What is osteopathy?

Osteopathy is a system of diagnosis and treatment for a wide range of medical conditions. It works with the structure and function of the body, and is based on the principle that the well-being of an individual depends on the skeleton, muscles, ligaments and connective tissues functioning smoothly together.

To an osteopath, for your body to work well, its structure must also work well. So osteopaths work to restore your body to a state of balance, where possible without the use of drugs or surgery. Osteopaths use touch, physical manipulation, stretching and massage to increase the mobility of joints, to relieve muscle tension, to enhance the blood and nerve supply to tissues, and to help your body’s own healing mechanisms. They may also provide advice on posture and exercise to aid recovery, promote health and prevent symptoms recurring.

Osteopaths have been recognised as Allied Health Professionals by the NHS since April 2017.

Osteopathy for Back Pain:

Back pain does not simply produce pain in the back, often it may cause symptoms in more remote areas such as the buttocks, groin, hips, and legs (commonly called sciatica).

Problems in the spine and neck can also cause symptoms such as dizziness, headaches, clicking jaw, pins and needles and many more. Indeed research has shown that problems related to the back may affect over 60% of the UK’s population at some stage in their lives.

Osteopaths are trained professionals who are skilled in diagnosing problems, including those which may require further investigation if necessary.

NICE (the National Institute of Clinical Excellence) guidelines recommend manipulative therapies including osteopathy for the treatment of low back pain.

Osteopathy for Pregnancy:

Pregnancy is a time when women are more aware of the workings of their body. It produces the largest postural change that a woman’s body will undergo.

For many years, osteopaths have used their skills to help relieve the aches and pains caused by weight and posture changes during and after pregnancy. For many women pregnancy means having to cope with a whole range of symptoms from back pain to morning sickness.

As the baby grows in the womb, its extra weight results in a changed centre of gravity and posture changes from week to week. This can lead to a variety of aches and pains. As breast weight increases, this also causes changes and pain may occur in the upper back and neck.

• Osteopathy recognises that much of the pain and disability we suffer stems from abnormalities in our body’s structure and function.
• Osteopaths diagnose and treat problems with muscles, ligaments, nerves and joints to help the body’s natural healing ability.
• Treatment involves gentle, manual techniques – easing pain, reducing swelling and improving mobility.
• Osteopathy does not involve the use of drugs or surgery.

Why osteopathy?

Osteopathic treatment through pregnancy is a wonderfully gentle way of helping the body adapt to the changes which are taking place. The safety of mother and baby is the osteopath’s first concern.

Advice from your osteopath can help you to change your posture and learn to use your body correctly through pregnancy. Osteopaths can also help to ease other side effects of pregnancy such as heartburn, indigestion, constipation and pain in the buttock, groin or leg (commonly called sciatica).

Treatment may be supplemented by exercises and other forms of self help which the osteopath may prescribe for the mother to do at home.

Other conditions treated by osteopaths:

Osteopaths are now perceived as musculo-skeletal experts especially for cases such as back pain and neck pain. Whilst it is true that a majority of their work relates to the spine, osteopathy can be effective with a number of other conditions involving other areas of the body. The emphasis is always on the individual and not the complaint.

At every age, osteopathic healthcare has much to offer – from pregnancy to childbirth to sports injuries to degenerative problems with the elderly.
See below for a list of conditions frequently treated by osteopaths:

Neck and back pain
Hip, buttock and leg pain
All joint pains (hip, knee, ankle and shoulder)
Shoulder stiffness, pain, and restricted movement
Trapped nerves
Arthritic pain and stiffness
Sports injuries
Repetitive strain and work related injuries
Elbow and wrist injuries (Tennis and Golfer’s elbow)
Postural problems

Please click here for details of our osteopath, Michelle Spencer, who runs an established clinic in Hertford.


£60 initial consultation – 1 hour
£45 per appointment thereafter – 30-40 minutes

If you are unsure about whether osteopathy is right for you, or to book an appointment, please call Michelle directly on 01992 304913 for an initial chat about what you are feeling.