A senior student will take you to a treatment room where you are asked to discuss your symptoms in some detail. Then more general aspects relating to health are discussed, including any past injuries or illnesses, and ‘environmental’ factors (for example hobbies and work activities). All this information, which is called a ‘case history’, is noted and considered.
You will then examined physically. This will include a detailed analysis of the spine, by looking, *touching and moving it. The spine is almost always examined, no matter where your symptoms are, as it is vital in integrating your functional health. Other areas of the body may also be examined, particularly if you are experiencing symptoms there. In order to carry out an examination, the student needs to be able to see the spine, which requires patients to remove outer clothing (down to underwear).
Some additional tests may be conducted if indicated, for example taking blood pressure or listening to the heart and lungs. If more specialist tests are required, for example blood tests or scans, you will be referred back to your GP for their help.
Having gathered lots of valuable information the student will consult the Supervising Osteopath and together they decide on the best course of action, and discuss this with you. Providing you are in agreement, a treatment protocol can then be implemented. Most of the treatment approaches are manual, hands on approaches. The student will also offer guidance and advice.
*Osteopaths spend years developing a very skilled sense of touch, called palpation. This is used in both diagnosis and treatment.