If you’re experiencing sore muscles, back pains or hip issues, visiting an osteopath can help remedy your problems with simple ‘hands-on’ techniques such as stretching and massaging, without any invasive medical procedures or medication.
While osteopathy treatments can be healing and relaxing, your first visit to an osteopath will likely have you brimming with questions on the overall procedure and how best you can prepare for your appointment.
If you’re visiting an osteopathic treatment centre for the first time, here’s what you should expect from your osteopath and how your appointment will progress.
Before Your Appointment
Before we begin, you should be aware that you do not require a prior referral from a GP to visit an osteopathy treatment centre for an appointment, so it’s worth giving an osteopath a visit to find out if osteopathic treatment is suitable for you.
Once you find an osteopath or practice you’re comfortable with, feel free to call or email the osteopathic treatment centre you are visiting before your appointment if you have any questions.
Often, the best remedial massage therapists will be happy to discuss any concerns you may have and provide details on what the treatment involves, payment methods, and anything you need to know in advance of your first appointment.
It’s also advised to wear shorts and short-sleeved tops/t-shirts during your appointment to feel more at ease during your physical examination and treatment session.
During The Appointment
At the start of your appointment, your osteopath will begin with a brief initial consultation to determine your problems, with questions about the types of pains you’re experiencing and how they manifest in your day-to-day activities. Other possible questions can relate to your lifestyle, medical history, and medication history, which can help your osteopath further determine the cause of your pains and how best to remedy them.
This process takes around 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the individual. The information will be recorded for future reference and is strictly private and confidential.
2. Physical Examination
Once your osteopath has a good idea of your symptoms and medical history, they will proceed with a physical examination to uncover any weakness, tenderness or tension in your body.
You may be requested to remove some pieces of clothing, so your osteopath has better access to the areas causing you concern. You should have a gown or towel to change into, but inform your osteopath beforehand if this makes you uncomfortable. You can also have a friend or family member accompany you during your appointment for reassurance.
During the examination, your osteopath may request you to do general movements and stretches to determine your mobility and assess how your musculoskeletal system functions.
If your osteopath path discovers a condition that can’t be remedied by osteopathy, they may advise you to see a GP for further treatment.
Once an initial assessment has been made, your osteopath will inform you about what may be causing you pain and what can be done to treat the problem.
Your osteopath will only perform physical treatment with your consent and complete understanding of what the treatment will entail, which can involve hands-on manipulation of your spine, shoulders, and joints, and massaging of soft tissue.
If this is your first time at an osteopathic treatment centre, you’ll most likely start with a remedial massage handled by a remedial massage therapist. Remedial massages relieve knotted, tense or immobile muscles and tendons and aim to make you feel more relaxed and reduce your pain.
Osteopathy treatment is not necessarily uncomfortable, but do inform your osteopath if you feel any pain during or right after your treatment. Be sure to communicate with your osteopath if you’re unsure about any part of the treatment process.
It is pretty common to feel sore or stiff for the first few days after an osteopathic or remedial massage treatment. You should recover quickly on your own, although do inform your osteopath if this isn’t the case.
Your osteopath will also recommend specific exercises or lifestyle changes that can help your recovery and prevent recurrence or worsening of your symptoms. They will also inform you if you may need more than one treatment session to resolve your problem and how your treatment will progress moving forward.
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