FAQ | Glasgow City Osteopaths
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Frequently Asked Questions

What is Osteopathy?

Osteopathy relies on your body’s own healing mechanisms using  physical manipulation, stretching and massage to help improve mobility of stiffened joints,  relieve muscle tension, and free up and improve the blood and nerve supply to tissues.

What types of problems can Osteopathy help with?

Neck and back pain


Headaches and Migraines

Sports Injuries

Work and Repetitive strain injuries (RSI)


Jaw pain

Pain associated with pregnancy

Pain associated with menstruation

Pain in peripheral joints such as shoulders, knees and ankles, tendonitis and muscle strains.


In addition, Osteopaths can utilize a wide variety of gentle non-manipulative techniques for use on infants and small children.

What can I expect on my first visit?

During your first consultation, your Osteopath will ask questions and conduct a full osteopathic and orthopaedic examination. You will normally be asked to remove some of your clothing, depending on the area of your body requiring treatment. Following osteopathic treatment, your Osteopath may need additional investigations such as x-ray, scans or blood tests. This will allow a full diagnosis and suitable treatment plan to be developed for you. If needed, your Osteopath may refer you on to another health professional.

Do I need a referral from my GP?

No, you can make an appointment without a referral.

Is Osteopathic treatment painful?

Most osteopathic treatment is gentle and should not cause undue discomfort. Some injuries however, may require the handling of painful areas but your osteopath will take all care to make you as comfortable as possible. Some people experience soreness for a day or two after treatment similar to that felt after unaccustomed exercise.

How long will my treatment take?

Your initial consultation may last up to 45 minutes because it includes a thorough history and examination as well as treatment. Follow-up treatments are usually a little shorter. Depending on your condition, they can take up to 30 minutes.

What do I need to bring?

Your osteopath will ask to see any X-rays, scans or test results that you may have. Your osteopath may ask you to undress to your underwear depending on the area of your body requiring treatment. Therefore you may want to wear loose pants or bring a pair of shorts if this would make you more comfortable.

What is Visceral Osteopathy?

Visceral Osteopathy, or as it is also called, Visceral Manipulation (VM), was developed by world-renowned French Osteopath and Physical Therapist Jean-Pierre Barral.

Visceral Manipulation is beneficial for various disorders such as:

Spasm of the intestine

Constipation or loose stools (not caused by obstruction,  infection or diseases of the bowel)


Infant colic.

When will I be pain free?

The majority of patients feel relief and significant improvement immediately during or after their first session. Most patients would need around 3 sessions to get full pain relief, depending on their presenting complaint.

What is the difference between an Osteopath and a Chiropractor?

Osteopaths spend a significant amount of time working on the soft tissues (muscles and circulation) and joint clicking may or may not occur during your session,  we work on you for a minimum of 30 minutes.

Chiropractors  tend to see the spine as the cause and tend to focus on clicking or realigning the spine and therefore will not spend so long treating the soft tissues and consults may be shorter and more frequent as a consequence.

How do I book my initial consultation?

We prefer patients to phone in to make an appointment using our main clinic line 0141 370 1119, we can make appointments quickly and like to see patients ASAP.

Will I need more than one session?

Osteopathy is most effective with a  short course of treatment, maybe 3-5 sessions. You will have a diagnosis, treatment and advice on your first session. However, our commitment is not just to treat the pain, but help you address the underlying causes to get a lasting response, which won´t come back quickly. We don´t ask  you to prepay for sessions or book courses of treatment, most patients want to come back as they feel better.

Is there an age limit to treatment?

We enjoy treating new born to the elderly, we have learnt a lot by treating conditions in their early stages to late stages, knowing how conditions evolve over the years can provide patients vital preventative advice and help us spot problems in their early stage.

What if I am already on medication for my condition?

Working alongside medication and using medications and injections where necessary is normal, sometimes a combined effort is essential. We prefer to play a complementary role when working with patients who are already using medication. Although we like to opt for a natural approach, we know that medication and supplementation will often speed up and aid recovery and recommend both when necessary.

Will I be able to give up my medication after treatment?

Pain killer´s and Anti-inflammatories are normally reduced when pain levels reduce, so yes some groups of medication can be reduced or stopped once treatment has given pain relief. Other groups of medication such as tranquiliser´s, opiate drugs, anti-depressants and certain pain meds, or drugs prescribed by specialists will require a GP or specialist to provide the appropriate advice.

Where does Osteopathy fit within the medical care system?

