Can anyone call themselves an osteopath?
The title osteopath is protected by law, and only those included on the UK Statutory Register are entitled to practise as osteopaths. Unregistered practice is a criminal offence in the UK.
Can I claim on my private medical insurance?
Many private health insurance policies provide cover for osteopathic treatment. It may be possible to claim for a course of treatment but you should check in advance with your insurance company before seeking osteopathic treatment, in order to confirm the available level of cover and whether you will need to have a referral from your GP or a specialist.
Can I find out how long an osteopath has been practising?
The date an osteopath was first registered with the General Osteopathic Council can be seen in the Practitioner Details on our Register.
Do GPs refer their patients to osteopaths?
Yes. GPs refer patients to osteopaths where they believe this intervention would be beneficial. Referral guidelines are provided by the General Medical Council and British Medical Association.
Do I need a GP referral to see an osteopath?
Most patients self refer to an osteopath for treatment. Although referral by a GP is not necessary, patients are encouraged to keep both their GP and osteopath fully informed, so that their medical records are current and complete and the patient receives the best possible care from both healthcare practitioners.
How do I know if an osteopath is registered?
All osteopaths must be registered with the General Osteopathic Council. You can use our on-line Register to check if your health professional is currently registered.
How long do osteopathic appointments usually last?
In general, the first treatment lasts about 45 minutes, and subsequent treatments around half an hour. Your first appointment is usually slightly longer to allow for a full case history to be taken.
What can I expect on my first visit to an osteopath?
At the first consultation, the osteopath will compile a full case history of your symptoms, as well as asking for information about your lifestyle and diet. The osteopath may also observe you making some simple movements to help them make a diagnosis. You will usually be asked to remove some clothing near the area of the body to be examined.
Osteopaths are trained to examine areas of the body using a highly-developed sense of touch, known as palpation, to determine conditions and identify the bodys points of weakness or excessive strain. Osteopathy is a package of care that includes skilled mobilising and manipulative techniques, reinforced by guidance on diet and exercise.
The osteopath will discuss with you the most appropriate treatment plan, estimating the likely number of sessions needed to treat your condition effectively. If the osteopath thinks that your condition is unlikely to respond to osteopathic treatment, you will be advised about how to seek further care. Osteopaths are skilled in diagnostic techniques and trained to identify when a patient needs to be referred to a GP.
What do osteopaths treat?
Osteopathy focuses on the diagnosis, management, treatment and prevention of musculoskeletal and other related disorders without the use of drugs or surgery. Commonly treated conditions include back and neck pain, postural problems, sporting injuries, muscle and joint deterioration, restricted mobility and occupational ill-health.
What is osteopathy?
Osteopathy is a primary care profession, focusing on the diagnosis, treatment, prevention and rehabilitation of musculoskeletal disorders, and the effects of these conditions on patients general health.
Using many of the diagnostic procedures applied in conventional medical assessment, osteopaths seek to restore the optimal functioning of the body, where possible without the use of drugs or surgery. Osteopathy is based on the principle that the body has the ability to heal, and osteopathic care focuses on strengthening the musculoskeletal systems to treat existing conditions and to prevent illness.
Osteopaths patient-centred approach to health and well-being means they consider symptoms in the context of the patients full medical history, as well as their lifestyle and personal circumstances. This holistic approach ensures that all treatment is tailored to the individual patient.
What should I do if I have concerns about the osteopath or the treatment I have received?
All osteopaths are expected to have a complaints procedure in place in their practice to address patient concerns.
If you have concerns about the competence or the professional conduct of your osteopath, and you have been unable to resolve the issue satisfactorily with the osteopath, or their employer, the General Osteopathic Council will advise on the next steps to take under a formal complaints procedure.
Who sets the standards of training and practice for osteopaths?
The standards of osteopathic training and practice are maintained and developed by the General Osteopathic Council, the professions statutory regulator established under the Osteopaths Act 1993.