Osteopaths believe the body works as a whole. In the initial consultation a detailed case history is taken, including a full medical history. This is followed by a standing and sitting examination, where the patients' posture and ability to move in basic directions is assessed. The patient is required to undress to his or her underwear or shorts to enable a clear observation of skin and muscle tone and individual muscle and bone health. It is perfectly fine for the patient to bring someone as a chaperone; indeed this is a requirement for treating children.
As an understanding of the patients' problem develops, a suitable, gentle, hands-on treatment is given. The osteopath will aim to increase the patients' understanding of their problem area, and a personal management plan is developed where exercises to strengthen and stretch the problem area may be given as well as advice about their daily posture at home, work or during sports activities.
Follow up treatments involve reconsideration of the patients' problem and a brief reexamination to enable progression to be assessed objectively and to ensure the most suitable treatment and management plan is followed.
If the osteopath considers osteopathy is not appropriate for the patient then he or she will be referred to their GP or a more suitable health professional.