain physical tasks.

Bring Medical Records: If you have relevant medical records, imaging reports, or a list of medications, bring them along.

Be Honest: Provide accurate information about your health history and symptoms to help the osteopath make an informed assessment.

Overall, the first visit is designed to establish a clear understanding of your health concerns and to begin a path towards improved health and well-being through osteopathic care.

How long do Osteopathic appointments last?

The length of osteopathic appointments can vary depending on several factors, including whether it is your first visit or a follow-up appointment. Here’s a general guide to what you can expect:

Initial Consultation: Typically lasts an hour.

Follow-Up Appointments: Usually last between 30 to 45 minutes.

How much does an Osteopathic appointment cost?

Initial Consultation:

Correct Osteo Clinc cost: £60

Follow-Up Appointments:

Correct Osteo Clinic cost: £50 – 30min, £60 – 45min.

Private Health Insurance: Most private health insurance plans cover osteopathic treatments. It’s advisable to check with your insurer regarding coverage details.

Can I see an Osteopath on the NHS?

Access to osteopathic treatment through the NHS (National Health Service) in the UK is limited and varies depending on the region and specific circumstances.

Limited Provision: Osteopathic treatment is not commonly available on the NHS. It is generally offered in specific cases where it is part of a broader treatment plan for musculoskeletal issues.

GP Referral: In areas where osteopathic treatment is available through the NHS, you will typically need a referral from your GP (general practitioner).

How to Access NHS Osteopathic Treatment

Referral to Specialist Clinics: In some cases, your GP may refer you to a specialist musculoskeletal clinic that offers osteopathic treatment as part of their services.

NHS Trusts and Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs): Availability can depend on the policies of local NHS trusts and CCGs, which decide on the services provided in their areas.

Private Treatment

Private Osteopaths: Due to the limited availability on the NHS, many people choose to see osteopaths privately. This allows for quicker access and often more tailored treatment.

Can I claim on my private medical insurance?

Yes, many private medical insurance policies in the UK cover osteopathic treatment, but the specifics can vary based on your individual plan and provider.

Do Osteopaths offer home visits?

Yes, at Correct Osteo Clinic we do have practitioners that will offer a home visit if needed and you are unable to travel to the clinic. Home visits can be especially beneficial for patients who have mobility issues, severe pain, or other conditions that make traveling to a clinic difficult.

How do I know if an Osteopath is registered?

To ensure that an osteopath is registered and qualified to practice in the UK, you can check their registration with the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC). The GOsC is the regulatory body responsible for maintaining the standards of osteopathic practice and ensuring public safety.

Can anyone call themselves an Osteopath?

In the UK, the title “osteopath” is protected by law, meaning that only individuals who are registered with the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC) can legally call themselves osteopaths. This regulation is enforced to ensure that all practicing osteopaths meet specific professional standards and provide safe and effective care.

What training do Osteopaths have?

Osteopaths undergo extensive training to ensure they are competent and capable of providing safe and effective treatment. In the UK, the training pathway for osteopaths typically involves the following steps:

Undergraduate Degree

Accredited Program: Prospective osteopaths must complete an accredited osteopathy degree program. These programs are typically offered by universities or osteopathic schools and are recognised by the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC).

The degree program usually lasts four to five years if taken full-time.

Curriculum: The curriculum includes a combination of theoretical and practical training:

Anatomy and Physiology: In-depth study of the human body’s structure and function.

Pathology: Understanding diseases and medical conditions.

Biomechanics: Study of body movement and mechanics.

Osteopathic Techniques: Training in various manual techniques used in osteopathy, such as manipulation, stretching, and massage.

Clinical Practice: Extensive hands-on training through supervised clinical placements where students treat real patients under the supervision of experienced osteopaths.

Research and Evidence-Based Practice: Training in research methods and the application of evidence-based practice in osteopathy.

Registration with the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC)

Graduation: Upon successful completion of the degree program, graduates must apply for registration with the GOsC.

Fitness to Practice: The GOsC assesses applicants’ fitness to practice, which includes verifying their education, professional conduct, and health status.

Registration: Once registered, osteopaths are legally permitted to practice and use the title “osteopath.”

Mandatory CPD: Registered osteopaths must engage in continuing professional development to maintain their registration. This ensures they stay current with the latest knowledge, skills, and developments in osteopathy.

CPD Requirements: The GOsC requires osteopaths to complete a certain number of CPD hours each year, which can include attending courses, workshops, conferences, and other educational activities.

Who is Osteopathy recommended for?

Osteopathy is recommended for a wide range of individuals and conditions, particularly those related to the musculoskeletal system. Here are some specific groups and conditions for which osteopathy can be beneficial:

Common Conditions Treated by Osteopaths

Back Pain and Sciatica:

Osteopaths can help relieve chronic or acute back pain, including lower back pain and sciatica, through manual therapy techniques.

Neck Pain and Headaches:

Osteopathic treatment can address neck pain and associated headaches by improving mobility and reducing muscle tension.

Joint Pain and Arthritis:

Osteopaths can assist in managing pain and improving the range of motion in joints affected by osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis.

Sports Injuries:

Osteopathy is beneficial for treating and rehabilitating sports injuries, including strains, sprains, and ligament injuries.

Postural Problems:

Osteopaths can help correct postural imbalances that cause pain or discomfort, often related to occupational or lifestyle factors.

Muscle Strains and Tendon Injuries:

Treatment can alleviate pain from muscle strains, tendonitis, and repetitive strain injuries.

