What happens when you come and see me?
An osteopathic treatment starts as soon as you pick up the phone or make an appointment. I will often have a chat with you over the phone and talk you through any specific questions you may have about what is happening to you, or if I feel that you need to see someone else I will always tell you on the phone, especially if I am in any way concerned that you urgently need to see a doctor.
When you arrive at the clinic I will sit and have a chat with you for around 20 minutes in most cases. This is a chance for both of us to establish a professional relationship. It lets you tell your story in an unhurried manner, and enables me to ask specific questions to help me to start to make a diagnosis of what I think might be going on. This is a very therapeutic time for you as a patient, to really get to the root of the problem, ask questions and allay any fears you might have.
The next section of your appointment is called the examination. This part is when you might be asked to remove some of your clothing. It is entirely up to you whether you are comfortable getting undressed to suitable underwear or if you are not, then wear loose fitting clothes. If I need to look at an area of your body such as your back I can just lift a top up. This is sometimes necessary to check for swelling, heat or bruising. I will have a look at your posture, from your big toe to the top of your head to really try and understand what is going on and what is causing your particular symptoms. No two people are the same, two different people describing similar conditions will look completely different. This is where osteopathy comes into this own…… we look at what we see in front of us on that particular day. We look at the whole body not just the sore bit, or the bit that feels uncomfortable.
I may ask you to move in certain directions so I can see how a particular part of your body is free to move. I might also do some more specific movements for you, such as lifting your arm or leg, so I can feel how an area of your body is free to move. I might also do some more specific musculoskeletal tests to see if I can home in on your particular problem. We are also taught to take blood pressure, measure muscle strength and reflexes, observe ears and eyes. These are a few examples of the skills taught at undergraduate level.
Once I have got a good idea of what is going on in your body and what the cause might be, I will sit down and explain exactly what I have seen, why I think it has occurred and what course of action I might take. This is where you get to ask lots of question to make sure you fully understand what I am saying and why. We will then have a chat about what I might, or might not, be able to do to help. If I think you need further testing I will refer you on to see your GP, or if I think I can help we will discuss how many treatments you might need and what the treatment will entail. This is called consent and is a very important part of any treatment you get. You need to fully understand what is going on, why it has happened, what treatment is going to involve and any possible side effects that the treatment might have. Once you have given consent, treatment will then commence. This may involve many different forms of contact; massage, moving of a joint, stretching of muscles and soft tissue, cranial osteopathy to name but a few.
In my clinic, treatment doesn’t stop once you leave the clinic. In most cases I will give you some homework such as stretches or strengthening exercises, or using hot or cold therapy. You will always have the option to call me up or send me a message with any concerns, questions or advice you might need or have.