During your initial consultation, an 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 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 some loose clothes to change into.
Next, your osteopath will conduct a full osteopathic examination. 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.
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 a form of manual therapy, so hands-on treatment may include massage, stretching, repetitive movements, mobilisation and/or manipulation. Most osteopathic treatment is gentle and should not cause undue discomfort. If your injuries do require hands-on treatment of painful and tender areas, your osteopath will take 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.
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.
Generally you would expect to see some changes in your symptoms after one or two visits; however, some long-term or chronic conditions may require a longer course or more frequent treatment. If you have any concerns, your osteopath will be happy to discuss these with you.
Patients seek treatment for a wide variety of conditions, including back pain, repetitive strain injury; changes to posture in pregnancy, postural problems caused by driving or work strain, the pain of arthritis and sports injuries. Osteopathic medicine is also very effective in treating the problems that develop during pregnancy and early childhood. Osteopathic treatment can be used in conjunction with your normal medication and can be adapted to treat any age or condition.
All of the major health insurance companies including VHI, Aviva, Laya Healthcare, Glo-Health and St. Paul’s Garda Medical Aid cover Osteopathy. The amount of cover depends on your individual policy. Please check with your health insurance provider to see how much you can claim.