At the initial consultation we ask for a comprehensive history of your medical health as well as your current complaint. These include questions about previous trauma, surgery and illnesses, family history, medications and supplements, and about your exercise and general lifestyle.
After we have and better understanding of your complaint and your health history we do a thorough physical examination. Osteopaths do very specific examinations by touch and movement, looking for tissue quality and movement changes that help to determine areas of sensitivity, joint restriction, muscular tightness, inflammation and other tissue changes that may be related to your complaint. The physical examination will involve looking closely at the problem area and then evaluating it in the context of the rest of your body. After the examination we will have a good idea as to what has happened and will discuss with you how to best treat the issue. Occasionally the next step will be a referral for diagnostic imaging, such as ultrasound, x-ray or MRI scans, but in most cases we will be able to start treatment at the first consultation.
Osteopathic manual therapy can involve a range of different approaches, depending on your particular issue. Manual techniques used in osteopathy treatment include soft tissue stretching and massage, resisted muscle contractions, gentle patient-inherent movements, nerve mobilisation, joint articulation and manipulation.
Treatment doesn’t start or finish on the table though. It’s also important to help you be better educated about your problem, why your body is responding as it is, and how you can help speed up your recovery. This means that we usually also recommend therapeutic exercises so that your recovery can continue as fast as possible in between consultations.
Osteopaths look at the ‘whole’ picture of human functioning so we may therefore also provide some advice on diet, exercise, posture and other aspects of daily life. This comprehensive approach to management will help you to achieve the best possible outcome.
Does osteopathic treatment hurt?Generally osteopathic manual therapy should not hurt and we do our best to ensure that you are comfortable throughout treatment. Occasionally, some techniques used can feel awkward or unusual, but they should not hurt. Treating pain with more pain is rarely a good idea.
How will I feel after treatment?How you feel after treatment depends significantly on the nature of your complaint, whether it is a new or a chronic problem, as well as on your general health.
Some people feel immediate relief. For others, a long course of treatment is necessary before significant improvement is achieved. While it is rare for you to feel worse after treatment, occasionally you may be more aware of your symptoms for a short time. This is usually due to the release of chemicals that make nerve endings very sensitive and is a normal response that will resolve within a day or two.
If we suspect that you may feel some tenderness or short term increase in your symptoms, we will let you know and advise on how to manage this.
When can I get back to my exercise or sports routine?Sometimes it may be necessary to significantly modify your physical activity until your condition is resolved. This depends on what you do for exercise and the severity of your condition.
We will often recommend some simple modifications to reduce the strain on tissues related to your problem and exercises that you can incorporate into your current routine.