First Visit to Your Osteopath


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If your osteopath works at a large clinic then you may initially go into a reception area where you will need to check in with an administrator. If your local osteopathic clinic is smaller then you may simply need to take a seat and wait for your osteopath to finish with their previous client. Either way, you will need to wait outside the treatment room until your osteopath indicates that it is your turn to go in.

You Medical History, Lifestyle and Diet

Your osteopath will ask you about your past medical history specifically to ensure that you do not have any current or past condition that could make you vulnerable to any particular treatment method. For example, if you have osteoporosis then they will opt for a more gentle manipulative method to ensure that they do not cause you any injury during your osteopathic treatment.

For a similar reason they will ask you about your lifestyle and diet. This is because the amount (and type) of exercise that you do will affect the function of your body and will potentially alter how your osteopath treats you. For example, if you are a keen rower, your osteopath will expect you to have highly developed upper body strength. Equally your diet will affect the efficiency of your immune system and healing process. Depending on the diagnosis found by your osteopath, they may want to offer you some advice on how to alter your diet in order to assist your body’s healing process.

Your Current Symptoms, Pain or Reason for Visiting Your Osteopath

Your osteopath will then ask you all about the history of your symptoms or why you are visiting the clinic. For example, if you are visiting the clinic due to back pain they will want to know what you were doing when you first noticed the pain, how long you have had the pain, what makes the pain better and worse and how much the pain effects your lifestyle. If you are visiting your osteopath for a long term illness this part of the consultation could take a while, but it is important for you to be thorough as the more information you give your osteopath, the more they will be able to help you.

Initial Examination

You will probably find that your osteopath will want to talk to you during your treatment. This is all part of the diagnosis process as it allows them to find out more about you, and the activities that you enjoy and the way that you live your life. Once you have described the history and current state of your symptoms your osteopath may ask you to perform some basic movements (such as bending over or raising your arms) so that they can watch to see how your muscles move. In order to observe your muscle movement your osteopath may ask you to remove any clothing that covers the area where you are experiencing pain.  

Your osteopath may then place their hands on your body and either ask you to repeat some movements or feel around your muscles (or joints etc. depending on the area of your pain). This allows them to use their highly developed sense of touch to feel for any areas of weakness in your body or areas that are under undue strain. By identifying these key points they will be able to identify the condition that you are experiencing.

Your osteopath is able to do this due to their high level of training in anatomy and physiology that means they know how normal physiology should feel like and look like. For example, if one of your muscles is taking more strain than it should be, they will notice this either through observing how you move or feeling the muscle on your body.

Initial Diagnosis and Treatment

Your osteopath will be talking to you throughout the consultation and they will discuss their findings with you. At this point they will give you their diagnosis of your pain or symptoms and suggest the treatment method that they would like to perform on you. Your osteopath will be able to explain as much (or as little) about the anatomy and physiology of the problem as you would like to know so you should feel free to ask any questions that you want at this point.

Your osteopath will probably want to start treating you straight away and will ask you to either lie down on a table, sit on a chair or stand (depending on the area of your body that required treatment and the method of treatment employed). If you are worried about any aspect of the treatment method that they have described then you should ask your osteopath to explain it to you again. If you really do not want to go through with it, then ask them if there is an alternative treatment that you could try. For example if your osteopath wants to give you some deep muscle massage and you would prefer them to do some cranial massage or use laser treatment, then you should feel free to discuss this with them.


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