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A healthy way to treat pain; ADVERTISING FEATURE.

MORE than 370,000 adults in Scotland see their GP each year with complaints such as back ache and sciatica.

But there are many ways to lessen the pain and help you cope with daily life.

If you have such a such musculoskeletal condition, one option is to visit an osteopath.

Osteopaths are trained to diagnose and identify when a patient needs to be referred to a GP. They work alongside doctors and other healthcare professionals, providing treatment both privately and through the NHS.

Many healthcare insurance providers include osteopathic care in their cover.

Osteopathy focuses on the diagnosis, treatment, prevention and rehabilitation of musculoskeletal disorders.

It centres on holistic care, incorporating mobilising and manipulative techniques, reinforced by guidance on diet and exercise.

Osteopaths are best known for addressing back pain but they help patients with a wide range of health conditions.

Commonly treated ailments include back, neck and shoulder pain, upper and lower limb problems, neck related headaches, minor sport and work-related conditions and arthritic pain.

Osteopaths believe that the whole body will work well if it is in good structural balance and contains self-healing mechanisms that can help address pain.

That's why treatment does not target symptoms only but also addresses the parts of the body that have caused them.

A visit usually takes 30 minutes to an hour.

If it's the first time an osteopath has seen you, they may start by asking about your symptoms, your lifestyle and general health, and whether you are receiving any other treatment or medication.

The osteopath may then ask you to make simple movements and stretches to observe your posture and mobility.

They are trained to examine the body using a highly developed sense of touch, known as palpation, to identify injury or illness.

Treatment can involve skilled manipulation of the spine and joints, and the massage of soft tissues.

You may be asked to remove some clothing near the area of the body that is being examined but the practitioner will explain what they are doing and always request your consent.

Ask at any time if you have any questions or concerns.

Your osteopath will also check for signs of serious conditions they can't address and may advise you to see your GP or go to hospital.

They will explain what they find and, if further help is needed, they will discuss a plan that is suitable for you, with an estimate as to how many sessions are likely to be required for you to feel better.

Costs vary but typically range from PS30 to PS50 for a consultation of between 30 minutes to an hour.

Finding your nearest practitioner is easy - the British Osteopathic Association's website, www.osteopathy.org has a "Find osteopath" function which lists more than 100 practices across Scotland.

FACT FILE To qualify as an osteopath requires at least four years' study for a degree - similar to a medical one but with a greater emphasis on anatomy and musculoskeletal medicine.

After graduation, osteopaths have to complete continuing professional development courses to retain their registration.

Patient safety is of paramount importance - osteopaths must be registered with the General Osteopathic Council and it is an offence for anyone to use the title if they are not.

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EXPERTISE Osteopaths are trained to treat a range of conditions - including back pain
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Oct 24, 2013
Words:554
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