Osteopathy appointment? What to Expect!

Updated: Sep 2

As an Osteopath, my role is to make a patient's journey as easy and pleasant as possible. Knowing exactly what to expect at your initial Osteopathic consultation, can help you to feel prepared and relaxed, ensuring you get the best out of your care.

Most of you have seen a Physiotherapist or Chiropractor at some stage in your life and it's great to hear more and more patients have had at least one course of successful Osteopathic treatment in the past. It seems that awareness of Holistic care is growing in popularity worldwide. Osteopaths have built a good reputation as Health care professionals and physical therapists.

Osteopaths treat all parts of the body, not just backs and we look at all soft tissues, not just bones! Muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, name it! UK Osteopaths have 4 years of training and 1000 hours of clinical placement ( supervised experience treating), before we graduate and cover modules such as Anatomy, Physiology, Neurology, Pathology and Sports Rehabilitation, Nutrition, Pharmacology and more...

I plan to also do a blog highlighting some fundamental differences and similarities between Osteopathy and other manual musculoskeletal healthcare professions, namely Physiotherapy and Chiropractic. Stay tuned!

One of the first questions patients ask before their first ever appointment is, "What do I wear?" Treatment is aimed at restoring mobility and easing pain so massage, mobilisations and stretching is best achieved when there is greater access to regions of pain in the body and connecting areas. Usually shorts and a sports bra enables this and towels are provided. Treatment is often in a private room with the door closed for privacy.

You may be required to fill in a registration forms with your details. A signature is usually required too as written informed consent is a legal requirement in Osteopathy for examination and treatment to take place. All details are confidential as per GDPR regulations.

The initial consultation involves questions relating to your presenting complaint and medical history. I email both the registration and initial consultation form across prior to a patient's appointment to enable me to be prepared and save more time for further questions, physical examination and treatment when in session.

Based on all the information provided and after a thorough physical examination, your Osteopath will form a working hypothesis (a temporary diagnosis), along with a treatment plan. Your Osteopath may explain to you what is going on with your body, possibly also using props or images.

Exercises and stretches may be prescribed though sometimes this is not provided till the second or a later Osteopathy treatment as it can be too much for the body to deal with at first. Treatment already has a stimulating effect towards healing and sometimes is too intense to have had manual therapy and go straight into rehabilitation if you are too stiff and sore.

Sometimes it is possible to address more than one area of pain in the body (Osteopaths view the body as a whole), however the main complaint will need the most "hands on" time usually in the first visit, as patients are often very stiff and sore in this area. It all depends on the nature of your pain- how severe the presenting complaint is and how much time there is available.

Some of my appointments are often 30mins of rehab followed by 30mins of treatment, or a timing tailored to a patient's needs and preferences.

If a patient with poor posture had been this way or in pain for months or for years and years, of course, there will be no overnight cure but usually some relief will be felt with each Osteopathy appointment.

The number of follow up appointments will vary and depend on several factors, including the severity of your diagnosis, how long you've been in pain, management between onset and initial Osteopathy consultation, your tissue response (dependant on your age and health/circulation), and not forgetting your compliance towards exercises and advice out