Osteopathy

Are you in pain?

Are you fed up with not being able to lift your bags, children or grandchildren? Feeling cross because you’re in too much pain to walk the dog? Guilt bothering you because colleagues are having to do your work while you’re off?

Osteopaths know all about pain. And we treat more than just backs. From toes to fingers, knees to wrists, we are trained to treat the whole body. The majority of our patients come to us for back pain, but look at the list. If pain is messing up your life you need to talk to us.

Whether you are 2 days old or 99 years old there are likely to be things we can do to get you back on your feet. Our mission is to stop your pain and we genuinely care about getting you back to health.

Claire Short Says:

“We don’t just click backs! We work on muscles, ligaments, fascia, tendons…  in fact we look at the whole body!

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Frequently asked questions

What happens at the first appointment?

On your first visit to us a full medical case history will be taken.  We need to know all aspects of your health. We will ask about your previous injuries, surgery, illnesses, and we will want to know if you’re taking any medication. We will then ask you to perform a few simple movements so we can see what’s happening in the area that is injured, and in the areas around it. Unless we need further information about your condition we would normally treat you on your first appointment.

You will normally be asked to undress to your underwear so that we can assess what’s wrong, but if you don’t feel comfortable undressing, just tell us – we can work around that.  We want you to enjoy your treatment, so tell us what we can do to make that happen.

Andy says:  If you’re a bit nervous about coming why not book a Free Consultation first?  Come and meet us – we won’t put any pressure on you to have treatment.

What happens during treatment?

Once we’ve made a diagnosis, and we are satisfied that it is safe to treat you, we can use a variety of methods to fix your pain.  We might be famous for our clicking, but there are many other techniques we use. These include:

  • Mobilisation
  • Joint manipulation
  • Medical acupuncture
  • Exercise programmes
  • Taping of joints and injured muscles
  • Postural assessment and advice
  • Soft tissue technique
  • Cupping
  • Stretching  (All links)

We will explain what we are doing throughout your treatment to ensure you are happy with what we are doing. Decisions about treatment, here as in any other medical practice, are entirely yours. We will never use any technique or procedure on you without your consent; so you can ask questions at any time.

Most patients really enjoy treatment, have a look at our testimonials if you need reassurance. Take a look

Claire says:  I started studying osteopathy after being treated.  Treatment just feels so nice!

Is Osteopathy Safe?

If you want confirmation that osteopathy is safe, look no further: in 2013 we got an NHS contract for Northamptonshire to treat neck pain, back pain and neck-pain-related headaches on the NHS, which meant that GPs across Northamptonshire could refer patients to us.  Sadly this contract finished in 2016 due to NHS funding, but there wouldn’t have been a contract if the NHS didn’t think osteopathy worked. NICE, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence produced a document in 2016 called Low back pain and sciatica in over 16s: assessment and management.  This guideline states: Consider manual therapy (spinal manipulation, mobilisation or soft tissue techniques such as massage) for managing low back pain with or without sciatica, but only as part of a treatment package including exercise, with or without psychological therapy. And that’s exactly what we do! We always work out an exercise programme for patients because it’s important for you to have ways of managing your pain at home.  And we give you exercises you can incorporate into your day, not sheets and sheets of things you don’t have time to do. We also consider the fact that psychological problems such as stress, bereavement, work etc can have an effect on your pain.  We believe in treating the whole person.  If we think your recovery will be faster by seeing another osteopath, a different therapist, GP or consultant, we make that happen. The important thing is always that you get better.

What do you recommend? Here’s the link to the NICE guidelines on back pain.  I’m not going to say it’s a fun read, but if you like regulatory documents you’ll enjoy it! https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng59

Georgia says: Let us find the cause of your pain so we can fix it.

What does treatment feel like?

A lot of an osteopathic treatment is spend using techniques that feel like massage or joint wobbling.  It’s usually very comfortable and most patients really enjoy it.

Sometimes we manipulate (click) joints, and it might surprise you to know that this doesn’t normally hurt.  And we don’t have to click anything – if you don’t want us to do it there are lots of other techniques we can use.

Most of our patients say they really enjoy being treated. “I love going to Ashgrove!  Treatment feels great – like the best massage you’ve ever had, but better.”  S Allen

What is the clicking?