Digestive Issues:

Some osteopaths specialize in visceral osteopathy, which can help with digestive problems like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) by improving the function of the organs through gentle manipulation.

Pregnancy-Related Issues:

Osteopathy can be beneficial for pregnant women experiencing back pain, pelvic pain, or other musculoskeletal issues related to pregnancy.

Infants and Children:

Pediatric osteopathy can help with issues such as colic, feeding difficulties, and developmental concerns in infants and young children.

Benefits of Osteopathy

Holistic Approach:

Osteopathy treats the body as a whole, addressing not just the symptoms but also the underlying causes of pain and dysfunction.

Non-Invasive Treatment:

It offers a non-invasive, drug-free approach to managing pain and improving overall health.

Personalised Care:

Treatments are tailored to the individual’s specific needs, taking into account their lifestyle, activities, and overall health.

Who Should Consider Osteopathy?

Individuals with Chronic Pain:

Those suffering from long-term pain conditions that have not responded well to other treatments may find relief through osteopathy.

People Seeking Preventative Care:

Osteopathy can be used to prevent injuries and maintain overall musculoskeletal health, especially for those in physically demanding jobs or athletes.

Patients Preferring Complementary Therapies:

Individuals looking for complementary or alternative treatment options to conventional medicine may choose osteopathy as part of their healthcare regimen.

When to Consult an Osteopath

Unresolved Pain: If you have persistent pain that hasn’t improved with other treatments.

Limited Mobility: If you experience stiffness or limited movement in any part of your body.

Recurring Injuries: For recurrent sports injuries or strains.

Postural Issues: If you notice poor posture or postural-related discomfort.

Pregnancy Discomfort: For pregnancy-related musculoskeletal issues.

Before starting treatment, it’s advisable to consult with an osteopath to discuss your symptoms and medical history to determine if osteopathy is suitable for you.

Does osteopathic treatment hurt?

Osteopathic treatment is generally designed to be gentle and non-invasive, but some patients might experience mild discomfort during or after the treatment. Here are some details about what you can expect regarding pain or discomfort during osteopathic treatment:

During the Treatment

Gentle Techniques: Osteopaths use a range of techniques, many of which are gentle and designed to minimize discomfort. These can include soft tissue massage, stretching, and light pressure.

Manipulation and Mobilisation: Some techniques, such as joint manipulation and mobilization, might involve quick, controlled movements. These are generally not painful, but you might feel a brief, mild discomfort.

Patient Communication: Osteopaths typically communicate with patients throughout the treatment, adjusting techniques to ensure the patient remains comfortable. It’s important to let your osteopath know if you feel any pain during the session.

After the Treatment

Mild Soreness: It’s common to experience mild soreness or achiness in the treated areas after a session, similar to what you might feel after exercising. This usually subsides within a day or two.

Temporary Discomfort: Some patients might experience temporary discomfort as their body adjusts to the treatment. This is generally short-lived and part of the healing process.

Managing Discomfort

Hydration and Rest: Drinking plenty of water and resting can help alleviate any post-treatment soreness.

Heat or Ice: Applying heat or ice packs to the affected area can help reduce soreness and inflammation.

Follow-Up: If you experience significant pain or discomfort that doesn’t improve, it’s important to contact your osteopath. They can provide advice or adjust your treatment plan as needed.

Factors Influencing Discomfort

Severity of Condition: The nature and severity of your condition can influence how you feel during and after treatment. Acute or severe issues might cause more discomfort during manipulation.

Individual Sensitivity: Each person’s pain threshold and sensitivity can vary, so experiences of discomfort can differ from one patient to another.

Osteopath’s Approach to Pain Management

Patient-Centered Care: Osteopaths focus on patient comfort and will modify techniques to suit individual needs. They aim to provide effective treatment while minimizing discomfort.

Gradual Progression: Treatments are often progressive, starting with gentler techniques and advancing as the patient’s condition improves and they become more accustomed to the treatment.

Communication is Key

Express Concerns: Always communicate openly with your osteopath about any concerns or discomfort you experience. This allows them to adjust the treatment and ensure it is as comfortable and effective as possible.

Feedback During Sessions: Providing real-time feedback during sessions helps the osteopath tailor the treatment to your comfort level.

How many osteopathic sessions do I need?

The number of osteopathy sessions required varies significantly depending on the individual and the specific condition being treated. Here are some factors that influence the number of sessions needed:

Factors Influencing Treatment Duration

Nature and Severity of the Condition:

Acute Conditions: Acute issues, such as a recent injury or strain, might resolve with a few sessions, often ranging from 3 to 6 treatments.

Chronic Conditions: Chronic or long-standing conditions, like arthritis or chronic back pain, may require more extended treatment over several months, potentially with maintenance sessions thereafter.

Patient’s Response to Treatment:

Individual Variation: Different people respond differently to treatment. Some may experience significant improvement quickly, while others may need more time.

Treatment Goals:

Symptom Relief vs. Long-Term Management: The number of sessions may vary depending on whether the goal is short-term relief of symptoms or long-term management and prevention of recurrence.

Lifestyle and Activities:

Activity Level: Patients with high physical demands or poor postural habits may require more sessions to address underlying issues and prevent re-injury.

Patient’s Health and Wellness:

Overall Health: General health, age, and presence of other medical conditions can influence the healing process and the number of sessions needed.

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Osteopathy works with the structure and function of the body, and is based on the principle that the well-being of an individual depends on the skeleton, muscles, ligaments, viscera and connective tissues functioning smoothly together Osteopathy takes a holistic, whole-body approach to healthcare.