Osteopathy services in Winchester
Specialising exclusively in the relief of back, neck and joint pain.
- Common Questions
Agilaflex is Winchester’s premier centre for professional osteopathy services. Osteopathy is a drug-free, non-invasive therapy that uses gentle manual techniques known as articulation (passive joint movement), as well as mobilisation and muscle energy techniques, to restore function and comfort levels and rebalance your body’s structure in a way that enhances blood flow and nerve function. Osteopaths treat and diagnose problems with your joints, soft tissue and muscles by looking at the function of your body as a whole. Importantly, osteopathy is not simply a ‘complementary therapy’; it is a formal clinical discipline born from the practise of medicine.
At Agilaflex, we use osteopathy to treat a wide range of musculoskeletal conditions. Treatment involves different techniques, ranging from gentle manual approaches and stretches through to a more pressured mobilisation and evidence-based acupuncture techniques. Each treatment will be tailored specifically to your symptoms. Whatever the cause of your injury, our qualified healthcare professionals will ensure you are mobile and pain-free again in the shortest time possible.
Before being recommended a course of treatment at Agilaflex, you will receive a comprehensive physical examination from one of our healthcare professionals to establish the root cause of your pain. This will take into account your work situation, social environment, level of physical activity and general lifestyle. See our approach.
Before joining Agilaflex, our osteopaths complete a minimum of a four/five year degree in osteopathy, covering physiology, pathology, pharmacology, nutrition and biomechanics. On top of this, during their education they will have completed a course of a minimum of 1,000 hours of clinical training prior to starting in practice.
All of our Osteopaths are registered with the statutory regulatory body in the UK - The General Osteopathic Council. Their licence is renewed annually and is a mandatory requirement for them to practice.
Is osteopathy effective?
Osteopaths use many similar treatments to chiropractors. Scientific evidence shows that osteopathy is most effective for back, neck and joint problems, where it has been shown to enhance mobility and reduce the amount of medication taken for back pain.
What are the risks?
You should not undergo osteopathic manipulation if you have damaged ligaments, broken bones or dislocation, bone cancer, bone or joint infection, rheumatoid arthritis of the neck, or osteoporosis. Some forms of osteopathic treatment are not recommended for people who have recently undergone joint surgery or for people receiving blood-thinning medication.
Following osteopathic treatment your may experience an increase in pain, slight headache, or fatigue. These side effects are temporary, and usually disappear within a day. Very rarely, stroke and spinal injury have been reported following manipulation of the neck. This should not be performed in high risk patients.
Q: What can I expect on my first visit?
A: At your initial assessment your clinician will conduct a thorough physical examination and gain a confidential understanding of your full medical history in order to make a diagnosis. This allows us to assess your state of health and any possible causes of your back, neck or joint pain. This examination may be complemented with an on-site X-ray examination, if deemed necessary.
To determine your condition, our clinicians are trained to examine areas of the body using a highly-developed technique known as palpation, which helps them identify any areas of weakness or strain. Before your examination, you will usually be asked to remove some clothing around the affected area of the body.
Your clinician will then discuss with you the most appropriate treatment plan for your needs, together with an estimate of the number of sessions required to treat your condition successfully. Unless otherwise requested by the patient, this may often involve recommendations for one or more modes of treatment, or possibly a combination of all three – chiropractic, osteopathy and physiotherapy.
If they believe that your condition is unlikely to respond to treatment, your clinician will refer you to an appropriate source of professional help. All Agilaflex clinicians are skilled in diagnosis and trained to identify when a patient needs to be referred to a relevant specialist.
Q: What can I expect when I receive treatment?
A: After your assessment we will provide you with a diagnosis of you condition, together with a personal plan which outlines the number of sessions that are likely to be required and the desired outcome. Your treatment will be monitored and, if necessary, adjusted to take into account changes in your condition. We keep you fully informed of progress at every stage.
Q: Will the assessment or treatment hurt?
A: Most of our treatments are relatively pain free. However, it may be possible that you experience some soreness during or after your session, as a thorough assessment can occasionally aggravate existing symptoms. We aim to ensure that you are mobile and pain-free again in the shortest time possible, while also treating the underlying cause of your injury to prevent recurrence. Our aim is to help you achieve your goals as quickly as possible, and not to keep you coming back in to see us – although you are always welcome!
Q: How many treatments will I need?
A: Every patient is an individual. Therefore we do not prescribe a set number of treatments for any condition. Following your initial assessment, your clinician will discuss with you the anticipated number of treatments. You will be reassessed on each visit and if progress is slow, or if there is no apparent improvement, then your treatment will be modified as appropriate, or you will be referred to a relevant specialist.
Q: How long will the assessment and treatments last?
A: Your initial assessment will last 60 minutes and takes the form of a thorough physical examination and, if considered appropriate, will include a treatment. Further follow-on consultations will typically take between 20 and 30 minutes, and occasionally longer where necessary.
Q: What if I need to see a specialist?
A: If they feel it is appropriate for you to see a specialist, your clinician will discuss it with you and review the possible benefits of a specialist opinion. Please note that we are able to complete any X-rays that may be required in-house.
Q: Will I have to have an X-ray?
A: Your clinician will only recommend an X-ray if there is a valid clinical reason for doing so. As with all health professionals, clinicians at Agilaflex must comply with the legislation that governs the use of X-rays: Ionising Radiation (Medical Exposure) Regulations 2000.
Q: Is there a waiting list for treatment?
A: No. We are able to make same day, evening and Saturday appointments.
Q: Do I need to be referred for treatment by a doctor?
