Here at Hitchin Osteopathy I often get asked from patients, “What is osteopathy?” What is the difference between osteopathy, chiropractic and physiotherapy? Why should I see an osteopath in Hitchin when there are plenty of massage therapists, sports massage therapists and deep tissue massage therapists?
These are all great questions and in some cases there is no easy answer, in others, it might just be, “it depends”?
Prior to becoming as osteopath I was self employed mobile sports massage therapist working around Hitchin, Letchworth, Stevenage and the rest of North Hertfordshire. I used to get phone calls asking if I could help with all manner of conditions from the obvious muscle aches and pains from strenuous exercise to raging sciatica to some perhaps more unusual long term problems stemming from historic road traffic collisions.
In fact, what I discovered was the general public doesn’t really know who to go and see and why, when they hurt themselves lifting something or wake in the morning with sudden pain. Is it safe to treat? Is it musculoskeletal in origin? Or is it something more sinister that needs referral for further investigation?
Osteopaths undergo 4 years of medical education that now results with an award of Master of Osteopathy. This enables us to register with the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC) and call ourselves osteopaths. The title osteopath is a protected title and criminal proceedings can ensue if you call yourself one while you are not registered. All this gives us primary healthcare status, which is the same as your dentist and GP.
SAFETY! You can be reassured that osteopaths have to undergo continued professional development every year to allow us to re-register with the GOsC.
It also means that we don’t just get you straight onto the bench and rub the sore bit. The consultation process is designed to enable us to apply critical thinking to your case. We ask questions, lots of questions, some that may seem irrelevant but to osteopaths it opens or closes doors on our diagnostic flow.
We have to ensure your back pain is musculoskeletal and in the process attempt to rule out more sinister causes. Check out the picture to see some of what we would consider.
Sure, other therapists can help but this highlights the level of medical training and the in-depth clinical reasoning osteopaths go through to decide if you need immediate referral, are safe to treat and that what you are presenting with is indeed being caused by your musculoskeletal system.
If you are in pain whether recent or long standing you can either book a new patient or a free 20 minute consultation to see if we can help you.