During an initial assessment and treatment appointment the osteopathic practitioner will take a thorough case history asking questions about the patient’s medical history and the problem that has brought them to seek advice.
A detailed health history rules out major health concerns and ensures a safe treatment can be provided.
Pulse, reflexes and blood pressure may be checked.
In order to understand the patient’s day-to-day routine questions may be asked regarding diet, exercise and lifestyle, as these may provide clues to help determine the correct course of treatment.
If after assessment the osteopathic practitioner believes the patient would benefit more from seeing another practitioner they will refer you back to your doctor or to another therapist.
The holistic approach of osteopathy means that all systems and structures are assessed as symptoms may not come from the area that the patient is complaining about and there may be several factors contributing to the symptoms that the patient is experiencing.
The osteopathic practitioner will examine your spine, muscles, joints and organs by taking you through various ranges of movements. They use palpation (A diagnostic skill that the Osteopathic Practitioner uses to feel or sense the state of the tissues or systems being examined.) to feel the quality of the tissues (skin, muscles, bone and fascia) and examine the quality of movement within the joints.
Osteopathic treatments are done with the clothes on, and patients are asked to wear loose clothing, thin fabrics, or shorts and a t-shirt for their appointment.
During treatments there is opportunity to explore issues of health, lifestyle and exercise.
The osteopathic practitioner will discuss exercises that you can do to improve your posture and movement in your workplace and everyday life.
Treatment is an active process that requires a close collaboration between you and the your osteopathic practitioner. You are expected to be an active participant in your own healing process.
Often treatment requires soft-tissue techniques applied to specific muscles to improve blood flow and drainage from those tissues. This may be combined with joint articulation, where a restricted joint may be rhythmically moved to achieve a greater range of movement and help relieve pain.
After your treatment, you may experience immediate relief of your symptoms and increased mobility in your body. Some conditions may take longer to respond to treatment.
Osteopathy aims to work within the pain-free range. Treatment should not hurt, but if you have had a problem for a while you may feel a bit sore afterwards, like the day after a vigorous gym workout. This resolves within a day or two and you should feel a lot better.
Each appointment may take up to 45 minutes depending on the issue.
The number of treatments required to resolve a problem depends on how long the problem has been an issue, the patient’s vitality and willingness to cooperate with possible lifestyle change.
Osteopathic treatment is aimed not only at the relief of symptoms, but towards helping the body function better in all respects. Patients often report an improvement in general well being, energy levels, sleep patterns, and also in areas of symptoms other than those that brought them to their appointment in the first place.
With additional exercises and health advice osteopathic practitioners can help to reduce your symptoms, improving health and quality of life.
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