Clicking joints is just like clicking knuckles.  It’s not normally painful, nor even uncomfortable.  In an appointment lasting 20-25 minutes the clicking takes about 40 seconds, the rest of your appointment will be spent using other techniques such as:

  • Mobilisation
  • Joint manipulation
  • Medical acupuncture
  • Exercise programs
  • Taping of joints and injured muscles
  • Postural assessment and advice
  • Soft tissue technique
  • Cupping
  • Stretching

What makes the noise? We don’t actually know! There are many theories as to what causes the pop that happens when we click our fingers or a joint, but none of them is proven. The most commonly accepted theory is that the gapping of the joint causes a vacuum to pop. But we still don’t know if this is correct or not. Incidentally, you’ll find lots of websites telling you that the noise is definitely gas being released or ligaments popping – all of it is hypothetical.  The truth really is still that we don’t know!

Steven says: There is no evidence at all that clicking joints causes arthritis. So, if you’re scared about the clicking please be reassured that we do not have to click anything!  There are plenty of other techniques we can use to stop your pain. In fact, stopping pain is what we do best. If you want to know more, book a free 20 minute consultation with us, or call us and ask over the phone.   We’re always happy to talk about it.

Claire says: Clicking normally feels quite nice, but if you don’t want us to click you we don’t have to!

What should I wear?

It’s really helpful to us if we can see the area of the body that we are treating.   Normally we ask patients to undress to their underwear, but if you want to wear a T-shirt and shorts, or if you just don’t want to get undressed, that’s fine with us.  

And you can always bring pair of shorts and T-shirt with you to change into.

Ruth says:  Ladies, please don’t wear sports bras – they cover your spine and we can’t see what’s going on!

Can I claim on my insurance?

We are registered with almost all the private insurance companies. If you’re not sure how to claim on your insurance please do call us in advance and we can talk you through the process. The most important thing is that you need to check whether you need a GP referral before coming to us.  Most insurance companies don’t require a GP referral, but some do. Once you’ve got the Ok from your insurance company we ask that you pay us after each appointment and then claim the money back from your insurance company yourself.

Important: due to AXA PPP and Bupa being rather dictatorial about osteopathy and physiotherapy only Jo Jones is registered with either of them.

If you would like us to recommend an alternative insurance company please do talk to us when you come in for treatment.

Can I bring somebody with me?

Of course you can!   We are very happy for you to have somebody in the treatment room with you.  We are quite used to families coming together or parents bringing kids with them.

Incidentally, if we are treating children under the age of 16 we insist that a parent or guardian accompany them.  We also ask that if you’re bringing any children under the age of 16 that they join you in the treatment room and are not left to sit in the waiting room unaccompanied by an adult.

What is Osteopathy?

Osteopathy is based on mechanics.  It’s all about how the body moves, and what injuries occur when parts of it don’t move. Officially the definition is: Osteopathy is a system of diagnosis and treatment for a wide range of medical conditions. It 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 and connective tissues functioning smoothly together. The most important thing for you is that we look at the whole body and work to make it function well as one unit.  We don’t just look at the bit that hurts. For example: a tight hamstring might lead to the muscle shortening.  The shortened muscle could then tug on part of the pelvis it attaches on to.  This could cause the pelvis to be unable to move correctly and lead to restricted mobility in the lower back.  When the lower back gets stuck, it can cause changes in the upper back, which could result in problems in the neck!  So, the pain is in the neck, but the underlying issue might be the tight hamstring. Treatment, then, has to look at both, and the bits in between.

It isn’t enough just to treat the symptoms – you have to get to the root cause or the problem will keep coming back. And that’s what we do.

Ruth says:  It’s the detective work that makes osteopathy so interesting.  I want you to get better and stay better!

Is there any research to prove osteopathy works?

Everything we claim to treat on this website has been authorised by the Advertising Standards Agency. This means that there is research to prove that these conditions respond well to osteopathic treatment. To strengthen the evidence base for osteopathy the National Council for Osteopathic Research (NCOR) has the role of promoting research relating to osteopathic care and to share the results.  They’ve gathered far too much research to list it all here, but here’s the link if you want to read more: https://www.ncor.org.uk/research/#patients   The Council has recently researched patient expectations of osteopathic care, and the risk of side effects or harm and published this information on their website. The findings were that the majority of patients seeking osteopathic care were satisfied with their treatment, and serious side-effects are extremely rare.  Of course more research is always being carried out to investigate ways to increase the safety and quality of osteopathic patient care.

