Your first visit

What to expect during an osteopathic consultation

When beginning a new treatment, it is common to feel uncertain or wonder what to expect during a consultation. Thus here is a short outline of what to expect and how best to prepare for the  initial manual osteopathy consultation and assessment.

Osteopathy treatment is hands-on and involves skilled manipulation of the spine and joints, and massage of soft tissues.

Your consultation

For your first appointment bring in your completed intake form and your osteopath will ask you questions about your past medical history and lifestyle, as well as any current symptoms you may be experiencing. This discussion is very important as it will assist to make an accurate osteopathic diagnosis and suggest appropriate treatment.

After reviewing your health goals and previous health history your osteopath will examine the area(s) of your body causing discomfort. The practitioner will explain what they are doing as the assessment proceeds. When establishing the root cause of the problem, the origin may be in an area different then the pain. Carpal tunnel syndrome, for example, can be linked to nerve compression in the neck so sometimes a whole body examination is necessary. The practitioner may feel for any tightness in the muscles and stiffness in the joints and may need to touch these areas to identify problems.

How to prepare / What to wear

Similar to attending a yoga class, it is best not to consume a heavy meal immediately prior to the appointment. If you are hungry, a light snack would be ideal. Be mindful to stay well hydrated during the day of treatment and after the appointment for maximum improvement.

We recommend that you wear loose fitting clothing, such as loose yoga pants, T-shirts or tank tops. It is also useful to wear comfortable athletic footwear for exercising- as this may be a part of your rehabilitation and treatment program.

Most manual osteopathic procedures are completed while the patient is fully clothed, with occasional direct skin contact. As with any healthcare appointment, it may be occasionally necessary to expose an area of skin relating to discomfort or injury. If it is necessary, the practitioner may request client consent to uncover an isolated part of the body in order to facilitate direct treatment, while ensuring that your modesty is respected. If you do not feel comfortable with any part of treatment, please inform the practitioner immediately. The techniques can be discontinued or modified to be comfortable for you.

Your treatment

During your visit, your osteopath will make an osteopathic assessment utilizing your case history, orthopedic tests and along with the use of precise palpation skills for detecting areas of diminished mobility, and areas of restriction. Findings are recorded in your case file.

Science based osteopathic techniques focus on finding the underlying cause of the symptoms, whether near to or distant from the person’s area of complaint.

Your physical examination will include a close inspection of your bodies structure to determine levels of function or dysfunction.  This is achieved by hands on palpation, range of motion tests, orthopaedic tests and both visual and physical detection of muscle, joint, ligament, connective tissue and skin tissue abnormalities.  Hands on techniques range from a very light touch to a deeper touch with increased pressure.



An individualised treatment plan is created based on the individual’s unique health history and current presentation and is then discussed with the client. While it is the clients body which heals itself; the practitioner’s role is to facilitate the initiation and guidance of the process while utilizing vast knowledge of the connections of bones, joints and underlying tissues and their interrelationship to the underling nerves, blood vessels and lymphatic system, encouraging self regulating forces at work to restore homeostasis.

The treatment focuses on various techniques assisting the body to restore balance and normalize any areas of dysfunction. This may involve consecutive visits for continued manual therapy – a range of gentle hands on techniques that focus on releasing tension, stretching muscles and mobilising joints.

A treatment session generally lasts 60- 75 minutes. There may be recommendations provided for home care including lifestyle recommendations, specific rehabilitative exercises and muscle stretches or that you can continue at home to support the practitioners treatment as the body further integrates in days after.

Depending upon the goals of the client, during consecutive visits appropriate tests are conducted, treatment resumes and progress is monitored by the practitioner. The number and frequency of sessions required varies depending on the injury or condition.

An osteopathic wellness program is never a one program fits all scenario as manual osteopathy seeks to treat the individual, rather than creating one unchanging protocol for every body. Thus osteopathic treatment is tailored to the individual.

Manual osteopathic practitioners do not diagnose or practice medicine, nor do we attempt to treat disease. If you are concerned about any medical pathology and /or disease, always consult your physician prior to exploring Osteopathic manual practice.

Is treatment painful?

Although manual osteopathic therapy has an excellent safety record, no health treatment is completely free of potential adverse effects. The risks associated with manual osteopathy, however, are very small and osteopathic techniques is a gentle process.

Many patients feel immediate relief following manual osteopathic treatment, but some may experience fatigue, mild soreness or aching,  similar to sore muscles after some forms of sports activities, exercise or massage. Current literature shows that minor discomfort or soreness following soft tissue therapy typically resolves within a couple days.

If you experience serious or unusual symptoms after treatment you should contact your manual osteopathic practitioner for guidance.

Osteopathy is used to address a variety of health issues including injury. If you want to know if Osteopathy is the right treatment for you, email us today. Vancouver Manual Osteopathy Therapy at Alinear Osteopathy.