What Is an Osteopath?
An osteopath is a specialist who treats you through manual manipulations. These are activities that involve massage, stretching and exercises. They use their hands on your body to administer treatment. An osteopath may also prescribe oral medication or ointments to ease your pain or discomfort.
You may need manual manipulation treatment if you are experiencing neck, shoulder, back, elbow, arm, hip or foot pain or discomfort. These symptoms may be caused by an injury, bad posture or a strain.
How Do You Know When to See an Osteopath?
Most of the time, you might not know when you should see an osteopath, especially if it is your first time experiencing the symptoms mentioned above. You may first visit your general doctor, who may assess you and then refer you to an osteopath for professional care.
That is why you find that most of the patients who visit osteopaths are referral patients. Of course, after the first visit, the osteopath will be your doctor, and you can visit them based on your needs and the visitation schedule your osteopath creates.
During Your First Visit
First, the osteopath asks you a series of questions to obtain information about your health and find out when your symptoms started. Answer as truthfully and with as much detail as possible without leaving out any information, regardless of how irrelevant you think it is. These answers are used as a basis for the tests to be conducted.
Secondly, based on where your pain is, the osteopath may ask that you change into a hospital gown for easier access. The osteopath may gently press on the area of concern to see your reaction and feel for hardness or softness. Once the osteopath is done examining you physically, they may request blood tests, X-rays, MRIs or ultrasounds for better visualisation.
Lastly, the osteopath will have a diagnosis based on the results of your examination and tests. It can be that you need manual manipulation, oral medication or ointment medication or that you need to be referred to a chiropractor. The latter happens if you are diagnosed with a spinal problem.
Does Osteopathic Therapy Work?
Note that various types of pain may not be resolved permanently. If this is the case, an osteopath or chiropractor may create a pain management schedule where you might require regular or frequent manual manipulations or a lifetime prescription of oral or ointment pain management medication.
If your pain is relievable, the first few days of manual manipulation may feel sore, or you might feel instant or gradual relief. Osteopaths may insist that you tell them if you feel your symptoms getting worse so that they may change what they are doing.