FAQs


What's the difference between an osteopath, physiotherapist and a chiropractor?

We all have similar training. Although there may be some differences between the professions, it is nothing compared to our differences as individuals. So my advice is find the person and their style that best suits you. Judge the professional not the profession.

It’s better for patient and practitioner when they have got to know each other. If you feel someone is not suited to you then try someone else. It’s often best to go on a personal recommendation. The majority of the patients at the Maxwell Clinic have been personally recommended by friends or family members.


How many appointments will I need?

This is where you will have good communication from your osteopath. It will depend on your symptoms and condition. Most acute back pains can get better very quickly with just two visits, and over a time period of 2 to three weeks. It is our role to assess and evaluate your symptoms and explain expected time frames for recovery.

Most patients will improve very quickly, often over a few days. Some conditions will take longer and are better judged week by week rather than day by day. Patients may not like to hear this but it is realistic and can avoid frustration and confusion.

Some people expect a miracle or instant fix for their symptoms. Sorry no miracles, but we can provide a realistic healthy natural approach to resolving peoples conditions as quickly as possible.


Do I have treatment on my first visit?

Our first treatments are 45 minutes and this includes time to take a thorough case history where we discuss your problem and start the diagnosis process.

We then go through a movement assessment which is where we find out what your problem is and why it has happened.

We leave plenty of time to have a full treatment on your first visit.


What is a slipped disc?

It’s a term that’s commonly used, but not by health care professionals. It conveys a shocking image associated with the sensation of severe back pain. It refers to the discs that are in between our backbones, that might slip out – perhaps like a bar of soap!

It conveys a thought that they might slip back in and out again easily. It’s a scary thought, but the good news is that it’s not true.

The intervertebral discs are super strong and tough. Unlike the analogy of the soap, they are firmly attached into the bones. They can get stresses and strains, they can bulge, tear, herniate (where the gel inside the disc can ooze out) and wear down, but even that doesn’t mean it will be painful.

Surprised? It’s now known that people can have some of these issues and feel just fine. However, disc injuries can be painful – they can cause sciatica for example (irritation of the nerve running down the leg to the foot.)


What are your fees?

First consultation and treatment is £50.

Any follow on or routine appointment is £40.

You can pay by cash or card.

We can provide on request either a written or digital receipt for your sessions. You can ask your health insurer if they will cover your treatment costs.


Can I claim through my health insurer?

We are covered by most healthcare insurers including AXA-PPP, Vitality, Simply Health, BUPA and many others.

Please ensure that you check your policy as there is often an excess payment.

We always recommend that you call your insurer first to get your authorisation code and to check whether you need a referral from your GP first.


What should I wear to my appointment?

Firstly, wearing clothes that you feel comfortable moving in will help us greatly in assessment and treatment. We can treat through light clothing like gym wear, but it is difficult to treat effectively through jeans and smarter clothing like a shirt and trousers which are less flexible.

For certain problems we may need you to remove an item of clothing so we can see how your body moves and provide more effective treatment, but if you are uncomfortable with this please tell your practitioner.

We have towels which we can lay over you when you are being treated to keep you warm and comfortable.


Should I come if I am in extreme pain?

Most of the time we can help people who are in extreme pain and it is worth a visit to get things moving in the right direction.

However, if you are really struggling to move please call and have a chat with one of our practitioners over the phone. We will help decide if and when treatment is the best option.


Can I prevent this from happening again?

Absolutely, but the ball is in your court. There may need to be some change or an introduction of new habits that can improve your physical wellness. The pain that comes with some back spasm should certainly encourage you to try. There are no absolutes but we can guide you to take steps to limit or prevent future episodes and rediscover feeling healthy both physically and mentally.


What is osteopathy?

Osteopathy is one of the main treatments for various muscle and joint conditions:- like back pain. Treatment may involve massage and movement of your joints often combined with advice to help you understand, manage and resolve your own symptoms.

People see an osteopath primarily because they have symptoms they believe are related to their muscles and joints. Most often feelings of pain, tension, stiffness, headaches, pins and needles and sometimes symptoms related to things like stress and anxiety.

It uses thorough clinical assessment combined with physical treatment that makes changes that promote natural healing. It does not involve any medication, injections or operations. It is a form of physical therapy, like physiotherapy or chiropractic.

All Osteopaths undertake a 4 year clinical BSc honours degree that emphasises the study of anatomy, musculoskeletal conditions and osteopathic techniques.

Osteopathy can identify and help address factors that caused your symptoms. Osteopathy can guide you beyond recovery from back pain to improve your health, fitness and wellness.


Should I apply hot or cold?

Either can suit but it may depend on the condition, so it is best to take the advice of the practitioner that you are seeing.

For muscular tension conditions or spasms we recommend heat. Most times heat is relaxing and soothing.

Cold may have a numbing, pain relieving effect. On certain joint strains some local cold application is better early on.

Different people respond in different ways. If you’ve experienced benefit from either hot or cold application that worked for you then that’s fine. We recommend applying the heat/ice for 10 minutes and always cover with a cloth or tea towel to reduce the intensity.


Is it best to keep moving or rest?

Nearly always to try to keep moving but this is dependent on the nature, severity and stage of your condition. You should definitely take direct advice from your osteopath or the professional that has seen or spoken to you.


What is the clicking sound from my joints?

There are various clicks, pops and cracking sounds that your body makes when it moves.

The vast majority are normal and healthy. Most times it is a good feeling – like something is unsticking or releasing.

There are some cracking, grinding sounds that we feel, often in the neck. Usually this is worse when we are tired, tense or in pain. Our muscles tighten and squeeze surfaces together – it improves as the muscles relax.


Do I have to be clicked?

No you do not have to have your back clicked. The clicking or popping sounds we hear from your joints can feel wonderful for some people but for others they don’t like it.

You are seeing an osteopath to relax, feel and move better. We have lots of other ways of helping your muscles move and unwind. We have to discuss and decide what ways suit you best. It’s definitely not a one size fits all.


Does treatment hurt?

We follow strict rules that treatment should not hurt. We encourage our patients to tell us how the treatment feels and if it is too much then we will reduce the pressure applied.

However, it should be noted that there is a difference between tenderness and pain. There will be times where we may have to press firmly on the body to make the structural change that will lead to healing, and this can feel tender, but it should be a ‘nice’ tenderness.


Should I see my doctor first?

If you have any worries that you have an illness, or want to run something by your doctor first, you should always check with them to put your mind at ease.

However, most back and joint pain can be treated straight away with us, without the need for a referral.

We have a close relationship with our local GPs and if there is anything we want to get checked out, we can write a referral letter so that you get the right care you need.

Some insurers do require you to see your doctor first, so when you have a new injury we always recommend calling your insurer first and seeing if you can come straight to the clinic or if you need a GP referral.


Do you have parking?

There is free parking all around the clinic. If you’re lucky, you can park in one of the bays right outside.


Is there disabled access?

We have a partially disabled facility. We have no stairs and there is room for wheelchair access however unfortunately we do not have a disabled toilet.


How do I find you?

We have detailed information and maps with our location and how to get to us on foot, by car, by train or bus.



Any other questions?

Our reception staff will be very happy to answer any questions about the clinic, booking appointments and any practical issues. They can also arrange for you to speak to one of our practitioners about how we may be able to help you or any concerns you have.

Give us a call on 01992 443 026.

Hertfordshire Osteopath Maxwell Clinic
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