It's advisable to arrive a little early for your first appointment, as you will need to fill out some paperwork.
You will probably be asked to sign a general consent form, but you will have the opportunity to consider and consent (or not) to specific treatment in the consultation.
Your first consultation
Your osteopath will ask questions about your problem and symptoms. They may also ask about your medical history, any medications you are taking, as well as factors that may not appear to be directly related to your problem. If your medical condition changes between osteopathic appointments you should tell your osteopath at your next consultation.
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 that 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.
Osteopathy takes a holistic approach to treatment, so 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 appointments. This may include giving you exercises to do at home or work.
Do I need a referral from my GP?
Many patients are referred to osteopaths by their doctors, other health practitioners or personal trainers. However, as osteopaths are primary care practitioners, you can make an appointment directly without a referral.
What do I need to bring?
Bring along any X-rays, scans or test results that you may have. Depending on the area of your body requiring examination, your osteopath may ask you to undress to your underwear. It’s important that you feel comfortable, so you may want to bring a pair of stretchy gym shorts to change into. You may bring a chaperone if you wish. Plan to attend along with your child if your child is the patient.
Is osteopathic treatment painful?
Osteopathy is a manual therapy, so hands-on treatment may include massage, stretching, repetitive movements, mobilisation and/or manipulation.
Most osteopathic treatments are gentle and 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 persist or increases significantly, call your osteopath to discuss your concerns.
For a more detailed Q&A visit our Treatment FAQs page.