A full case history is required. The osteopath will ask basic details such as date of birth, occupation and active hobbies. The aim is to build up a picture of how you use your body – this is important: a 25 year old bricklayer who plays football twice a week will need different treatment from a 55 year old accountant whose idea of physical exercise is playing bridge occasionally.
Full details of the problem you have come in for are then taken:
- When and how it started
- What factors aggravate or relieve the pain
- Any other treatments which have been given
- Any medical tests carried out
Your Medical History
Your previous medical history is also important. For example, a badly broken leg which has healed shortened may be a factor in the cause of back pain, due to the imbalance produced across the pelvis. All sorts of long-ago events have changed the way you use your body, and that, in turn, contributes to how it is now.
For the next stage patients are normally asked to undress to their underwear so that the joints, muscles and posture can be examined. If you do not wish to undress, or would prefer to have someone in the room with you, please let us know.
You will probably be asked to do some simple movements and any other clinical tests that may be necessary will be done. These may include testing your reflexes, taking your blood pressure, listening to your heart and lungs, examining your eyes or your ears – in fact many of the clinical tests any doctor might perform. We will explain what has been found and outline the proposed treatment. Occasionally at this point the consultation may end, if we feel that more tests are required before starting the treatment, or if your case is not suitable for osteopathic treatment. Assuming it is appropriate, a short treatment will be carried out on your first visit. Subsequent appointments involve a quick re-examination followed by a longer treatment.
Your response (or lack of response) to the first treatment gives us important information, both about the diagnosis and about the way your body responds to our treatment. This is important in deciding a treatment plan.
The majority of patients see good improvements in their symptoms within three treatment sessions. If this is not happening then you may be referred back to your GP for further tests.
Some patients are understandably nervous, especially at their first appointment with an osteopath. You are very welcome to bring a friend or relative with you. If you give us advanced notice, we may also be able to arrange for a chaperone if required.