Meet Our Osteopath – Natalie Nicolas MOst
Introducing new team member here at The Therapy Rooms, today’s blog is a chat with Natalie, our osteopath.
How Did Natalie Get Started?
Natalie has been an osteopath since 2014, qualifying at Swansea University. She explains that as teenager living in Spain her ambition was to be a doctor but after work experience in a hospital realised that environment wasn’t for her.
Her mum was seeing an osteopath, and Natalie found she was interested in what it involved and the natural, holistic side. She says: “I love helping people, and it’s great to be able to get to know them well and address the problems that doctors don’t have time to help with in hospital.”
Natalie believes it is important to build rapport with patients. Osteopathy can help people in a more holistic way, not just physically.
Who Needs to See an Osteopath?
Osteopathy is based on treating musculo-skeletal problems, so that’s joint pain, muscular damage and so on. It’s mostly people with back or neck pain, or chronic pain or injury, and this is what Natalie focuses on.
There are no typical patients – they can be athletes, office workers, children or even babies. Anyone is suitable for the treatment, and you simply vary the technique accordingly.
What is the Difference between an Osteopath and a Chiropractor?
The two practices are quite different, but what they do share is using manipulation. Chiropractic is based on the idea that any ailment in the body is based on a spinal dysfunction – different vertebral segments give rise to different nerves which control areas of the body.
Chiropractors believe that when one of the segments isn’t working properly, such as muscle tightness or joint stiffness, can lead over time to dysfunction of the nerve, which in turn leads to pain.
Osteopaths don’t work on the spinal model, and favour the traditional model that you can have a knee problem caused by the knee, rather than the spine, although they do treat holistically and look at other body pains.
When they manipulate or ‘crack’ a joint, they do this to restore the movement in it, whereas a chiropractor does so to relieve pressure. It may have the same result, but the philosophy is different.
What Can Someone Expect at an Osteopathy Appointment?
Natalie explains: “Firstly, I book people in for a one-hour consultation. I ask the patient to tell me what the problem is and what they think is causing it. I’ll also prompt them to talk about the case history, when the pain started and if it’s better or worse at certain times, as well as their health and medication.”
The information gathered helps Natalie to narrow down the potential cause of the pain. Once that’s all covered, she does an assessment, which varies depending on the case history.
The assessment usually involves removing clothes down to underwear and shorts, and Natalie watches the patient walking and moving to see if there’s anything noticeable which could have contributed to the pain, including looking at the spine for any clues. Then, she focuses on the area of the pain, and moves the joint for the patient.
At this point, she formulates a working diagnosis of what the pain is most likely caused by, as it’s not always possible to be completely certain. Natalie then creates a treatment plan from the diagnosis.
Treatment usually consists of soft tissue therapy (i.e. massage), joint mobilisation to help it move better, manipulation, which is a stronger form of joint mobilisation and usually happens on the spine. Sometimes she also demonstrates stretching and resistance movements the patient can do at home.
Within four to six treatments, patients should have seen an improvement in the symptoms. If they don’t, Natalie will reassess and see if there’s anything she can change in the working diagnosis or refer to the NHS pathway if appropriate.
Natalie says: “One of the best ways way to understand osteopathy it is to come and experience the treatment for themselves.”
A telephone assessment can be made to check you are suitable before booking a course of treatment.