What to expect


As osteopathy looks at the body as a whole, not just where the person’s pain may be, it is important to understand the complete picture of their health. This helps build a picture of that person’s health to date. Any information that is provided will be strictly confidential as bound by the guidelines of the General Osteopathic Council.


The first session will take approximately one hour and fifteen minutes and cover the following:

Understanding Your Health

In the first session it is important to establish an accurate profile of your health and any previous issues. Therefore we will discuss the following:

Current issue in detail

Previous and family medical history

Current medication

Illnesses or previous accidents, hospitalisations

An understanding of how that person’s body is working by asking questions relating to their lungs, cardiovascular system, gastrointestinal tract, endocrine system, immune system, respiratory system including; allergies, asthma etc.

Activity levels, general lifestyle (diet, smoking, alcohol intake)

Current investigations at the GP

Examination of your current neuromusculoskeletal system


You will be asked to remove some clothing, however if you prefer you can wear shorts/leggings or a strappy top, towels are also provided for your privacy. Please advise at any point if you are not comfortable with removing clothing. The examination is conducted as follows to establish a working diagnosis and tailor make a plan to aid recovery.

Standing examination – to understand where in the body the torsions and tensions, both postural and joint alignment, how they are presented in relation to the complaint.

Range of movement tests – this is to assess the quality of all the joints relevant whereby you will be asked to move in an appropriate manner and also the osteopath will be able to palpate and test the joint integrity and range of movement whilst assessing muscle, ligaments, tendons, blood and nerve pathways. It is important to note that pain in one area of the body may be referring from else where in the body e.g. right shoulder pain can potentially be linked to gallbladder or uterus issues can relate to lower back pain for example.

Orthopedic tests will be carried out if appropriate to establish any compromised structures within the joints such as cartilage, bone, ligaments, tendons, nerves, blood supply.

System Checks

If required the osteopath will conduct the following to further establish a diagnosis:

Respiratory examination – a full assessment of your breathing mechanics such as listening to your lungs through a stethoscope and percussion, movement of all 12 ribs to assess chest expansion, palpation of muscles required to breath such as diaphragm and other accessory muscles used for accelerated breathing.

Abdominal examination – gentle palpation of abdominal contents including liver, kidney, intestines (small and large), uterus, appendix etc. and a visual screen to establish any potential liver, kidney issues which all helps to build a working diagnosis,

Cardiovascular Examination – listen via stethoscope to heart valves, assessment of major pulses and feel for quality and rhythm, looking for any signs or cardiovascular disease

Neurological testing – as an osteopath this is a major part of the assessment to ascertain any issues within the spinal cord, brain or peripheral and cranial nerves. To establish any compromised nerves further testing of reflexes, muscle strength and skin sensitivity and other relevant testing is required.

Explanation of the Working Diagnosis and plan of action

After the assessment the osteopath will discuss and explain the issue and how a working diagnosis was established. Also a structured plan of action will be discussed including what overall treatment will be given, if appropriate. At this point the osteopath may consider referral back to the GP, via letter with findings of the examination, for further investigations such as MRI scans, X-rays, blood tests with recommendations of potential issues.


The treatment will be designed around a number of factors; age, build, condition and will be specific to what your injury requires to heal. A number of techniques will be used and discussed, however at any point you feel uncomfortable please let the osteopath know. The different treatment types of manual treatment used are listed below;

Manual techniques used:



Deep tissue massage

Advanced Stretching

Soft Tissue Release

Manual Traction

Positional Release



Lymphatic Drainage

Myofascial Release


Visceral techniques

Exercises/stretching/self help/diet or lifestyle advise

Towards the end of the treatment session tailor made exercises to strengthen weak muscles will be provided, if appropriate. These will be emailed to you with detailed descriptions and in some cases with easy to follow video clips to ensure the correct positions. Also other advice will be given relevant to your condition/issue; incorporating nutrition, lifestyle, postural advice, correct breathing techniques, appropriate rehabilitation of injuries such as RICE and proprioceptive exercises.

What can I expect after treatment?

The main outcome is that you are more aware of how your body holds itself and where your individual patterns of tension are. After a treatment session it is quite usual that you may feel worse or achey and sore. Also it is advised to drink plenty of water. You may feel tired and experience headaches. However by the third or fourth day this should subside. It is also common to have no reaction to treatment, it depends on the individual. If you are worried at all please contact the clinic.

What happens on the next appointment?

The following appointment will be scheduled usually a week later as your body needs the time to heal itself. In this session you will be re-examined but not to the same extent as the first appointment, the working diagnosis will be re-evaluated and communicated to you. The plan agreed initially will be reviewed and altered accordingly, if needed.