About your visit
What to expect from your Osteopath
Listening and examining
Osteopathy is a patient-centred system of healthcare. A first appointment generally lasts longer than subsequent appointments, to allow the osteopath adequate time to:
• Listen and ask questions about your problem, your general health, other medical care you are receiving or medication you are taking, and record this in your case notes. The information you provide will be confidential.
• Examine you properly. It is likely the osteopath will ask you to remove some of your clothing. Tell your osteopath if you are uncomfortable about this. You should expect privacy to undress, and a gown or towel may be provided. You can ask a friend or relative to accompany you during your treatment.
• Ask you to make simple movements and stretches, to observe your posture and mobility. Because of the body’s structure, pain or stiffness you are experiencing in one area may be linked to a problem elsewhere.
• Examine the health of the joints, tissues and ligaments using their hands and a highly developed sense of touch called palpation.
• Check for signs of other serious conditions they cannot treat and advise you to see your GP or go to hospital. They should provide you with a letter explaining what they believe to be the problem.
Diagnosis and treatment
Osteopathy specialises in the diagnosis, management, treatment and prevention of musculoskeletal and other related disorders.
• Your osteopath will give you a clear explanation of what they found (their diagnosis), and discuss a treatment plan that is suitable for you, which may include lifestyle changes. They will explain the benefits and any risks of the treatment they are recommending.
• It is important to understand and agree what the treatment can achieve, and the likely number of sessions needed for a noticeable improvement in your wellbeing.
• Treatment is hands-on and involves skilled manipulation of the spine and joints, and massage of soft tissues. Your osteopath will explain what they are doing and will always ask your permission to treat you (known as consent). Ask questions at any time, if you are unsure of what you have been told or if you have any concerns.
• Self-help measures and advice on exercise may be offered to assist your recovery, and prevent recurrence or worsening of symptoms.
Due to the physical nature of the treatment, it is not unusual to sometimes feel sore or stiff in the first 24–48 hours after treatment. Your osteopath will explain any likely reactions that you could expect. If you have any concerns, it is important to contact the osteopath and ask their advice.
It may require more than one visit before your problem is resolved. The osteopath will review your progress at each subsequent visit and seek your consent to any changes to your treatment plan.
Osteopathy in Spain
Unfortunately, unlike the UK, the name Osteopath or Osteopatas, in spanish, is not protected. It means that there are qualifications in Osteopatas which are not the same as the training in the UK. It also means that there is no legal requirement to register with a professional body or continue professional development after their course. There are, naturally, excellent and well qualified Osteopaths in Spain but prospective patients are advised to check their qualifications prior to booking an appointment.
I continue to be registered with the General Osteopathic Council in the UK, this is not necessary for me to do as a practitioner in Spain. This register requires me to have completed a 4 year full time degreee course in Osteopathy and also complete a further 30 hours of approved study per year to maintain my registration. It also means that you have a legal recourse or complaint structure should a patient have any problems.