What To Expect At The First Consultation
The first consultation consists of case history taking, examination and formulation of a treatment plan. The pattern is similar for subsequent consultations with the emphasis being placed on the progress of the patient. Any new information or changing symptoms are always considered before proceeding with any further treatment.
The aim of the case history and examination is primarily to screen for any pathologies that may be causing referred pain. If I suspect any pathology you will be referred, with a covering letter, to your GP.
How do I formulate a working diagnosis?
The immediate goal with my patients is to provide reassurance, explanation, advice and pain relief. As an osteopath I consider the following when formulating a working diagnosis.
Tissue Causing Symptoms: This involves identifying which tissue has become strained or inflamed and producing the pain that the patient is complaining of. This could be muscular, joint, disc, ligament (attaches bone to bone) or tendon (attaches muscle to bone). Our tissues are very good at compensating for each other when there is a problem but eventually a ‘breakdown in compensation’ leads to pain and discomfort.
Predisposing Musculoskeletal Factors: Observation and palpation skills are now used to determine where healthy tissue has become compromised and to evaluate function. The aim is to determine what the tissue is compensating for. A few common examples are abnormal spinal curves (scoliosis or kyphosis), pelvic imbalance, leg length difference and fallen arches. Often the site of the pain is not where the real problem lies which is why an osteopath will typically treat above and below the area of pain, as well as the symptomatic area.
Predisposing Non-Musculoskeletal Factors: These can all affect the potential for recovery and include poor posture, exercise, nutrition and psychosocial issues.
If the working diagnosis arrived at is within my scope of care a treatment plan is discussed and agreed with you. The treatment plan is designed to remove any barriers to normal biomechanical function and restore normal neurological activity and fluid dynamics through the affected area.