An osteopath aims to restore the normal function and stability of the joints to help the body heal itself.
They use their hands to treat your body in a variety of ways, using a mixture of gentle and forceful techniques.
Techniques are chosen based on the individual patient and the symptoms they have reported.
- massage – to release and relax muscles
- stretching stiff joints
- articulation – where your joints are moved through their natural range of motion
- high-velocity thrusts – short, sharp movements to the spine, which normally produce a clicking noise similar to cracking your knuckles
These techniques aim to reduce pain, improve movement and encourage blood flow.
Osteopathy isn't usually painful, although it's not unusual to feel sore or stiff in the first few days after treatment, particularly if you're having treatment for a painful or inflamed injury.
Your osteopath will explain whether you're likely to have any reactions. If you feel any pain during or after treatment, tell your osteopath.
You may be given advice on self-help and exercise to aid your recovery and prevent symptoms returning or getting worse.
In general, the first appointment will last about 45 minutes to an hour. Further treatments last around 30 minutes. Your course of treatment will depend on your symptoms.