The first time doing anything can be quite daunting, even more so when it concerns your health. Here is a breakdown of what to expect during your first encounter with an osteopath. Whilst we have tried to cover all aspect, if you do have any further questions, feel free to call or email with any questions!
First and foremost the osteopath will take the time to understand their patient, and their unique combination of symptoms, medical history, and lifestyle. This helps to make an accurate diagnosis of the causes of the pain or lack of function, rather than just addressing the site of the condition. From there, a treatment plan will be formulated on an individual basis in order to achieve the best outcome.
The first consultation will last roughly 1 hour, and will include questions regarding symptoms, medical history, lifestyle, and general health. Following this, a physical examination is performed, often involving the osteopath touching the areas of the body where you are experiencing pain, along with asking you to go through various movements. It may be necessary to remove some items of clothing in order to see and touch the areas of pain. If you are uncomfortable undressing to your underwear, then you may bring a pair of loose fitting shorts and t-shirt/vest.
The osteopath will then make a diagnosis and discuss a course of treatment with you. This may involve a combination of visiting them a few times for manual therapy, some home exercises, or some lifestyle changes. The manual therapy aspect is intended to be as painless as possible, however, you may experience some discomfort during and after treatment. The osteopath will warn you if they think the technique may cause some discomfort, and will stop if you tell them you are feeling too much pain.
Whats the point?
On average, the adult head weighs about 10-12lbs (or 4-5kg) when it is in an upright and neutral position. However, the head becomes heavier the more you bend your neck, increasing the pressure that is placed on the neck itself. By bending you neck at 60 degrees, the weight being transferred through the neck is 60lbs (27kg) which is more than the weight of your average 7 year old.
Whilst holding your head at 60degrees may be a little on the side of extreme and we may only catch ourselves in this position on occasions, tilting our head a small 15 degrees can over double the weight through the neck at 27lbs (12kg). At 30 degrees the weight can be 40lbs (18kgs), and at 45 degrees; 49lbs (22kg).
When it comes to correct posture, not only does it look better, but it also has an improvement on your health. Other studies suggest that correct posture elevates the levels of testosterone and serotonin in the body, whilst reducing the levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
As a result of this posture, there is a range of signs and symptoms you may feel as a result of the soft tissues (muscles, tendons, ligaments, etc.) being under strain. They can include:
Prevention is key.
While it is nearly impossible to avoid the technologies that cause these issues, you should try to make an effort to look at your phone with a neutral spine and to avoid spending hours each day hunched over. Some tips to consider include:
Whilst this 'condition' is easily avoidable and can be self managed, sometimes seeking a healthcare professional may help you though posture advice, tips on specific neck and back exercises, or manual therapy including massage and mobilizations.
Hansraj, K. K. (2014). Assessment of stresses in the cervical spine caused by posture and position of the head. Surg Technol Int, 25(25), 277-9.
“What is osteopathy”, or “what is an osteopath” are very common questions that are asked, usually followed by “that’s something to do with the bones?”, or “something to do with the back?”. Whilst this is partially true, there is a lot more to this form of manual therapy than initially thought.
Osteopathy is a method of assessing, treating, and preventing a wide range of health problems. Osteopaths achieve this through a combination of movement, stretching, deep tissue massage, and manipulation of a person’s muscles and joints to help improve function, relieve pain, and aid in recovery. The body has the amazing natural ability to maintain and heal itself, and by helping this process, osteopaths can promote the restoration of normal functions. The principles of osteopathy is that the wellbeing of an individual relies on the way the bones, muscles, ligaments, connective tissues, and other internal structures work with each other, and it is these osteopathic principles which guide an osteopath towards a health-oriented, patient centred approach to healthcare.
Osteopaths regularly see a wide range of patients, from the young to the old, from office professionals to sports people, and almost anything in between. Due to this wide base, osteopaths are also able to treat a wide range of issues such as: