Osteopathy is a form of manual medicine developed in the late 1800’s by Dr Andrew Taylor Still. It helps to promote health by treating mechanical problems in the body, helping to strengthen the musculoskeletal system consisting of the joints, muscles, ligaments and spine. These have an effect on the function of the body, including the lymphatic, circulatory and nervous systems.

When health is compromised, symptoms and disease develops. Osteopathy is a holistic approach and therefore osteopaths seek to understand how and why a problem has occurred, not just treat the problematic area. They use a wide variety of manual techniques to help balance all body systems and provide good health to the body.

To aid in diagnosis, ostopaths listen to their patient’s history, observe their posture and movements and manually examine their joints and muscles. Sometimes scans or other investigations may be required, so referrals are made when necessary.

Osteopaths use a wide variety of treatment approaches, including deep tissue massage, stretching, joint articulation and manipulations to more subtle cranial techniques. Patients are also given advice on posture, home stretches or strengthening exercises to aid in management of their problem and help maintain health long term.

The wide range of osteopathic treatment approaches mean that it is a safe and effective treatment for patients of all ages and conditions. Specialist paediatric training also means that Gemma has the knowledge and experience to safely treat babies and children.

Gemma will listen and ask questions about the problem that you have attended the appointment for. It is useful leading up to your appointment to note if there is anything that can make your condition better or worse, if there is any daily pattern and to think about what may have caused it.

She will also take a full medical history; asking about previous operations and investigations, and discuss your work and lifestyle to gain an understanding of your general health and your bodies needs and demands. It is useful to bring along a copy of any prescription medication that you are taking and any reports of imaging that you may have had.

Following this, Gemma will then want to assess the issue. Depending on the area of concern, you may be asked to remove items of clothing to allow assessment to take place. If you are uncomfortable with this, you can wear sports shorts or small strap tops. Assessment will involve getting you to stand, perform various movements and observe your posture and muscle usage. Gemma will then manually assess the area of concern, looking at range of movement, muscle tone and joint positioning. She may also if appropriate perform neurological testing or specific orthopaedic tests.

Once a full examination has been performed, time will be taken to discuss the findings with you. This will give you an opportunity to understand what is happening with your body and then together form a tailor made treatment plan, to suit your individual needs and help you facilitate your body back to health. If treatment is not appropriate, Gemma will discuss why and give you advice about further steps that are required, such as a GP visit.

Treatment will involve hands on manipulation of the area, such as soft tissue massage, joint manipulation or articulation and stretching. Gemma will explain what she is doing and how this will benefit your issue. She will also give you advice to help you improve your issue at home and regain control of your health. This may be lifestyle advice, stretching or strengthening exercises or general wellbeing advice. This will ensure that your body maintains the changes we make during treatment and keep you healthy long term.

You are always welcome to bring a family member or friend along to your appointment.

All children under the age of 16 require an adult with legal parental responsibility to attend their appointment. Consultations for children are similar to first visits for adults. However, you will be asked more details in relation to pregnancy, their birth and their general development. Bringing along any medical reports or their red book can also be helpful.

As with adults, children may be asked to undress down to their underwear depending on the area of concern. Children can wear sports shorts or strap tops if they are more comfortable in these. Babies are always undressed down to their nappies for their first examination and their nappies may be briefly opened to assess hip creases. A full neonatal examination will be performed for babies, checking motors tone, reflexes and movement. For older children, they will be asked to perform movements to assess development and muscle tone and Gemma may perform examination to the area of concern.

Treatment can vary depending on the age of the child. For smaller children and babies, treatment will be gentle and may involve gentle stretching, gentle soft tissue massage and softer cranial techniques.For older children, joint articulation and muscle strengthening work may also be involved. You will also be given home exercises to help maintain the changes made during treatment.