I take a very detailed case history with you (ask questions relevant about the symptoms and your general health) in order to; find out why your symptoms are there, find out what’s contributed to these symptoms, and find out why they are still there. On occasion, it has been necessary to refer patients’ to their GP or to another health care professional (with consent) if something is out of the remit of osteopathic care, or to involve another relevant professional’s opinion and care alongside osteopathy.
Following the case history, I may ask to observe you standing, sitting and get you to follow some movements to;
- observe your spine and other joints move in different directions to check the quality and range of movement
- to check your posture and look for patterns in the musculoskeletal system that may be contributing to your symptoms
I may need to complete passive examination of the joints and muscles; this involves hands on movements while you relax laying on the plinth or sitting upright. Throughout the observation and hands on examination, you will be fully aware of what’s going on as everything is explained as we go along; you can also ask questions about what I’m doing and discuss your thoughts as we go.
At the end of the examination, I explain what I’ve seen from the examination, and explain what this means, I will then advise you what I think are the next best steps to take to help you to recover.
This process can take around an hour depending on the complexity of symptoms and case history.
It is helpful for the osteopath to observe the patient’s skin during the initial examination and occasionally during treatments. The reason for this is that observing the patient’s skin can reveal more about the underlying structures as well as the health of the tissues. Therefore, occasionally you may be asked to dress down to your underwear or into vest and shorts that you may wish to bring along, this is entirely your decision and is dependent on whether you feel comfortable to. The most important point is that you are comfortable, so even wearing loose-fitting clothing is also fine. Please contact me if you are worried or have further questions about this.
I can also use a towel or blanket to cover you over areas we are not working on, so that you feel more comfortable and warm.
No, osteopaths are primary health care professionals and can accept you as a new patient without referral. In the case that osteopathic care is not appropriate for your care; I can then refer you to the correct professional via your GP.
It’s important to note that every patient is entirely different in their treatment requirements, as well as every symptom, therefore it is difficult to determine how many or few sessions you will need initially.
However, following your initial examination, I will have an impression as to whether treatment is suitable for you and will let you know what is recommended should you wish to proceed with treatment. If treatment is agreed, the first 2-3 sessions will be reviewed by you and I, as to whether a change or improvement is felt, from here, we can discuss further whether more treatment is required and why that may be. You will never be under any pressure to return or to book lots of appointments, it is a discussion between us depending on the reason you’ve come in and what we can offer you.
Every step of the way the treatment plan is flexible, the patient is always under a ‘working diagnosis’ (this means that the osteopath is always reviewing your symptoms and tissues for response, change and improvement to alter the treatment plan according to diagnosis and recovery).
Therefore, the number of treatments and the nature of treatments are dependent on the results seen and felt from both patient and practitioner. That said, on average I may see patients 2-4 times for a simple case to 6-8 for a more complex scenario, chronic cases can take longer, but treatment only continues if a mutual improvement and benefit is seen. Some patients return regularly for maintenance of an ongoing condition or for a ‘top ups’, this is always following a discussion between us to suit the patients needs and aims and provided I feel you are benefiting from treatment.
While osteopathy does not offer a ‘magical cure or click’ for health conditions, we do work hard to find out what the underlying causes of your symptoms are and help reduce them as quickly as possible using evidence based practice and the latest research in manual therapy. We also give you lots of explanation and information so that you know what to do at home and have a better understanding of your condition, and can advise you whether or not osteopathy can help or whether you may need referral to another health care professional.
All of the components of a patient’s case is carefully considered before offering treatment, the possible outcomes will be discussed, and although we have a lot of positive response from patients, unfortunately sometimes osteopathy doesn’t suit everyone, and is by no means guaranteed as with any medical intervention. The list of areas to consider for treatment on this website may offer you some insight into the breadth of common symptom areas with a description of what can be done.
Not always, but sometimes you may feel discomfort following treatment- this should not be severe- I will always explain likely outcomes following treatment that you may experience, do not hesitate to call me or your GP if you are concerned about any symptoms felt after treatment.
Here are some of the reasons that you may feel discomfort during and after treatment;
• Sometimes orthopaedic tests are carried out to reproduce the symptoms in the examination to establish the area of pain and the structures involved, though great care is taken throughout to minimise discomfort throughout
• during and after soft tissue work some sensitivity may be felt in the muscles
• when you get up following treatment your muscles are active again after being relaxed, and this on rare occasions may provoke a muscle spasm which can be uncomfortable but short lived, we take a lot of precaution to prevent this
• you may experience sensitivity to touch (protective mechanism from the nervous system during pain and injury) which can also trigger a response but this should be short lived, and generally becomes more and more desensitised following treatments
• patients with acute or chronic pain can have very sensitised tissues, and following the examination and having been moved around, the area is more likely to be sensitive for a temporary period afterwards
• Being treated, especially if it is the first time, can leave you feeling ‘worked on’ like the area has had a good work out at the gym, this is normal and patients report that their ‘after effects’ range between a few hours to 2 days before they feel the full benefit of treatment.
If you have any concerns following your treatment, please contact me.