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Osteopathy is a primary health care profession. It is a patient centred approach, meaning that symptoms are considered in the context of the patient’s full medical history and their personal circumstances/lifestyle. All treatment is tailored to the individual. Osteopaths diagnose, treat and provide advice on a range of musculoskeletal disorders. Treatment is applied without the use of drugs or surgery and is applied by the practitioner’s hands. The underlying principle of osteopathy, is that the body has the ability to heal itself. By optimising the musculoskeletal system, the body is better able to cope with existing medical conditions and to prevent other illness.
Cranial osteopathy is a treatment approach used by some osteopaths which works on the refined and subtle movements of the skull, to relieve stresses and tensions It is a very gentle approach and therefore is often used on babies and on people who, perhaps, are not keen on other treatment approaches. Many patients report cranial treatment as being deeply relaxing. A full case history and clinical examination will be carried out prior to any treatment.
Undergraduates follow a four or five year degree course similar to a medical degree but with the emphasis on musculoskeletal anatomy. The course is a mix of academic and clinical work, leading to a degree level qualification. Osteopaths are required to complete a minimum of 30 hours of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) per year.
This is one of the most commonly asked questions. Overall there are more similarities than differences between the three professions.
Osteopathy and chiropractic stem from very similar origins. Although there are slight differences in the underlying philosophy, both are aimed at restoring joint mobility and muscle health, thereby increasing circulation and nerve health. Osteopaths and chiropractors predominantly use their hands to treat. It is often perceived that chiropractors do a lot more “clicking” than osteopaths, but this is not always the case. Chiropractors tend to utilise x-rays when assessing a patient and formulating a treatment plan.
Physiotherapy is also a manual based therapy. After graduating, physiotherapists initially have to work within the NHS and often develop areas of specialism, such as working with stoke patients, post-surgery rehabilitation or working with patients with respiratory or cardiovascular conditions. Patients are often referred to an NHS physiotherapist by their GPs. Unfortunately, there is often a long waiting list and due to time and financial constraints, “hands on treatment” is often limited. However, very good advice is given about exercise and management of a condition. Patients who come to see me report the benefits of a more “hands on treatment” approach, to complement the exercises given by the physiotherapist. On many occasions, I have seen patients for treatment while they have been on the waiting list for physiotherapy and have been able to resolve their problem. Private physiotherapists work very similarly to osteopaths and chiropractors. Many osteopaths and chiropractors have done additional training and offer additional therapeutic techniques; such as ultrasound, dry needling, taping, craniosacral therapy. It is very common for therapists from all three disciplines to attend the same “continued professional development” courses.
All three therapies are degree level courses. I often say to patients that it depends on finding the right practitioner for them; someone who they feel comfortable with and who is happy to adjust their treatment style to suit the patient’s preferences. I am always happy to talk to potential patients on the phone, or even to meet them in person, for an informal chat before they commit to booking an appointment. If I feel that I am not the right therapist for them, I will try and recommend someone who I feel may be better able to help.
Manipulation to joints and muscles carried out by a qualified osteopath is remarkably safe. A variety of techniques can be used and the practitioner will choose the technique after reaching a diagnosis. Before commencing treatment, a full case history and examination will be carried out to ensure that it is appropriate to treat. If necessary the patient will be referred back to their GP. Before applying any technique, an osteopath will consider any other underlying health conditions and the feel of the tissues under their hands, to assess the most appropriate approach. Consent will also be sought from the patient after explaining the technique. Osteopathy has an excellent safety record. If pain relief can be achieved by osteopathic treatment, the patient will not have to run the risk of the potential side effects of surgery or drugs.
Osteopaths treat a range of musculoskeletal problems and related disorders, without the use of drugs or surgery. Common conditions include back and neck pain, postural problems, sporting injuries, muscle and joint deterioration, restricted mobility and occupational ill-health e.g. repetitive strain injury (RSI).
No. The majority of patients come to see me with back pain but we are trained to examine and treat the whole musculoskeletal system. Often patients will mention another problem and are surprised to find out that this can also be helped. Whatever problems a patient is experiencing, an osteopath will look at the person for restrictions in the joints and muscles in order to make changes to improve the overall health of the person.
No. The majority of people initially come for treatment because they are in pain. However, after having assessed their posture, it often becomes apparent that the problem they have presented with may have been developing for a while, sometimes years. The body is remarkably good at adapting and coping but often one added trauma, be it physical or emotional, can be “the straw that breaks the camel’s back”.
Postural assessments can pick up on potential problem areas. Treatment, exercise and/or advice can be given, to help prevent a crisis point occurring.
