Sharon Winkler Osteopathy for People & Animals
Please note that due to a fault on the line, our usual phone number is temporarily out of order. Please ring us on 01707 264037 instead.
Telephone: 01707 257880
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The Sharon Winkler Osteopathic Practice - BSc (Hons) Ost, PG Cert (Small Animal Rehabilitation Therapy)
Please note that due to a fault on the line, our usual phone number is temporarily out of order. Please ring us on 01707 264037 instead.
Find us on Facebook  Follow us on Instagram

What to expect during your visit

You may be wondering what to expect during your first visit to our practice. Whether you are visiting us for yourself, your child, your baby, or your pet, our primary concern is that everybody involved feels completely comfortable with every aspect of their treatment.

This page should help you prepare for your first appointment, but we are always happy to answer any further questions you might have.

If the appointment is for your child, the information on this page should help you talk to them about what to expect, or for older children/teenagers you might prefer to let them read our helpful Osteopathy for Children and Teenagers information sheet.

If the appointment is for your pet, please read our "What to expect during your pet's visit" page.

Before your first appointment

We conduct a short telephone conversation with every new patient (or parents/carers of the patient). This means that we can accurately establish whether we are the right team to treat you/your baby or child. We find that this is a much more reliable system than taking online bookings - which we do not take for this very reason.

To make a booking please call us on 01707 257 880 or fill out our contact form and we will be in touch.

What to wear?

We recommend that our patients wear loose, comfortable clothing. Leggings or thin tracksuit bottoms and a vest top are ideal. For adults we will usually ask you to remove your clothes down to your underwear for part of the examination and treatment (we do keep the room warm, but you may prefer to bring a small blanket for your comfort).

Children may be asked to remove their top so that we can easily see their spine, however if the child feels uncomfortable, they can just lift up their top instead of removing it.

We ask parents/carers to undress their baby down to nappy level for their first examination. Once we have completed this assessment, they can either remain in their nappy or get dressed again – whichever they are most comfortable with. For subsequent visits we usually say to keep your baby clothed but do recommend that you dress them in either a baby grow or thin items of clothing.

Where to go?

We treat adults, children and babies in our Chelwood Avenue practice, and animals at The Bishops Veterinary Surgery, both located in Hatfield, Hertfordshire. Free, on-street parking is available at our Chelwood Avenue practice. Adults, children and babies will be collected from your car or met at the front door, then brought upstairs to our treatment room.

What happens during your appointment?

Case history

Once you are settled into our treatment room, we will take a full case history: This involves us asking questions about your/your child’s general health and any medication you or your child are taking, as well as the presenting complaint, including any pain or discomfort.

Treatment room

For babies and children under 16 years, we email a questionnaire in advance to save time during your appointment (and minimise the amount of time the child needs to sit and wait). This questionnaire contains information about the mother’s pregnancy and birth, as well as details about the baby or child’s general health and certain key milestone information.

Please note that parents/carers are asked to remain in the room throughout the appointment when they bring their baby or younger children to see us.

For adults, these questions are asked face-to-face during your appointment. As well as asking questions about your presenting complaint, we do take quite a detailed medical history, including asking about your general health, lifestyle and activity levels. We also ask about any accidents/physical traumas you may have had either recently or in the past, and any medication you may be taking. This helps us to take a detailed ‘big picture’ look at our patients.

All information you share with us will be treated as confidential.

Physical examination and treatment

Following your case history, we usually begin the physical examination by asking you to remove your shoes and some of your clothing, then to perform some very simple movements – this will allow us to observe your/your child’s posture and mobility.

Children tend to enjoy this stage as it feels like they are simply being asked to see how far they can bend in certain directions!

The next stage of the physical examination usually takes place on our treatment couch. We will perform a manual examination by gently assessing the quality of the tissues and identifying areas of tenderness, strain or restriction.

Once we have completed the physical examination, we will formulate a working diagnosis and discuss our findings with you. In some cases, we may ask your permission to write to your GP to arrange further investigations if appropriate.

Treatment involves a selection of osteopathic techniques to influence the joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia, nerves and blood supply.

Osteopathy is a gentle treatment, based on the individual needs of the patient. The techniques we use are tailored to each individual patient, but can include massage, manipulation, stretching and the cranial osteopathic technique.

It is not unusual to feel some mild soreness or stiffness during the first 48 hours after your treatment.

How does this work for babies and children?

Rest assured that we treat babies and children all the time and have years of experience in keeping them happy during their appointment!

With young babies, we will ask you to undress your baby down to their nappy and place them on our changing mat (which we cover in a clean towel). We then assess their body from head to toe. You may wish to bring any favourite small toys to help distract them, but we do also have a small selection of wipeable rattles and toys here should you need them.

Baby Jaxon enjoying his cranial osteopathy session

With older babies and young children, we can work with them from a sitting position, or sitting on their parent/carer’s laps if they’re not a big fan of lying still! We sometimes provide books and suggest that the parent/carer reads to their child to distract them if they seem concerned, or simply to relieve any boredom. We have even been known to sing to babies and children who might benefit from a little extra entertainment! We also completely understand that babies and young children may need a feed or nappy change during their session, so don’t worry; we are used to working while you take care of those needs.

We are extremely careful not to make children feel embarrassed or uncomfortable during their treatment. Having worked with babies through to teenagers for many years, we are adept at keeping a lively dialogue going throughout their appointment, and in most cases find that it is best to explain what we are doing as we go – but always taking our cues from the child in terms of what they are comfortable with.

Any older children or teenagers preparing to visit us might like to read our downloadable Osteopathy for Children and Teenagers information sheet.

How long will it take?

First appointments will usually take about 1 hour, with any follow-up appointments taking around 30 to 45 minutes.

Follow-up care

Any follow-up appointments will be discussed during your first appointment.

Your treatment plan will often be directed towards avoiding further injury and home exercises may be given.

We pride ourselves on our patient follow-up care and work closely with you to ensure you feel confident with any exercises and techniques to aid with your/your child’s ongoing care.

It is our firm belief that visiting an Osteopath should be a relaxing and positive experience, whatever your age! As a small and friendly practice, we are always happy to provide any follow-up advice you might need after your appointment, or even just to have a quick chat if you have any questions about your/your child’s musculoskeletal health, whenever you need us.

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Areas Covered include Barnet, Brookmans Park, Harpenden, Hatfield, Hertford, Hitchin, Letchworth, Knebworth, Potters Bar, Radlett, Stevenage, St. Albans, Watford, Welham Green, Welwyn & Welwyn Garden City