When you come for your first appointment, a double length session is booked so that the osteopath can gather all the information necessary to understand your problem and ensure that it is safe to treat you. Typically this will take about 1 hour.
First a detailed case history is taken. This starts with the story of your current problem: your symptoms, when and how it happened and progression since onset. You will also be asked about any previous episodes, and previous history of other problems including falls, accidents, fractures etc going back to childhood.
The osteopath will also want to know the story of your general health from how you normally feel to history of illnesses, operations and medications. All this information will be related to the context of your everyday life, work and activities to give a full picture of how you have arrived at your current state of health and the factors which may help or hinder recovery.
Normally, you will then be asked to undress to underwear (or shorts and a short top if preferred) so that the osteopath can see clearly and analyse how your body is put together and how it behaves in movement. It is also important to be able to gather clues from skin colour, temperature and texture to the underlying physiology.
If the patient feels uncomfortable with this, they are entitled to have a chaperone if desired and will not be asked to remain uncovered any more or any longer than is necessary. If this is a problem for you, make your osteopath aware of this and discuss whether it might be appropriate for them to treat you in some light clothing.
Some special tests such as taking reflexes or blood pressure may be carried out and occasionally permission will be sought to contact the patient’s GP to request further tests such as X-ray. Usually, a diagnosis is reached and the treatment options including an estimate of the likely number of sessions required are explained. If the patient is content, the session will continue to treatment.
Treatment may consist of a combination of many different techniques. Typically these might include: Articulation- gentle rhythmical movement of joints.
Soft tissue – massage and stretching of muscles and other soft tissues.
Manipulation – or ‘high velocity low amplitude thrust’ (HVT) usually applied to spinal joints which have become restricted to restore their range of movement. This may produce a ‘pop’ or ‘click’. It is rarely painful; occasionally resulting in short-lived discomfort. This is always subject to the patient’s informed consent.
Indirect or Functional techniques – very gentle work often used for children or those for whom stronger techniques would be inappropriate.
Nothing will be done without your consent and your preferences are always respected.
After treatment, some people feel great relief, other may be a little sore and achy for a day or so. You will usually be asked to return for reassessment in 3-7 days depending on the type of problem although in some cases only one treatment is needed. Often, you may be given advice about lifestyle and exercises to speed your recovery. Whatever the case, patients are always welcome to ring for advice and reassurance between appointments.
You will never be required to commit to a given number of treatments in advance and the osteopath will refer you to your GP or another practitioner if their treatment is considered more appropriate for you. We want you to feel comfortable and confident that your wellbeing is our first priority.