When formulating a treatment plan for a patient, aggravating and maintaining factors are looked for. In some instances these can be changed i.e. improving the ergonomics of a desk set up. However, some aggravating factors can be beyond our control, for example stress. In these instances, treatment can prevent a potential problem escalating.
For some patients, maintenance treatment is recommended if they have ongoing factors which contribute to their symptoms. Also for people who suffer from osteoarthritis, maintenance treatment can prove effective at retaining mobility and keeping pain levels reduced.
Initial appointments are up to 60 minutes. This allows time for an initial consultation and for treatment. A detailed case history will be taken; you will be asked about your presenting ailment as well as your general health and personal/family medical background. This consultation is an essential part in diagnosing and managing your condition. An examination of the problem area will be carried out, along with a general postural assessment. This may involve undressing down to your underwear in order for me to fully assess your posture and muscle tone. Some patients prefer to wear shorts and a vest top. A gown is available to wear for your comfort, if you would prefer. You will be asked to perform a few simple movements to assess how your spine and/or other joints are working. Sometimes a more thorough neurological, vascular, respiratory or abdominal screen may also be performed. After the case history and examination, a diagnosis can be made. A suitable treatment plan can then be formulated and explained to you. Sometimes osteopathic treatment is not appropriate and it is necessary to refer patients on for further tests/examinations with other health care professionals. Providing you are happy with the treatment plan that is explained to you, treatment will then be carried out. The number of treatments will vary, depending on the patient and the condition. This will be discussed with you at your first appointment.
Treatment is normally quite gentle but cannot be guaranteed to be completely painless. Some of the deep tissue massage work can be uncomfortable but people often refer to this as a good pain, as it feels effective and is doing them good. You will be asked for your feedback throughout. If you do not like a particular technique, then another treatment approach can be used. Please do not be afraid to say if you do not like a technique.
Post treatment, it can be common to have some soreness and/or stiffness for 24-48 hours. People often report this as being similar to post exercise soreness.
Yes, where appropriate. My personal preference is to apply gentle movement and stretching to joints, to increase joint range of movement along with deep, soft tissue massage. However, I do use adjustment “clicking” or High Velocity Low Amplitude Thrusts. Adjustments are not for everyone. Some people dislike the sensation of an adjustment and would rather have gentler techniques used. They are also not suitable for certain types of people such as the elderly, babies and those with particular health/emotional issues. I will always talk to my patients and get their consent, before applying any treatment technique.
"Clicking" or High Velocity Low Amplitude (HVLA) thrust, helps to restore correct joint movement pattern. The noise which is often heard, is a release of gas into the synovial fluid within the joint space. It is not essential to the effectiveness of the technique. The aim of the technique is to reset the resting tensions within the surrounding muscles, enabling the joint to move correctly. Restoring correct mobility of a joint can lead to reduced irritation to nerves exiting at that level and to an improvement in muscles and organs supplied by that nerve. This is why HVLA thrusts can have effects distant to the site of the technique. It is generally a painless technique but it is possible that some people may experience some muscle soreness for 24-48 hours after an adjustment.
This can vary from person to person. It is quite common to feel stiff and sore after treatment, this can last 48-72 hours. Most people describe this as similar to aching experienced after exercising. Some people report feeling quite tired. If you have any concerns please call us.
This will depend on the area to be treated. It is very useful to ask a person to undress down to their underwear in order to carry out a thorough postural assessment, especially on a first visit. I appreciate that for some people this can make them feel uncomfortable. I provide gowns for patients to wear and ask people if they would like me to leave the room while they change. If you would feel more comfortable, you can bring shorts to change into and ladies could wear a vest top. While treating, I provide a blanket/towel to cover my patient.
Yes that is fine. All patients under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a chaperone.
This is very individual to every patient. At the end of the first treatment, you will be advised as to the likely number of visits required and the intervals between. However, every patient will respond differently. There are many variables; such as how long the problem has been going on, the health and age of the patient, the person’s lifestyle/occupation and compliance with exercise and advice given. The average number of patient visits at the practice is 3.8.
In the majority of cases there are often some very simple exercises that can be done, to enhance your recovery. I am conscious that many people find it hard in their hectic lives to find time to exercise, so I try to keep exercises specific and easy to achieve. However, the patients who comply with the exercises which I prescribe, really do see the benefits and often are then motivated to continue with them, to prevent any further problems.occurring. Where possible, I try to provide a simple exercise sheet to help.