A: No. You may see us without a doctor’s referral. However, with your consent, we can keep in contact with your GP to enable them to maintain an accurate record of your medical care. In the same way as consultants, we work closely with GPs, as it is invariably of benefit to our patients.
Q: What should I wear?
A: We recommend that you dress in loose fitting, comfortable clothes. Your clinician will of course need to see the affected area of your body, and gowns are provided if it becomes necessary for you to remove any items of clothing.
Q: Do you continuously develop your techniques?
A: Yes. We pride ourselves on maintaining the highest standards of clinical practice.
Our clinicians undergo constant clinical supervision and training for both patient management and treatment techniques, as well as keeping up to date with all current methodologies through attending postgraduate training courses. We are committed to driving forward the standard of non-surgical back, neck and joint care, and to leading the field in its private provision while maintaining the highest standard of care and evidence-based practice.
You can be confident that the treatment you receive at Agilaflex will be of the highest standard. All Agilaflex practitioners are fully qualified and registered with the statutory regulatory bodies in the UK - the General Chiropractic Council, the General Osteopathic Council and the Health Professions Council, as well as the various industry bodies.
Q: What are your payment options?
A: Payment is required in full at the time of treatment. We accept payment by debit card, credit card, cash or cheque.
Q: I have private medical insurance - am I covered with you?
A: Yes. The cost of your treatment at Agilaflex is refundable by all major health insurers. You will be issued with an invoice for your insurance company after each treatment. We recommend that you contact your insurance company before beginning your treatment and seek answers to the following questions:
- Is a medical referral necessary?
- Are you liable to pay an excess?
- Is there any restriction on the number of treatments you are allowed?
- Is there is any limit on the amount you are able to claim?
Q: What is osteopathy?
A: Osteopathy is a primary care profession that is concerned with the diagnosis, treatment, prevention and rehabilitation of musculoskeletal disorders and restoring the body to optimal functioning, wherever possible without the use of drugs or surgery.
Osteopathy is based on the principle that the body has the ability to heal itself, and focuses on strengthening the musculoskeletal system to treat existing conditions and to prevent future problems. Osteopaths use many of the same diagnostic procedures applied in conventional medical assessment, considering symptoms in the context of the patient's full medical history including their lifestyle and personal circumstances. Treatment is tailored to the individual patient.
Q: What conditions do osteopaths treat?
A: Osteopathy is concerned with the diagnosis, treatment, prevention and rehabilitation of musculoskeletal disorders and restoring the body to optimal functioning, wherever possible without the use of drugs or surgery. Commonly treated conditions include back neck and joint pain, postural problems, sporting injuries, muscle deterioration, restricted mobility and occupational ill-health.
Q: Can I see an osteopath through the NHS?
A: Provision of osteopathy on the NHS can be limited, although it is becoming more widely available as increasingly commissioning authorities acknowledge its benefits. To find out whether NHS treatment is available in your area, contact your doctor or your local primary care trust.
For more information on who to contact in your region, visit www.nhs.uk.
Q: Do I need a GP referral to see an osteopath?
A: Most people refer themselves independently to an osteopath for treatment. Although referral by a GP is not a requirement, patients are advised to keep both their GP and osteopath fully informed, so that their medical records can be kept up to date, and that you receive the best possible care. At Agilaflex we can do this on your behalf.
Q: Do GPs refer their patients to osteopaths?
A: Yes. GPs will recommend osteopathy where they believe such an intervention would be beneficial to the patient. Both the General Medical Council and British Medical Association provide referral guidelines for GPs.
Q: How do I know if an osteopath is registered?
A: All osteopaths are required by law to be registered with the General Osteopathic Council. You can visit the register to check whether your health professional is currently registered.
Q: Can anyone call themselves an osteopath?
A: The designation 'osteopath' is protected by law, and only those included on the register are entitled to practice as osteopaths. Unregistered practice is a criminal offence in the UK.
Q: Can I find out how long an osteopath has been registered?
A: The date an osteopath was first registered with the General Osteopathic Council can found in the 'Practitioner Details' on the General Osteopathic Council (GOC) website.
Q: What training do osteopaths have?
A: Students of osteopathy complete a four or five-year degree course that combines both academic and clinical work. Qualification typically takes the form of a bachelor’s degree in osteopathy – a BSc(Hons), BOst or BOstMed – or a masters degree in osteopathy (MOst). Many osteopaths continue with their studies after they have graduated.
Osteopaths are required to update their training throughout their working careers, and must complete a minimum of 30 hours of continuing professional development each year.
Q: Who sets the standards of training and practice for osteopaths?
A: The standards of osteopathic training and practice are regulated by The General Osteopathic Council, the profession’s statutory regulatory body, established under the Osteopaths Act 1993.
Q: What is revalidation?
A: Revalidation refers to the process by which an osteopath has demonstrated to The General Osteopathic Council that they are up to date and fit to practise, and meet the required professional standards. All healthcare regulators are required by the Government to develop a scheme for revalidating their registrants. For full details, visit the Revalidation page at www.osteopathy.org.uk.
Q: What should I do if I have concerns about the osteopath or the treatment I have received?
A: All osteopaths are required to have a complaints procedure in place.
General Osteopathic Council
British Osteopathic Association
International Society of Clinical Rehabilitation Specialists
Agilaflex is committed to providing the highest achievable standard of care in the field of chiropractic, osteopathy and physiotherapy. This we aim to do in a clear, ethical and open way with all of our patients. However, if following treatment you have any questions or concerns regarding your treatment then please contact the customer care team in confidence, at either [email protected] or in writing to First Floor, 107 High Street, Winchester SO23 9AH, referencing our feedback & complaints procedure.
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