An osteopathic consultation is the first point of call for all new osteopathic patients prior to their first osteopathic treatment.
The consultation process takes between 60-75 minutes. The duration depends on a patient’s medical history, and the presenting complaint.
The structure of a consultation
Presenting complaint – You will be asked about the condition you are presenting with, and the history of the complaint. This will include, any mechanism of injury, character of pain, any referral of pain, what aggravates or relieves the condition.
Other medical history – Covers previous injuries you have suffered, medical conditions you may have, your history of surgeries, fractures, major accidents, family medical history and any medication your taking.
Systems review – This involves discussing the cardiovascular, respiratory, gastrointestinal systems, as well as the other main systems of the body.
Lifestyle – This covers information about your work environment and leisure activities. Your body mass index, dietary habits, alcohol intake, sleep and energy levels. And anything else felt relevant to understand the stress your body is under.
Once your medical history has been collected, the osteopath creates a differential diagnosis. This is where the osteopath uses their knowledge to create a hypothesis of what might be happening and why. Once a differential diagnosis is formed, a physical assessment will be undertaken.
The physical assessment
Osteopathy considers the body as a whole, as such the whole body is assessed during a physical assessment. During the assessment particular attention is given to the region of the body that is painful or stiff. As well as associated areas that may also be contributing to the problem.
Clinical testing is performed relative to the differential diagnosis. This helps either rule out what the problem is not, or what the condition maybe. Tests may include assessing a joints movement, tone or strength of muscles, reflexes, or neurological changes in sensation.
Special tests may be performed. These are designed to reproduce a patient’s symptoms. These can provide a greater understanding of what tissues, or structures maybe generating pain.
The goal of the assessment process is to come to a working diagnosis. Once this has been achieved, treatment may take place.
If during your osteopathic consultation, no working diagnosis can be achieved. Or it is felt unsafe to proceed with treatment. Or it is deemed that osteopathy is not suitable to help you, you will be referred to the most appropriate alternative health professional. This is normally your doctor, consultant or surgeon.