As an overall form of exercise, I have found a large number of patients have really benefited from Pilates. This is a structured way of exercising the whole body, increasing body awareness, improving flexibility and muscle tone. Patients who have ongoing, chronic back problems especially seem to find the benefits and it reduces the frequency of their visits to the clinic. Yoga is also another great form of exercise which helps flexibility, improves muscle tone and aids relaxation.
Dry needling (DN) is an effective way of treating muscular tension and spasm which commonly accompanies conditions such as arthritis, nerve irritation and muscular injuries. It is called “dry” because no solution is injected. It is solely the presence of the needle itself that produces effects within the tissue. After a trauma, or repetitive strain injury, the muscles can go into a protective spasm to try and minimise further injury. This in itself can cause more pain and reduce the circulation to the area. If not treated, this site of hypoxia (decreased oxygen) can lead to fibrosis within the muscles. The muscle then loses its flexibility and its ability to function correctly. Other muscles may have to be recruited to help, resulting in compensation patterns, i.e. altered gait and movement patterns. A very fine needle is inserted into the knotted muscle to create a local irritation, which results in an increase in circulation. Increased blood flow to the area helps to improve flexibility in the muscles.
Technically yes. Acupuncture is the use of a needle which penetrates the skin. Dry needling, often also known as Western Medical Acupuncture, is the type of acupuncture carried out by osteopaths, chiropractors, physiotherapists and doctors. Traditional Acupuncture, carried out by an acupuncturist, is based on Traditional Chinese Medicine. Acupuncturists have completed a four/five year course specifically in acupuncture and treat a much wider range of conditions. Traditional Chinese Medicine works on stimulating the meridian lines to improve overall health. Traditional Chinese Acupuncture and Western Medical Acupuncture are separate and distinct in their methodology, perspectives and practices. Western Medical Acupuncture is an evidenced based form of therapy for treating muscular conditions.
You may, or may not, feel the insertion of the needle. Some patients report experiencing a local twitching, deep ache or cramping and sometimes a brief stinging sensation. This is a therapeutic response and is desirable. The needle may be stimulated a couple of times by twisting very slightly to initiate further response. It should not be unduly uncomfortable and most people report feeling a beneficial effect. After treatment, there may be some soreness that can last a few hours to sometimes two days. Occasionally there may be some mild bruising. Many patients experience no negative or after effects, just positive ones. Some have said that they find the experience very relaxing.
No. Osteopaths are primary health care practitioners and a GP referral is not required, unless this is specified by your insurance company.
Osteopathy is available on the NHS in some areas of the country. However, availability varies greatly and unfortunately it is not available in this area yet.
Initial appointments are £55 and follow up appointment are £42. My average number of patient visit is 3.8. However each person is an individual and an individual treatment plan will be discussed.
Payment is accepted by cash, cheque or card.
Appointments are available at the Wessex Health Clinic in Christchurch on three days a week. It is sometimes possible to arrange at other times on request. Often there is availability at short notice. Please ring and enquire and we will do our best to accommodate you. I provide an early appointment on Tuesdays mornings (8am) and evening appointments on Wednesday and Friday. When not working in Christchurch, I also work at a practice in Wimborne and would be happy to see you there. Please contact me on 07717763405 to book at the Wimborne practice.
The occasional Saturday appointment may be possible on request. There are evening appointments on Wednesdays and Fridays to accommodate people who work during the week. I also provide an early morning (8am) appointment on a Tuesday morning.
Please advise us on booking if you have mobility issues. There is a small step as you come over the threshold at the main entrance but the treatment room is on ground floor and located just inside the entrance. To get to the reception area and the toilet, there is a small step. This would make it difficult for wheel chair users. If you would still like treatment but are concerned about accessibility, a home visit could be arranged. There is a small step on the walk way through from the car park. Parking on the road outside is possible with a disabled badge.
Yes, there is a bus stop directly outside the building. The following buses stop here: 1a, 1b, 1c, 2, 111, and 33
For those coming from further afield, Christchurch train station is just 150 metres away.
Yes. Home visits can be arranged if you are in too much pain to leave the house or you struggle with mobility. Price may vary depending on location.
Many health insurers provide health cover for osteopathic treatment. You should look at your policy in advance to check:
I ask that patients pay us directly and I will then provide them with a receipt so they can claim back the treatment cost from the insurer.
Some policies specify that you can only see an osteopath who is registered with them. I am not registered with BUPA or AXA/PPP.
The title ‘osteopath’ is protected by law and all osteopaths must be registered with the General Osteopathic Council. You can look on the General Osteopathic Council Register to check whether your health professional is currently registered. The register also states the date an osteopath was first registered.
Initially it is best to talk to us to see if we can address your concerns. All osteopath practices have a complaints procedure. The practice complaints procedure can be downloaded here.
