New Patients - Consulation and Treatment

What should I expect from a consultation and treatment?

At the time of an initial assessment osteopaths aim to diagnose the presenting problem and gain an understanding of the underlying reasons for it. Once these reasons are appreciated it is easier to devise ways of avoiding relapses or reoccurrences. I will share this information with you as improved understanding will enable you to play your part in getting the best from treatment. As well as involving osteopathic manipulation your treatment plan may include advice on posture, diet, lifestyle or stress, if these are contributing to your problem. Osteopaths generally compile an informal programme for your recovery so that you understand what to do in your daily life and when to return for treatment if this is needed. What to do at home, sport and leisure can greatly affect your progress and your part in this treatment is just as important as that of my treatment. Usually treatment is pleasant and rarely painful.

The assessment itself is usually divided into 3 parts:

Firstly I will take a history of your problem as it presents and as you wish to describe it. Questions will be asked about the nature of the pain and how it affects your life and patients are sometimes surprised by the extent to which osteopaths need to know about the range and extent of activities they perform in working and personal life. The osteopath will also need to know about wider issues relating to your present and past general health as this can be relevant to conditions which may mimic mechanical pain.

Following the history it is necessary to examine you and for this it is usually necessary for you to undress to reveal at least the affected area. This is so that you can be examined, but also so that it can be considered in relation to your posture and bodily function as a whole. Once the history and examination has been carried out I will generally have decided what is at fault and what i intends to do about it. I will inform you of this, any further investigations needed and why and what should happen if the initial plan does not deliver the intended results

In the largest percentage of cases I would expect to move on to treatment at the time of your initial assessment. It is often the case that the flow from history to examination to treatment is almost imperceptible, so that they become as one. I will work on the assumption that when you present with a problem you have come for treatment of that problem and therefore your consent is implied. However I will keep you informed of what I am doing and any significant risks as I proceed. That said, if you have attended for advice only, or at any stage become unhappy in proceeding towards treatment then please make that clear too.

By the end of your initial consultation you should have a good idea of what I think is wrong, the treatment intended, a timescale for treatment and a backup plan in the event that the initial plan is not successful

What happens when I return for follow-up treatment?

The focus of follow-up visits is the treatment itself as distinct from the diagnostic process involved in the first visit. I will ask you to undress in a similar manner to the first visit so that manual treatment can be applied in accordance with the treatment plan outlined at the first visit.

At treatment visits I will ask questions regarding the progress of the patient's pain and ability to undertake certain tasks. The strength (dose) of the treatment may be stepped up or down according to the response and techniques used may vary from one visit to another. I will make notes on each occasion so that the rate of change can be monitored carefully. I will keep you informed of how I think treatment is progressing. I often give patients advice on 'do's and don'ts' so they can avoid factors which might hamper your progress.