An overview to your first visit to the Osteopath:
On your first visit to the clinic a full case history will be taken. This includes the presenting complaint you have - asking a range of questions as to the onset, the nature of the pain, what makes the pain worse or better, and other questions relating to the problem. You will then be asked about any previous musculo-skeletal problems you may have had such as car accidents, broken bones, and visits to other therapists. This is followed by some questions about your general medical health and history, such as previous illness, operations and medical conditions, your family history and any medication you are taking. It's always useful to have some thought about this prior to the first visit and a list of medication makes it much quicker for the osteopath to see what you are taking. If you have any scans or x-rays bring these too. After the case history if the osteopath thinks it's ok to continue you will be asked if it's ok to examine you. Sometimes it may not be needed as the osteopath may want to refer you to your GP for further investigation or may simply explain that your problem cannot be helped with osteopathic treatment.
For your first visit you may be asked to undress down to your underwear for an examination. This will usually start with an observation of your posture and you performing some movements to help assess the degree of the problem and how your body is functioning. Osteopaths tend to look at the whole picture to help not only find the diagnosis but also the cause of your problem. You will only be asked to disrobe as far as necessary to allow the osteopath to see what is needed. Next you may have some special tests performed such as a neurological examination, heart and lungs checked and blood pressure taken (very much like your GP would do). Then the osteopath will move your joints, palpate your joints and muscles to locate the problem and provide a more accurate diagnosis. After this you may be told you can put some clothing back on, or may request a towel to maintain your modesty. You can always refuse to undress but often it does allow for a full assessment. We do not wish to offend people due to their religious beliefs so please feel free to always voice your concerns.
Diagnosis and Treatment:
Once you have been examined the Osteopath will discuss the findings and the outcome. You will be told of the diagnosis and possible options of treatment available to you. Included in this will be the risks and benefits of such treatment. Sometimes patients can feel a little sore or stiff after some treatments while the body is recovering. Before any treatment is given you need to understand the diagnosis and the treatment so that you can give the Osteopath your informed consent to treat you. All forms of osteopathic treatment are used at the clinic ranging from gentle release work to strong articulation, the use of manipulation and massage, fascial unwinding, cranial and visceral work - these will be explained before being applied.
If at any time you feel ill at ease always tell the osteopath so we can accommodate the concern. During following visits you may be asked more questions or have more examination to help get to the root cause of your problem. If you have not seen the Osteopath for over a year or have a new complaint you may need a full case history again. You may wish to bring a chaperone with you if you feel more at ease with someone with you. Please know that osteopathy is a hands on approach to treatment, we aim to cause as little discomfort as possible and will give you the best service we can provide. In return we would ask our patients to be honest with us and to communicate any concerns they have.