If you are not able to satisfactorily resolve the issue, you can contact the General Osteopathic Council to proceed with a formal complaints procedure.
Katherine welcomes feedback from her patients and if you would like to be included on this page please use the online form on the Contact page.
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I was diagnosed in 2017 with severe sciatica, prescribed strong pain killers and placed on a waiting list to see a surgeon. Towards the end of the year, the pain became unbearable, whereby I wasn't able to sit, stand or sleep. In desperation I looked up local osteopaths and found Katherine at Hands on Care. At the first appointment, Katherine went through my history, asked questions and started treatment. Katherine explained very clearly my problems and how she proposed dealing with them. She worked to my pain threshold and was sympathetic to my abilities, and I always felt relaxed and calm during my sessions with her. I have now had four treatments with Katherine and am amazed at the change. I no longer need the pain killers and am able to sit, stand and sleep. I cannot recommend Katherine highly enough; she is approachable, passionate and committed. And miracles do happen.
Thank you Best wishes
Katherine is one of the best osteos I've seen, always taking a holistic view of treatment and clearly outlining to treatment plan. She's seen me through back and ankle issues as well as pregnancy and i wouldn't hesitate to recommend her. I always feel comfortable with her treatments and have had great success with managing chronic injuries.
Thank you Best wishes
I had put up with neck pain for some time and my Daughter-in-law, who attends the clinic, suggested that I make an appointment with Katherine.The pain in my neck extended from my head down to the right shoulder blade, making it difficult for me to turn my head to the right. Katherine explained fully what was happening and put me at ease when she began treatment. Yes it was painful at first but I realised the exercises she asked me to perform would get to the root of the pain. There was improvement after each of my three sessions and I was finally able to turn my head freely to the right without pain and discomfort. From the results of my treatment, I thoroughly recommend Katherine Terry to anyone in pain or discomfort.
I had “mis aligned” my spine/hip when playing with my grandchildren, and was experiencing pain in my lower back and right hip.Treatment was excellent, a thorough assessment, discussion of planned treatment and lessening of pain even after the first treatment. After two treatments I was pain free and I have stayed that way for almost a year. I have recommended Katherine already and will continue to do so. I have great faith that Katherine has the skills for most problems both muscular and skeletal.
Please don’t leave Wessex Katherine!!
I was at first a bit cynical as I had previously been under a chiropractor for my back condition. I found the chiropractor hindered my condition so I stopped going. I had heard good reports about osteopaths so thought I would try it. I have had damaged discs which has left me with a disc bulge. I was also suffering from sciatica and was having trouble standing and sitting.
The treatment I received was amazing. By the end of the first session Katherine had managed to sort out my acute sciatica. She was very thorough and professional. I was in a lot of pain. Katherine was gentle but applied enough pressure to ease the pain. After 4 sessions the results were very positive.
Katherine was very knowledgeable. Her hands on approach and tips for how to manage my back were very helpful. I am now 90% better than I was and at times I am completely pain free. I would recommend this treatment for the excellent results that I received but also because I felt I was in very good hands and that Katherine was a very qualified and professional.
In the 4 years I have had a bad back I have never had such relief. I know I will never be completely cured but if and when I do have a flair up I know I can go back to Katherine and receive excellent treatment. I would like to say a big thank you to Katherine and wish her every success for the future.
I was experiencing persistent low back pain especially on the left side making mobility exceptionally difficult. I had been given pain killers and anti-inflammatory tablets by my GP both of which I am allergic to so didn’t have any help from. Treatment was brilliant. Admittedly I had to have several treatments but Katherine is very good and effective with the way in which she manipulates the affected area. She is deceptively strong.
The benefits of treatments have been wonderful. I am now able to resume my tennis twice a week. My movement is so much easier and painless and so far the problem has not returned. I would definitely recommend Katherine to anyone who has any type of physical problem. She is excellent. I do hope that Katherine’s practice goes from strength to strength and would not hesitate to ask for her help again.
Katherine is a very understanding and I receive excellent treatment, but not just for those problems, I received a thorough check up initially and she has relieved pain and tensions throughout the whole body especially the lower back. She has found muscles I didn’t know I had! She is brilliant and care continues.
A very professional approach, spent time finding out problems and more than one treatment offered i.e. massage and acupuncture, so can treat in different ways. Elbow pain now completely resolved. Stiffness greatly reduced, pain eased. Offered advice for exercises at home. Katherine is kind and caring about patients needs. An excellent service. Would recommend to anyone. Will always use Hands on Care for my aches and pains.
