You can book an appointment directly with an osteopath or you may be referred to an osteopath by your doctor or other healthcare professional.
Referrals are not mandatory. If booking directly, it is recommended that you tell your regular doctor that you are also seeing an osteopath or ask your osteopath to contact them, so your treatment is complementary to your overall health and wellbeing management.
Your first consultation
Your osteopath is trained to understand how the parts of your body and body systems should work together and what happens if you are experiencing pain, discomfort or have an injury. This initial session can last 30-90 minutes, this will be confirmed when booking. Sometimes, no active treatment or management may take place in this initial consultation.
Case history and assessment
During the initial consultation, your osteopath will ask you about your health problems or concerns, your lifestyle and take case notes.
This will include your medical history, any illnesses, medications you are taking or other factors that may not appear to be directly related to your problem. They will advise you what they may treat or whether you need to be referred to another health professional.
Once an osteopath understands your health concerns and needs, they will carry out a physical examination. Depending on where your injury or pain is, you may need to remove some outer clothing for a proper examination. Patient privacy will be always respected during this process. Be sure to wear comfortable, flexible, and appropriate underwear and clothing.
Your osteopath may carry out some clinical tests. These may include diagnostic, orthopaedic, or neurological tests, or movement and postural assessments, which will help them to determine how best to manage your condition.
The examination may include passive and active movements. The osteopath may lift your arms or legs and you may be asked to bend over or perform an activity.
Osteopathy takes a whole-body approach to assessment and clinical management, so your osteopath may look at the area that is troubling you, as well as other parts of your body. For example, if you have a sore knee, your osteopath may also look at your ankle, pelvis and back.
During this examination, you may be asked to carry out simple stretches or movements to allow the osteopath to analyse your posture and mobility and assess your injury or pain. The osteopath will check the health of your joints, ligaments, and soft tissues by touching the area of concern – this is known as palpation.
Your osteopath will create and suggest a treatment plan to meet your needs, which will be designed specifically for you. This may be carried out over several sessions, depending on your response to treatment.
Osteopathy also involves education and advice, this might include some dietary changes, home exercise programs and lifestyle adjustments.
Any manipulation or hands-on therapy will be gentle but may leave you feeling sore for the first 24 to 48 hours after treatment. If your pain is acute, treatment may be painful at certain points, but your osteopath will ask you to let them know if this happens.