Glossary of Osteopathy

Arthritic Pain

Osteopathy does not change the X-ray appearance of the joints, but patients report good changes in the function and feel of the affected joints.


Treatment is directed at improving breathing mechanics, correcting posturally related problems and removing stresses in order to enhance well being and ultimately reduce the reliance on medication.

Back Pain

Doctors agree that physical treatment such as osteopathy can be helpful as early as possible after the onset of symptoms. Most back trouble responds well to osteopathic treatment.

Children and babies

Osteopathic treatment for children and babies is very gentle and can help monitor and diagnose if there is an underlying cause behind the presenting symptoms in growing bodies or problems that develop from earlier knocks or falls.

Cranial techniques

Small tolerances of movement exist within the skull and Osteopaths with their highly trained sense of touch can identify and correct disturbances and limitation of tissue mobility, not only in the skull but throughout the body.


Osteopaths are fully trained in diagnosis and use many of the procedures used in conventional medical assessment and diagnosis. More specific clinical tests may also be done or arranged or a referral made if it is felt necessary.


Osteopaths can give advice on ensuring a comfortable drive, particularly for those who suffer from back pain.


Training is four or five years full or part time. There are now approximately ten courses with accredited content.


what’s involved – The initial consultation involves taking a thorough case history covering general health, previous illness, lifestyle and family medical history. The Osteopath will then conduct a physical examination, observing the patient’s range of movements and joint function and assessing individual tissues. After the examination the Osteopath will explain the findings and a suitable course of treatment will be prescribed.

Feet and ankles

Some lower limb and back conditions may stem from an uneven gait (pattern of walking) and this may be due to problems with the feet or ankles. An Osteopath will cover this in their initial examination.

Finding an osteopath

Registered Osteopaths can be found by telephoning the General Osteopathic Council’s advice line (020 7357 6655) or at its website (

General Osteopathic Council

The Osteopaths Act (1993) established the GOsC as the regulatory body for the osteopathic profession. Since May 2000 all Osteopaths have been required to be registered, with the Council.

Gynaecological problems

Some female patients are coming in for treatment to seemingly unrelated back pain, but when reporting that they are feeling better, they often ask if treatment can have any effect on gynaecological problems, as they have noted a change in their chronic symptoms. This is likely to be caused by the improved pelvic function, balance and fluid drainage, which can have wide reaching effects if left untreated.


A component of the typical ‘tension headache’ may be poor posture or stresses and strains caused by mechanical problems, Osteopaths commonly give postural advice and exercises as the treatment is often involving long term prevention rather than a

quick cure’ This is a good example of times when the presenting symptoms (headaches) are not necessarily the area needing treatment, as the adjacent area may be brewing the problem.


Many people find their jaw ‘clicks’ but when it becomes painful or more frequent osteopathy can be beneficial.

Joint stiffness

Osteopathy can help increase range of movement to relieve the pain associated with joint stiffness.


Whether through a sporting injury or general wear and tear, Osteopathic Treatment works to help the blood supply and fluid drainage of the area, which leaves the body in the best state to try to heal itself and prevent further injury.

Ligament and muscle strain

Strain often accompanies skeletal problems and osteopaths can detect and correct where this occurs.

ME or chronic fatigue syndrome

Some researchers believe it arises from an impaired communication between the central nervous system, the internal organs and the musculo-skeletal components of the body. Clinical trials have successfully demonstrated that a manual treatment programme such as osteopathy can help patients with this debilitating condition.


Tension in neck musculature may be a contributing factor in migraine.

Neck Pain

Osteopaths work into the tissues which may be protecting the sore area, which often is exacerbating the pain. By reducing over protective spasm, mobility is maintained and eventual recovery should be more complete..


Osteopathy is not yet widely available on the NHS but it is worth checking with your GP to see if it is available locally.

Osteopathic treatment

Osteopaths use their hands both to discover the underlying causes of pain and to carry out treatment using a variety of manipulative techniques.

Pelvic Pain

There are a number of causes of such pain (endometriosis, uterine motility and surgery) that osteopathy may be able to help using mechanical loosening and lymph drainage techniques.


Osteopathy is a wonderfully gentle way of helping the body adapt to the changes which are taking place.


This can greatly influence the health of the musculo-skeletal system and is frequently assessed by osteopaths.

Quality of life

Removing pain and restoring freedom of movement can greatly improve one’s quality of life.

Rheumatic Pain

Osteopathy can help with reducing tissue inflammation and hence pain.


Osteopaths can advise on workplace posture and self help anti-inflammatory stretches.

Sciatica (Leg pain)

This is a common complaint which is frequently seen and can respond well to Osteopathic treatment.

Sport injuries

Maintaining optimum balance and tissue tone via treatment can help to keep you at your training peak and also enable a swift return to sport following strains and overuse injuries.

Statutory Regulation

As of May 2000 osteopathy became a Statutory Regulated profession like doctors and dentists and the title ‘Osteopath’ is restricted by law so that only those registered with the General Osteopathic Council can use it.


These may include soft tissue stretching, rhythmic passive joint movements or high velocity thrust techniques to improve the range of movement of a joint. Gentle release techniques are often used, particularly when treating children or elderly patients.

Tennis Elbow

This is not only restricted to tennis players! It is all to do with the way a handle is gripped. Golfer’s Elbow is on the other side of the elbow, and both conditions involve over tightened tendons which can be stretched and given some rehab exercises.

Upper Limb Disorders

Symptoms such as aches, pains, difficulty in movement and swelling can be addressed by an Osteopath.

Work strain

All aspects of desk posture, keyboard and mouse use can be advised on to minimise future strain.


If the Osteopath thinks X-rays are needed, a referral is given to take to the doctor or hospital.

Young People

Young People – Children and teenagers are not immune from musclo-skeletal problems which can be caused by sports activities, hunching over computer games or carrying heavy school bags.

Zzzzzz – sleeping

Could your bed be part of your back problem? You can obtain advice on choosing a bed from your Osteopath.


Problems with Joint Pains, Lumbago, Sciatica, Muscle Spasms, Neuralgia, Fibromyalgia, Arthritic Pain, Cervicogenic Headache, Migraine, General, Acute & Chronic Backache, Back Pain, Inability to Relax

Osteopath – Whitley Bay | Newcastle | Tynemouth | North Shields | South Shields | Northumberland | Gosforth | Ponteland | Blyth | Cramlington | Wallsend | Gateshead | Jarrow | Bedlington | South Tyneside