In the meantime we do our little bit.  Clinic owner, Claire Short has carried out some research into the use of a particular osteopathic technique on the neck vertebrae of 18 different species of animal (ranging in size from degus to alpacas).  She presented her findings at the first International Congress of Animal Osteopaths in Rome in 2012. Her research showed that the osteopathic technique we use for loosening up the neck is safe, improves mobility and reduces pain in animals.

Did you know that Claire has had an article published in The British Veterinary Nursing Journal (Volume 26, Issue 7 Pages 218–254). It’s about treating a rabbit called Sylvester! http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/wol1/doi/10.1111/j.2045-0648.2011.00063.x/full

Do I need an x-ray or scan?

As osteopaths we are trained to screen for medical conditions and will tell you if you need to see another health professional, such as your doctor or midwife.  We can also refer you for further investigations if necessary, and work closely with local spinal and orthopaedic consultants to ensure you get the best care.

Do I need to do anything special before bringing my baby for treatment?

We’re very used to treating babies and we keep toys in all the treatment rooms to help keep them entertained during treatment.  We are also very happy if you want to bring your own toys or books that they like to read with you.

For more information about baby treatments click here (link to Mother and Baby page)

Brooke says:  Treating babies is amazing – they’ve not been damaged by sitting at desks, driving cars or watching TV yet!

How long are the appointments?

Your first osteopathic appointment will be between 30 and 40 minutes. Follow-up appointments are about 20-30 minutes long.

Do I need a GP referral?

No, you don’t need a referral unless you have private healthcare and your provider requires you to have a referral.  Osteopaths are skilled in diagnostic techniques and trained to identify when a patient needs to be referred on to another healthcare professional. Similarly, GPs refer patients to osteopaths where they believe treatment would be beneficial. This integrated approach is increasingly common, and reinforces osteopathy’s position as a central part of a modern healthcare system.

So you can call us any time, or book online, without having to wait for a GP appointment. Although referral by a GP is not necessary, you are encouraged to keep your GP fully informed so that medical records are up-to-date.

If you have private medical insurance you need to check your cover as some companies specify that you have to have a GP referral.  

What training do osteopaths have and are they regulated?

It takes 4 or 5 years to train to be an osteopath.  Once qualified osteopaths are regulated by the General Osteopathic Council, and are classed as Primary Healthcare Practitioners.  This means we are regulated by law. The General Osteopathic Council was set up in 1999, after the Osteopaths Act of parliament was passed.  The council has the same status as the General Medical Council. As Primary Healthcare Practitioners we:

  • Provide preventive care and teach healthy lifestyle choices
  • Identify and treat common medical conditions
  • Assess the urgency of your medical problems and direct you to the best place for that care
  • Make referrals to medical specialists when necessary

All osteopaths must be registered with the General Osteopathic Council – it is illegal to call yourself an osteopath if you are not registered. After qualifying osteopaths have to do 30 hours a year continued professional development. The owners of the Ashgrove Clinic, Claire Short and Steven Bruce, also run the Academy of Physical Medicine, which provides postgraduate training for osteopaths and chiropractors around the world. This means that the osteopaths in the clinic attend courses with some of the most famous osteopaths and medical consultants in the world.  So you can be sure that our osteopaths are staying up-to-date and improving their technique beyond the requirements of the General Osteopathic Council.

Claire says:  Learning to be an osteopath is a long hard slog, but you end up with the best job in the world!

What’s the difference between osteopaths, chiropractors and physiotherapists?

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How many appointments will I need?

The number of appointments you need depends on what’s wrong with you, how you caused the injury and how long you’ve had it. It also depends on what you want to achieve. Some people come to us because they just want to get out of pain. Other people want to prevent the pain occurring again and want to find ways to maintain the mobility they have achieved through treatment.

Our aim is always to make the pain go away and stay away. In the clinic because our jobs are so physical we probably treat each other every 4-6 weeks.

Ruth says:  Some people like to come for maintenance appointments every few months because they feel so much better afterwards.

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