A first appointment generally lasts about 45 minutes to an hour to allow the osteopath adequate time to:
- listen and ask questions about your problem, your general health, other medical care you are receiving or medication you are taking, and record this in your case notes. The information you provide will be confidential;
- examine you properly. It is likely the osteopath will ask you to remove some of your clothing. If however you are uncomfortable in doing this it is better to let your osteopath know as sometimes lifting a jumper or trouser leg will do. You can ask a friend or relative to accompany you and be present throughout your treatment;
- ask you to make simple movements and stretches to observe your posture and mobility. Because of the body’s structure, pain or stiffness you are experiencing in one part may be linked to a problem elsewhere;
- examine the health of the joints, tissues and ligaments using their hands and a highly developed sense of touch called palpation.
Your osteopath will also check for signs of serious conditions they cannot treat and may refer you back to your GP. This will often be in a form of a letter explaining what they believe to be the problem.
Osteopaths use a wide range of gentle manipulations, depending on your age, fitness and diagnosis.
Treatment is different for every patient but may include techniques such as different types of soft tissue massage and joint articulation to release tension, stretch muscles, help relieve pain and mobilise your joints.
Sometimes, when we move joints you may hear a ‘click’. This is just like the click people get when they crack their knuckles.
We may discuss exercises that you can do to improve your posture and movement in your workplace and everyday life.