Osteopathy aims to take into account the person as a whole when treating a patient, and not just homing in on the bit that hurts. The ‘whole’ entails everything from the person’s movement patterns to their medical history, injury history, psychological stress, occupation, personality type and so on. Osteopaths work on the basis that all of these factors can contribute to the condition that the patient is presenting with on that day. The skill is to determine which of factors are important in each particular case. Thus osteopathy is a very individualised system of diagnosis and treatment.

Osteopathy combines hands on treatment methods such as massage, mobilisation and manipulation – with active approaches including exercise prescription, and a focus on ongoing back and forth communication to try to educate the patient clearly on their condition and the steps needed to help.
Osteopaths treat all musculoskeletal conditions (not just backs!). Osteopathy is sometimes famed for spinal manipulation (‘back cracking’) in reality these techniques are useful with some patients to help with joint mobility but are not the sole focus of the treatment.