Will it Hurt?
Pain is subjective.
All you need to do is search the internet for ‘responses to painful stimuli‘ and you will find over 265,000 articles relating to different responses and perception to identical painful stimuli.
Which means, when people ask “will it hurt?” it is pretty difficult to answer with any degree of accuracy.
Osteopathy as a therapy, just like any genuine therapeutic intervention, has the potential to do harm if used wrongly. Prescribing the wrong medication, cutting into the wrong area during surgery, giving the wrong exercise are potentially harmful interventions and are essentially no different to an osteopath performing a technique inappropriately.
But that’s not what most people are talking about. Most people when they ask the question “will it hurt?” are talking about the ‘now’, the ‘immediate’.
In some cases, certain techniques are designed to have a degree of pain built in to the intervention. For example: when relaxing a spamming muscle, one technique is to apply pressure to specific pints on the muscle, eliciting pain. This pain should be held within the bearable parameters and normally, as time proceeds, within about 60 to 90 seconds, the nerve sending the pain signal to the brain ends up running out of the chemical that transmits the message and so, the pain subsides. The result is that the muscle relaxes as a reflex response, but my point is that the pain is actually necessary in this instance.
There are a fair few techniques within the osteopath’s toolbag that may cause transient discomfort or pain during the session, but most of them fade very quickly and many of them leave the patient feeling a lot less pain than they were when they started the treatment session.
What about after treatment?
The most common response to treatment is some level of ‘soreness’. Apparently 4 out of 6 people experience some kind of soreness after treatment. I tend to liken it to the day after a tough work-out at the gym. It is uncomfortable, slightly achy, but normally much less sharp or much less deep pain than the initial complaint.
Very occasionally, pain can increase in the 24 to 48 hours after treatment. That is rare but completely normal and usually fades after that period.
In the end…
I have yet to meet anybody that wouldn’t go through a little bit of discomfort, a little hurt for a short while to get a long-term benefit, especially when it comes to an improvement in overall health and wellbeing.
It may hurt a bit, for some people, ‘a bit’ might be more than for some other people.
Most importantly, though it may hurt to begin with, often it doesn’t hurt either in treatment or after treatment as much as it hurt before treatment, and lets face it, that’s the outcome we’re all looking for.
Will it hurt? Probably, a little bit, and it will make you feel so much better once treatment is complete.