What is osteopathy?

Osteopathy is one of the oldest systems of manual medicine in the Western World.  It originated in Kirksville, Missourri in the 1880s.  The founder was a lay preacher called Andrew Taylor Still.  He was joined by a Glasgwegian Physiologist, Dr John Martin Littlejohn, who brought a bit more science to the discipline.

It’s come a long way since then.  Osteopathy became statutorily regulated in 1997 in the UK.  Nowadays it’s a criminal offence to describe yourself as an osteopath unless registered with the General Osteopathic Council.  Our Clinical Director, Gavin, attended the British School of Osteopathy, which Dr Littlejohn founded in 1915.  Gavin was a Gold Medalist there in 1991 and went on to be a Vice Patron from 2005-2015.  It was renamed the University College of Osteopathy.

What can osteopathy help?

Osteopaths are probably best known for helping people with back pain and sciatica. But, in practice, osteopaths treat people with all sorts of muscular and skeletal problems.

Some osteopaths specialise in treating children.  Some specialise in helping people with other types of health complaints.  At AX we specialise in back pain and sciatica, but can help with all sorts of pains.

What does an osteopath do?

Osteopaths most obvious difference is that they work with their hands to aid recovery. They are qualified to know whether you need further medical tests or investigations.  So, osteopathy is a totally valid first port of call for people in pain.


An osteopath is a skilled diagnostician.  Working out what is most likely causing your symptoms.  The diagnosis is based on what you tell us (your history), any test or investigations you may have had, and our examination.  We’ll explain it to you and what has most likely caused it.

Osteopathy to Assess Function

Osteopaths can work out why you aren’t moving properly.  And what to do about it.  Here at AX we use a Functional Assessment for low back pain.  A Functional Assessment is arguably more valuable to you than a diagnosis.  Because it tells you what you should and shouldn’t do to recover.


We don’t prescribed medication. But we do give lifestyle and exercise guidance.  Googling “exercises for X” is generally confusing and sometimes dangerous.  You can rely on an AX osteopath to give you personalised guidance.

Manual Therapist

We use our hands to apply techniques tha.t support recovery.  Massage techniques, joint articulations, tractions, manipulations. We will use a range of these to help you to feel better sooner.  If you have a preference for techniques you do or don’t like, we will take that into account.


It’s one thing knowing what you should be doing.  Doing it is another matter.  A good osteopath will be your health-coach.  Because changing isn’t easy.  But we’ve got 30 years of experience helping people like you to do what needs to be done to make a long-term recovery.

Should you try osteopathy?

If you have any of the below, you could book to see an osteopath.

  • Back pain
  • Low back pain
  • Sciatica
  • Headaches
  • Neck Pain
  • Shoulder Pain
  • Arm Pain
  • RSI
  • Wrist/hand Pain
  • Hip Pain
  • Knee Pain
  • Sports Injuries
  • Ankle Pain
  • Foot Pain
  • Arthritis