I had been in an accident which meant I could only walk on crutches and unable to get out for treatment. My problem was severe pain in my neck going up behind my ear to my head – turning my neck was extremely painful. Katherine visited me at home, did manual work on my neck and head etc, and also gave me an exercise sheet to follow at home.
There was great improvement and after a while I was able to get to her practice. This was better as she had the facilities, couch etc at her convenience. Her treatment was very good and more extensive. I was always amazed a young lady like her had so much strength and the ability to the pick the most painful area! – and to make such an improvement. If you are unsure or have problems – talk things over with her – I can thoroughly recommend it.
As a fairly new resident of Christchurch, I was very glad to hear of “Hands on Care Osteopathic Practice” early last year. Over the years I have experienced osteopathic treatment for back problems. I sought advice and treatment from Katherine after injuring my right hand. I found Katherine extremely helpful and approachable and felt immediately at ease with her. The treatment and exercise advice she provided soon alleviated the problem for me.
As a strong advocate of osteopathy, I recommend anyone unfamiliar with such treatment to consult Katherine to experience the benefits and relief from pain achievable.
It is a comfort to know Katherine’s practice is nearby in case of any future need for help.
I first contacted Katherine last year as I had a very painful lower back and thigh problems. I found Katherine to be very thorough during the initial assessment and the treatment I received was caring and considerate. She did not mind spending an extra 10 minutes on my treatment if necessary.
I feel that osteopathy has helped me enormously and Katherine is an excellent practitioner and that she is very skilled at her job. Treatment has given me freedom from some of the pain. I was more able to stand up straight without strain. I would most definitely recommend Katherine. She is very good and skilled at her job as an osteopath. The Wessex Health Centre is a useful centre and helpful.
I have suffered from muscle pain whilst walking for a year, and decided to go to an osteopath, and so glad I selected Katherine Terry at the Wessex Health Clinic in Christchurch. On my first visit she asked about my general health and what my problem was this was done in kind manner, after my first treatment it felt a lot easier, and my limping was less, I continued to go every few weeks, and now I walk very freely, all down to Katherine she is so dedicated to her skills, and can say those who are doubtful about this sort of treatment, no need she is the one to see.
Michelle welcomes feedback from her patients and if you would like to be included on this page please use the online form on the Contact page.
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Postural issues associated with scoliosis
Thank you for your brilliant and inspired osteopathy. You clearly have a unique, subtle but very effective approach. And are up to date with modern osteopathy. I have had 45 years of treatment and you are the best and most effective Osteopath to treat me. I wholeheartedly recommend you to all your future patients.
I have lived with chronic migraines and recurrent neck pain for over 15 years and I sought out an Osteopath when my Auntie recommended I see one. I had tried chiropractic and physio treatment and it was only when I went for treatment at Hands on Care Osteopaths with Michelle that things started to look up. Michelle is very knowledgeable and really took time to understand how my migraines and neck pain interrupted my daily life, with gentle treatment and fantastic advice I am in a much better position a year on. Massive thanks to you Michelle.
As someone who has suffered in silence with an ongoing shoulder/neck problem for many years I finally sought out some help. The Hands on Care website seemed very professional so I booked an appointment online which was very easy to do.
But that was only the start Michelle is very friendly and explains her methods clearly in a way that not only relieved any anxieties I had, but also got me interested in the whole process. The treatment itself is not painful in anyway Michelle is very very gentle and her personality and skill keeps you relaxed throughout.
The results for me have been fantastic. Within two appointments the shoulder and neck have improved hugely and after only four appointments the aches and pains have all but gone with more mobility as a result. I was always convinced that this sort of treatment wasn’t for me in the past. But I am happy to admit that Michelle has completely changed my attitude and I’m feeling so much better because of it.
Michelle was excellent today. I’m someone who hates seeing anyone about anything – I’d rather put up with it and hope it goes away! Michelle put me at ease, explained everything in simple terms, gave me plenty of advice, all of which has really helped.
I saw Michelle two weeks before the London Marathon and received amazing treatment for a back and calf injury. I would never have made it round the course without her help. Thank you!
Thank you Michelle for helping me to be more flexible and pain free, it has been such a help.
My back felt ‘freer’ than it has in years- I can bend, twist and bear weight without having to worry about something ‘going’. Nearly a year later, and I’ve had no recurrence of back pain, or twinges. Michelle herself is very professional and yet warm- she explains things clearly, makes sure you are comfortable during treatment, and is interested in you and your progress.
I highly recommend Michelle, she is warm, approachable, professional and knowledgeable. She really knew her stuff, I could feel instant relief. My back got better and my understanding of my own body grew and that is all thanks to her.