When visiting an osteopath for the first time, it is completely natural to feel unsure of what to expect. The following information should hopefully ease those worries by explaining what to expect and answer any questions you may have.
What to expect on your first visit //
Osteopaths are registered healthcare professionals that are trained in diagnosing health issues. At your first appointment, you will be asked a range of questions about any symptoms you may be experiencing, medical history and lifestyle. This information is very important as it can help your osteopath make an accurate diagnosis and form an appropriate treatment plan.
In accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998 and the standards of practice set out by the General Osteopathic Council, all your information and medical history will be kept completely confidential and stored securely and safely.
To form an accurate diagnosis, your osteopath will have to assess parts of your body and feel for any muscle tightness. Your osteopath will also get you to actively move parts of your body to assess your mobility, this will all be explained to your as you go along.
As with any healthcare appointment, your osteopath may ask you to remove some of your clothing, so they can see and touch the problematic areas, however we recommend you bring shorts and a vest if you feel uncomfortable undressing and also to help your osteopath work more effectively.
You are welcome to ask a friend or relative to accompany you to your appointment.
Once your osteopath has made a diagnosis, they will discuss your treatment plan with you. Treatment may involve a range of hands on techniques that aim to relieve tension, by stretching muscles and mobilising joints. Exercises may also be given to you to do at home together with helpful advice that can help you manage the pain, as well as staying active to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Mosts osteopaths will begin treatment on the first visit, however sometimes further tests such as blood tests or imaging may be required. Occasionally an illness may be diagnosed that your osteopath is unable to treat and they may refer you to your GP or another health professional.
TRAINING AND REGULATION
In the UK, the osteopathic profession is regulated by the General Osteopathic Council and all osteopaths are trained at a degree level, taking a minimum of four years. During training all osteopaths are required to complete a minimum of 1000 contact hours with patients.
The title 'osteopath' is a protected title by law. It is illegal for an individual to call themselves an osteopath in the UK, unless they are registered with the General Osteopathic Council and have gained appropriate qualifications. All osteopaths are required to complete a minimum of 30 hours of continued professional development each year, to maintain knowledge and stay up to date with current research.
For more information on osteopathy, please visit: