During an initial osteopathy appointment time is taken to decide if a patient is suitable for osteopathic treatment. It is at the osteopath's discretion to give treatment to a patient and this permission can be withdrawn at any time. The first appointment can include all of the following:
Clinical case history: this will include a detailed recording of your current presentation, medical history, previous injuries, and work and lifestyle choices.
Physical examination: this is done in your underwear or sports kit to fully evaluate your physical condition. A see through gown can be worn so that the skin can be seen by the osteopath to discount skin conditions in the diagnosis. A towel is also offered if you wish to be covered after this part of the examination.
Musculoskeletal Diagnosis: this is given and takes into consideration findings from the examination and case history. Specialist musculoskeletal tests and manual clinical examinations can be diagnostically limited, but they are essential in informing the osteopath of safety to treat, the treatment plan, a patient's ongoing treatment and any future clinical referral. The prognosis of your condition is outlined so you know how long it will take for you to recover and how may treatments are required.
Treatment: a treatment plan is created with you by your osteopath based on your musculoskeletal diagnosis. This can include hands-on manual treatment using osteopathic techniques, soft tissue mobilisation and medical acupuncture. Hands-off therapy is frequently used in treatment and can include directed muscle stretching and strengthening, resistance work using therabands, core stability exercise and clinical pilates. The treatment plan is evidence informed and guided by current best practice regarding your condition.
Management: this aspect is your ongoing self treatment at work and home. This may include ergonomic and postural advice, exercise rehabilitation and information regarding your condition. Adherence to your own treatment plan is essential for providing symptomatic relief and it can directly affect the prognosis of your condition.
Referrals: if a condition is not responding to treatment or if a patient is not suitable for treatment then the osteopath can refer you back to your gp or privately to a specific consultant with your consent. Your osteopath can consult with you and your physician regarding their role in your future care if required.
These follow the same structure as an osteopathic appointment. The treatment may be focussed towards one modality (e.g soft tissue massage) according to whether the treatment is appropriate. This depends on consent being given by the patient and permission by the osteopath.