Increasingly osteopaths are working alongside GPs and other healthcare  professionals, providing treatment both privately and as Russell has done in Scotland, in the NHS.

Is Osteopathy evidence based?

A medical Research Council trial comparing treatment options for lower back pain found that spinal manipulation, added to GP care, is clinically effective and the most cost-efficient option for patients (UK Back Pain Exercise and Manipulation trial, MRC 2004). There is a growing evidence base providing research on the use of Osteopathy. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends it as a treatment for lower back pain.

Who should I choose to see? Different treatments to relieve back pain

It is important to initially acknowledge the difficulty in differentiating between professions that borrow philosophy, evidence based medicine, and practice theory from each other.


The general differences between Osteopathy, Physiotherapy and Chiropractic are:




Osteopaths generally spend more time with their patients in a consultation. This often results in a reduced number of total treatments. They should provide advice on exercise and lifestyle changes too. Osteopaths pride themselves on having a wide range of treatment options for patients and apply appropriate technique according to the patient needs. The primary osteopathic philosophy is treating the whole person rather than just their symptoms.


Osteopaths in the U.K. complete 4 years of university training and afterwards each year they are required to study to complete their continual professional development to remain registered. They are registered as primary healthcare practitioners and are trained to recognise various conditions in all areas of the body and not just musculo-skeletal injuries (e.g. diseases of the heart, lungs, digestive tract, vascular and nervous system etc.). Your osteopath is trained to screen and examine for conditions that may require referral to other specialists.


Osteopaths deal with all conditions that  physiotherapists and chiropractors treat.  There is a common misconception that certain manual therapy practitioners are suited to certain conditions and injuries which is mostly untrue – each has their own philosophy on treatment and management. For example, Osteopaths pride themselves on study and knowledge of concepts of rehabilitation often aligned with physiotherapy. Similarly, some people believe that only a chiropractor can deal with conditions of the spine when in actual fact an osteopath is trained to manage spinal issues (making up 60% of our patients) but, for example, will also take the time to look at your pelvis, hips, knees, shoulders etc. and your whole system.


A way to distinguish osteopaths from other forms of manual therapy is to list what most osteopaths won’t do:


Most Osteopaths will not treat more than 1 patient at a time.


Most Osteopaths will not use special gadgets such as ultrasound, interferential (most Osteopaths will treat with hands on techniques).


Most Osteopaths will not just manipulate or crack joints as the only treatment method.


Most Osteopaths will not put you on a long term treatment or payment plan.


Most Osteopaths will not just treat the painful joint but look at the areas related to the joint and the whole body.


Most Osteopaths will not spend less than 20-30 minutes with you.


Physiotherapy & Chiropractic




Physiotherapy is perhaps the most commonly known therapy in the U.K. They are the largest  group of practitioners working in the public system as well as the private sector. A Physiotherapist may specialise in rehabilitation and treatment of certain acute and chronic joint injuries. A generalisation is that they only treat the injured area. Some physiotherapists use machines such as TENS or ultrasound (and more recently dry needling) as part of their treatment approach and often provide you with a variety of exercises for you to do at home.




Chiropractic  is based on the premise that the body is capable of self-regulation and healing itself, which is controlled by the brain, the spinal cord and the nervous system. A certain amount of chiropractors still only treat by using manipulation over multiple sessions. Chiropractors may also refer you for a spinal x-ray to review spinal alignment to aid diagnosis and treatment.


How to choose between an Osteopath, Physiotherapist and Chiropractor


These days you will always have a choice between each of these professions in your area. Here are some ideas to help you choose the right one:


Contact the therapist for a discussion and find out if he/she can help with your condition/injury. Ask about : experience in dealing with your complaint.


Treatment philosophy, types of techniques used.


How long they treat for and rational behind treatment and the amount of time spent.


By listening to the therapist you may instinctively be able to recognise if this person is the right practitioner for you.


Some therapists, like us, are happy to have a face to face discussion with you first. This may also allow you to feel comfortable with your choice.


Why see an Osteopath?


Osteopaths are experts in manual therapy in the treatment of muscular skeletal disorders and treat all areas of the body, whatever the age. They spend 4 years training to be able to diagnose and treat the body safely and effectively. Osteopaths do not rely on electrotherapy, but use hands-on manipulation on  the muscles and joints of the body to achieve better function and reduce pain levels. They do not just click joints , but look to restore good circulation and mobility in the body to improve health. Most patients feel better after the first session and are normally significantly better after three sessions.