Your First Visit
The first consultation lasts between 45 – 60 minutes. The osteopath will take a detailed case history including the symptoms you are suffering at present, when they started and how they affect you in your every day life. The osteopath will ask detailed questions about your general health, accidents and trauma that you have suffered in the past, your past medical history including illnesses and operations and any other relevant areas of health. Please bring details of any medication you are taking and, if available, the results of any X-rays, scans or tests. You do not have to see your GP before seeing the osteopath, but we are happy to liaise with your GP (with your consent).
This is followed by an examination and treatment. You may be asked to perform simple movements in order to assess your condition. All new patients will have their blood pressure taken. It may also be appropriate to undertake other tests of your nervous system, as nerves are often affected by joint problems. Your reflexes, sensation ability and strength may be checked. The osteopath will assess your muscles, ligaments, joints, connective tissues for their general health state and any particular strain patterns. For osteopaths our palpation is like reading a book, and we try to quietly 'tune in' to the body to allow it to reveal aspects of its health state. From this we make our diagnosis.
The examination and treatment are both very gentle, and all parts of the body are considered because the cause of a problem is often some way away from the area of symptoms. For example do not be surprised if you come in for headaches and find the osteopath treating the low back too as misalignment in one area can affect elsewhere.
The osteopath will be trying to get a complete picture of you as a person, when and why your health started to go wrong. By understanding the true cause of the problem (which may have been something like a car accident ten or fifteen years ago), the cause of the problem can be treated, which is so much more effective than simply treating the effect (ie. the symptoms) - when it is likely that the problem will recur in the future. Osteopathy is a truly holistic system of health care.
Your osteopath will discuss their findings with you, and will firstly inform you if they think that osteopathy can help your condition. If they feel that your condition isn’t amenable to osteopathic treatment, you will be referred back to your GP or relevant health practitioner. A referral letter will be given for you to take with you (with your consent).
If the osteopath feels they can help your condition, they will discuss the benefits of the various treatment approaches eg soft tissue massage, stretching techniques, cranial osteopathy, manipulation, acupuncture, and will get your input as to your preferences. Where possible we will try to give you an idea of how many sessions you are likely to need. Most conditions respond within 3-4 treatments; chronic problems can take longer. You will be given advice about lifestyle and exercises that you can do at home to help the treatment. In some cases where appropriate maintenance treatment eg. once every 2-3 months may be beneficial.
Any information given during the consultation and treatment is completely confidential.
If you have any questions please ask at anytime during the examination or treatment. If at any point during the examination or treatment you wish to stop the session just let the osteopath know.