What is Osteopathy?
Osteopathy is a form of manual medicine which recognises the important link between the structure of the body and the way it functions. Osteopaths focus on how the skeleton, joints, muscles, and connective tissues function as a holistic unit.
Using musculoskeletal evaluation, diagnosis and a wide range of hands-on techniques, osteopaths can identify areas of dysfunction or poor movement patterns within your body. Osteopathic treatment uses techniques such as stretching and massage for general treatment of the soft tissues (muscles, tendons and ligaments) along with mobilisation of specific joints and soft tissues.
What does an Osteopath do during the first consultation?
During your first consultation, your Osteopath will ask questions about your problem and symptoms. They may also ask questions about your medical history, any medications you are taking or other factors that may not appear to be directly related to your problem. If your medical condition changes during the course of your osteopathic treatment, you should tell your osteopath.
Your osteopath may also ask about any recent X-rays, scans or test results that you may have.
Depending on the area of your body requiring treatment, your osteopath may ask you to undress to your underwear. It’s important that you feel comfortable, so you may want to wear loose pants or bring a pair of shorts to change into.
Your initial consultation may last up to one hour. This will enable your osteopath to take a thorough history, examine and treat you. Follow-up treatments are usually shorter. Depending on your condition, they can take 30-40 minutes.
Next, your osteopath will conduct a full osteopathic examination and if necessary, clinical tests. This may involve diagnostic, orthopaedic or neurological tests, postural assessments and activities or exercises, which will help determine how best to manage your condition.
The examination may include passive and active movements, such as the osteopath lifting your arms or legs. As part of the examination, you may also be asked to bend over or stand in your underwear. Be sure to wear comfortable, flexible and appropriate underwear.
Understanding the Whole Body
As osteopathy takes a holistic approach to treatment, your practitioner may look at other parts of your body, as well as the area that is troubling you. For example, if you have a sore knee, your osteopath may also look at your ankle, pelvis and back.
Your osteopath may also provide education and advice to help you manage your condition between treatments. This may include giving you exercises to do at home or work.
Osteopathy is Hands On
Osteopathy is hands-on treatment and can include massage, stretching, repetitive movements, mobilisation and/or manipulation. Most osteopathic treatment should not cause undue discomfort. If your injuries do require hands-on treatment of painful and tender areas, your Osteopath will exercise care to make you as comfortable as possible.
Some people experience mild soreness for a day or two after treatment, similar to that felt after mild exercise. If this soreness persists or increases significantly, call your osteopath to discuss your concerns.
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