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Visiting an osteopath: what to expect?

A typical osteopathic consultation has four parts:  

Interview, physical examination, diagnosis and treatment. 


You will be asked questions relating to your past medical history, home, work, hobbies and family. The osteopath wants to understand all the factors that may be contributing to the presenting problem.  This way the treatment can be geared to you personally. 

Physical Examination

After the history is taken the osteopath will ask you to remove some of your clothing in order to assess the mechanics of your spine and limbs. Next, your osteopath will carry out an examination of the body structure. This begins with observation of your posture, spine and balance. With his fingers, the osteopath will feel your arms, legs and back examining the quality of your joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments. The osteopathic examination is gentle and every effort is made to cause as little discomfort as possible.

If necessary, further tests will be recommended. 


After evaluating the information of the interview and examination, the osteopath will explain what may be causing the pain, based on his findings so far.  It is possible that he will need to reassess the “osteopathic evaluation” at each treatment depending on how you respond.


The osteopath will then suggest a treatment plan. Osteopaths are interested in the mechanics of the whole body; the sound balance between the limbs, head and neck and the spine. It is for this reason that osteopaths examine and treat the area of pain as well as areas distant to it.

The osteopath uses an understanding of the body’s anatomy, physiology and osteopathic principles to build a treatment plan.  The osteopath will apply a variety of osteopathic techniques to the body with the aim of altering the body’s functions. Depending on the severity of your problem, a series of treatments may be necessary.  

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