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FAQs – Osteopathic Treatment


What conditions can Osteopathy treat?

If you are not sure about whether your symptoms are likely to be helped by Osteopathic treatment please call or email the practice and speak with one of the Osteopaths.

The osteopath will need to take a full case history, asking questions about your current problem, general health and medical history.


For the examination you will be asked to undress down to your underwear (if you prefer to wear shorts, please bring them with you, or they can be provided on request). We will then ask you to perform a few simple movements so we can asses your spine, joints and range of movement. As Osteopaths we are not just interested in the problem area but we try to look for the root cause of a problem. This may involve examining areas of the body that don’t necessarily cause pain but may be related to the problem.

The Osteopath will then ask you to lie on the treatment bench and will need to use their hands to feel various muscles and joints.  You will be covered with a towel at this point.  Other tests such as reflexes, muscle strength or blood pressure may also need to be performed.

The diagnosis

The diagnosis and treatment plan will be explained to you.  In most instances Osteopathic treatment is given on your first visit. However there may be cases in which Osteopathic treatment isn’t suitable.  With very complicated cases it may take longer to establish the cause, so there might not be time within the session to start treatment.

Yes. Any information disclosed to us is strictly private and confidential. If we feel the need to refer you to another healthcare professional this would be discussed this with you first.  We would only make a referral with your consent.

Yes. For the examination you will be asked to undress down to your underwear (if you prefer to wear shorts, please bring them with you, or they can be provided on request).  Osteopaths look for the root cause of a problem. This may involve seeing and examining areas of the body that don’t necessarily cause pain but may be related to the problem.

The Osteopath will explain everything as they go along but if you are unsure please feel free to ask the osteopath to stop or explain again what they are doing and why.  We want you to feel relaxed and comfortable during the examination and treatment. We don’t mind answering any questions you may have.

Osteopathy is a manual therapy so the osteopath will use their hands to assess and treat various parts of the body.  Osteopathic techniques include soft-tissue massage, joint mobilisations, joint manipulation (the “cracking” technique) and muscle stretches.

Cranial Osteopathy

Cranial Osteopathy uses very gentle pressures on various parts of the body.  This is often very relaxing.
Some of the Osteopaths are trained in the use of medical acupuncture (dry needling).  If your Osteopath feels this is appropriate then this will be explained to you. This will only performed if you are happy to receive such treatment.

Treatments are adapted to suit every individual patient so different techniques may be used depending on what is appropriate.

TIt is believed that the noise is created by gas escaping from the joint as it is released. Sometimes if the joint lining has become trapped within a joint, as it is released it may “pop”.  Manipulation doesn’t hurt and often brings immediate relief.

Osteopathic treatment should not be painful. Certain techniques may feel uncomfortable and you may experience some soreness or aching after treatment. This is temporary and lasts 24-48 hours, after which patients often feel considerably improved.  Some patients react more strongly than others to treatment.  If you are at all concerned about the level of discomfort during or after a treatment please speak to your Osteopath.

Our aim is to help to ease your discomfort and improve your mobility. Generally there should be some positive change after the initial treatment. Occasionally several sessions maybe required before improvement is noticed. Your Osteopath will prepare you for this if it is likely to be the case for you.   Some patients experience temporary soreness after treatment (See “Does Osteopathy hurt?”)

Every patient is different. Two patients who appear to have the same condition may require different numbers of treatment to get better.  General health, previous accidents, how long you’ve had the problem, work and lifestyle factors can all have a bearing on how quickly you will recover.

Following the initial examination the Osteopath will discuss what they think is causing your problem, how Osteopathy can help and how many sessions it is likely to take.  Sometimes, if the problem is more complex we may suggest an initial course of treatments i.e 3-4. They will then reassess progress and effectiveness of the treatment plan.

Maintenance Treatment

Patients with chronic, longstanding problems may require management rather than complete resolution.  In these instances patients will be given advice about exercise and self management. You may also benefit from occasional maintenance sessions with the Osteopath.

At Cheadle Osteopathy we work alongside other complementary therapists. This can be useful for some patients who may respond to a multidisciplinary approach.

Yes, of course you can. We want you to feel as comfortable as possible. If you would like a family member or friend to act as a chaperone they are more than welcome. Please note that any patient under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

Is Osteopathy suitable for all age groups?
Osteopathy is tailored to the individual patient so we can adapt the treatments, taking into account age and general health. You can be assured that treatment is safe and effective at all ages.

At Cheadle Osteopathy we also have a specialist Paediatric Osteopath trained in Cranial Osteopathy. They use very gentle treatments for babies, children and pregnant women.

If you have any mobility issues or find it difficult to get upstairs please let us know so that we can arrange the use of a downstairs treatment room.

Just as with adult patients, a full history will be taken In addition we will ask about the pregnancy, birth and their social and physical development too.  For the examination, parents are asked to undress their babies down to their nappies.  Older children may be required to remove some of their clothes depending on the problem. Some simple tests of muscle tone, reflexes, hearing and understanding may be conducted. Where possible this is done through play and observation, often with the parent’s help.


