Osteopaths are highly skilled professionals who are trained in diagnosing health issues, including those which may require further investigation.
When you first visit your osteopath some time will be spent taking a medical history, including questions about general health and lifestyle as well as asking about the symptoms or injuries you are seeking help with. All information will be treated as conﬁdential in accordance with the standards of practice set out by the General Osteopathic Council and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), May 2018.
With your consent, the osteopath will then perform a physical examination which is likely to involve her touching the areas of the body that are experiencing pain and asking you to move around to assess your posture and the way you move. Your osteopath will feel for changes in your muscles and joints and examine these areas to identify problems. They may also assess your posture and the way you move. Sometimes the cause of the problem may be in a different area to the pain, so they may examine your whole body.
She may undertake tests such as taking your blood pressure or testing your reflexes. She may also look at tests results, x-rays and scans reports if these are available.
It may be necessary for the osteopath to ask you to remove some clothing, so she can see and touch the areas of the body causing concern. You are welcome to bring somebody with you into the examination room if you would feel more at ease. You can also bring with you clothing such as shorts, t-shirt or close ﬁtting garments, that will enable her to work effectively without making you feel uncomfortable.
Under 16s must be accompanied by a legal guardian.
Your osteopath will then make a diagnosis and discuss a course of treatments with you. You will then jointly decide an appropriate and suitable treatment plan, and the likely associated costs. This plan may involve several visits for manual therapy, some exercises that you can do by yourself and some lifestyle changes. Very occasionally, further tests and/or referrals to another appropriate health care professional.
Your treatment may begin at your ﬁrst appointment and the osteopath will ask for consent before beginning. You may experience mild discomfort afterward, but in most cases, this will pass within 24 hours. If you have any concerns about your treatment you are encouraged to discuss them further with her.
Osteopathic care is based on the individual needs of the patient and so varies depending on your age, ﬁtness levels and diagnosis. Osteopaths use a wide range of gentle hands-on techniques that focus on releasing tension, stretching muscles, and mobilizing joints. These are often used together with exercise and helpful advice designed to help you relieve or manage your pain, keep active and maintain the best of health. Research has shown that manual therapy such as that used by osteopaths, can have beneﬁcial effects, especially for back pain, helping you to return to ordinary movement and activity. The health risks associated with having osteopathic treatment are extremely low. If you have any concerns about your treatment, we encourage you to raise them with your osteopath who will be happy to discuss them with you.
It is natural in most circumstances to worry about your symptoms and the cause. You can be conﬁdent that your osteopath will always complete a routine examination that checks for more serious diagnoses and will advise and discuss with you any further action that might be required.
Dependant on your case, your osteopath may suggest that you seek further tests before your ﬁrst treatment, for example, blood tests or scans. They may also recommend that you consult your GP or another appropriate healthcare professional for onward care.