The first visit to an osteopath will run along the same lines as an initial visit to a General Practioner. A complete medical history is documented and questions asked about lifestyle, diet and emotional status are documented as well. The osteopath will want to hear about all of your symptoms, as well as details of any past accidents or traumas even if they may seem unrelated to the patient’s current problem.
The osteopath will then evaluate the patient’s posture and how they are using their body to identify any obvious mobility impairments. Typically, the osteopath with then conduct a series of neurological and orthopaedic tests to eliminate possible underlying pathologies and differentiate the basis of the patient’s complaint(s).
The initial consultation will take around 45 minutes to complete, after which the osteopath will be able to offer a diagnosis and discuss a treatment program. Treatment could include techniques ranging from soft tissue stretching (which increases blood flow and improve flexibility of joints and muscles) to articulation which mobilizes joints by being passively taken through their range of motion.
Because osteopathy emphasizes self-healing, an osteopath may also advise dietary changes, home exercise programs and lifestyle adjustments. All treatment programs are highly individualized and depend exclusively on the patient’s current condition, past history and ability to adapt to change. Most simple problems often require 3-4 treatments.
If the diagnosis is one that requires further investigation or specialist intervention, an osteopath will suggest a referral to an appropriate practitioner. Osteopaths often treat in conjunction with General Practioners, Dentist, Podiatrist and other health care professionals.