Examination involves gentle pressures on various parts of the child’s body (not just the head as the word “cranial” might suggest).  The Osteopath will then discuss what they feel is happening and how Osteopathy could help, how many sessions it should take. They may also give advice on things to do at home to support the treatment.  Treatment then involves the use of very gentle techniques to release tensions within the head, spine, joints and limbs.


Treatment doesn’t hurt.  Many babies and children find it a very relaxing experience and enjoy their sessions.  Some children may get upset by the “newness” of the situation or object to being undressed and moved around.  We make every effort to ensure that both you and your child are happy and comfortable. We have plenty of toys and books at the clinic. You can play with, read to, cuddle or even feed during the treatment.  If you feel uncomfortable with any aspect of the treatment please tell the Osteopath.

After treatment your child may be sleepy or grumpy for 24-48 hours.  If your child is returning to school/nursery it is worth making them aware too that this may be the case.

For more information about what we treat please see the Babies and Children section.

Yes, you can.  Osteopathy is very safe and gentle and techniques can be adapted so that they are suitable for use in pregnancy.  Please tell us at the time of booking the appointment that you are pregnant, as it may affect which Osteopath you see.  If in the first trimester (first three months) of pregnancy, please ask to speak to an Osteopath before booking the appointment as the decision about whether to treat in these early stages can vary from one patient to the next.

Please read our Osteopathy in Pregnancy section to see how osteopathy can be helpful.

Since the Osteopaths Act 1993, it is a criminal offence for anyone to call themselves an Osteopath without being registered with The General Osteopathic Council (GOsC).  They regulate the profession to maintain standards of education, clinical knowledge and care. Visit  www.osteopathy.org.uk for more details.

Osteopaths are trained to the highest standards of clinical excellence. It is also compulsory that all Osteopaths maintain and update their skills through Continued Professional Development (CPD) involving course and educational programs.

Most Osteopaths work in the private sector, so GP referral is not necessary and the majority of patients “self-refer”.   If you intend to claim through your health insurance then please check your terms and conditions. Some require a GP referral before the cost of treatments can be claimed.

The National Institute for Health & Clinical Excellence (NICE)

Osteopathic treatment is recommended by The National Institute for Health & Clinical Excellence (NICE) for the effective treatment and management for non-specific low back pain.  If you have had symptoms for more than six weeks NICE advises that your GP should make you aware of osteopathy as an effective treatment option.

Many private health insurance companies cover the cost of osteopathic treatment. We advise you check with your insurance company about the available level of cover and whether GP referral is required. Many insurance policies cover treatments offered by Cheadle Osteopathy.

Our policy is that patients pay after each appointment and that the fees are reclaimed from their insurance company.

Due to changes in their terms and conditions of practice we regret that we are unable to cover patients intending to claim through BUPA.

It is the patient’s responsibility to ensure their insurance will cover treatment prior to attending the appointment.  Please let us know which company you intend to claim through when booking your appointment.

Osteopaths, Physiotherapists and Chiropractors all work on the structure of the body. Some of the conditions we treat are similar but we are fundamentally different in terms of philosophy, application of technique and even some of the techniques used.

In brief, Osteopaths look at the whole body and are more holistic, considering how dysfunction in one part of the body can have a knock on effect on another part.  We try to identify and treat the root cause of the problem.  Every patient is treated as an individual and treatment plans are specific to each patient, not a “one size fits all” approach for the same condition.

In contrast to Physiotherapists and Chiropractors, osteopaths believe that a well-functioning musculoskeletal system is vital for overall health and wellbeing (see also What’s Osteopathy?)

Osteopaths v Physiotherapists

Physiotherapists often work within the NHS and help people to recover following a physical illness or injury or people with developmental problems or disability.  They often use equipment such as TENs machines or ultra sound and prescribe rehabilitative exercises.  Traditionally they would tend to focus on treating the specific areas of pain, but Physiotherapists in private practice have more autonomy over how they treat patients.

Osteopaths v Chiropractors

People often get confused about the difference between Chiropractors and Osteopaths as we use similar techniques, work in private practice and see many of the same conditions.

Chiropractors primarily focus on the alignment of the spinal joints and on the effects of the spine on individual nerve branches that stem from between the segments.

Chiropractors Philosophy

They believe that misaligned joints can unfavourably affect nerve messages travelling through them however they do treat other joints too, not just the spine.  “Adjustment” techniques to re-align the spinal joints are commonly used. Chiropractors often rely more on diagnostic tests, for example x-rays, blood and urine tests, whereas Osteopaths emphasize the physical examination but will refer patients should they require more diagnostic procedures.

What makes us different.

Osteopaths traditionally use a wider variety of treatment techniques including soft-tissue massage, muscle stretching, joint articulation/mobilisation, manipulation and Cranial Osteopathy.
Within each profession individual practitioners develop their own unique style of practice and you as an individual need to find what works for you and ensure that they are properly trained.


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