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What to expect from your appointment with an osteopath

If you’re reading this post, my guess is that you’ve taken the first step in making a change in your life – be that reducing your pain, overcoming challenges, or improving performance. With this, you’ve decided to choose osteopathy to help facilitate this and I think it’s important to gain an understanding of what an appointment with an osteopath involves!

I’ve adapted the “What to expect…” from the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC) website to make it specific to us!

Each appointment lasts up to an hour that allows us adequate time to take a case history, provide a specific diagnosis and action plan, hands-on treatment, and explain self-care strategies.

Case History taking

  • Listen and ask questions about your problem, your general health, other medical care you are receiving, or medication you are taking.
  • The information you provide will be confidential.


  • Firstly, we often ask you to dress down to your underwear/shorts/strappy tops. This is in order to examine you properly as it allows the osteopath to see how you normally stand, the position of your joints, and any skin changes that may be hidden by clothing. Of course, please tell us if you feel uncomfortable doing this and alternative arrangements will be made. A towel will be provided, and you will be given privacy to undress. Should you wish, you can bring a friend or relative to be present throughout your treatment.
  • We will then ask you to perform simple movements. Pain or stiffness with a particular movement may indicate that a certain structure is irritated.
  • Examine the health of the joints, tissues and ligaments using our hands and a highly developed sense of touch called palpation.
  • Finally, we may perform some additional testing aiming to reproduce your symptoms. These tests can then be repeated in the future to assess treatment progression.

Your osteopath will also check for signs of serious conditions they cannot treat and may advise you to see your GP or go to hospital. A letter explaining what we think may be going on will be provided.

Diagnosis and Treatment

We will then give you a clear explanation of what we find (our diagnosis) and discuss a treatment plan that is suitable for you. We will also explain the benefits and any risks of the treatment.

Finally, from these assessments we will be able to gauge how many treatments it is likely to take for you to feel noticeably better. Everybody responds differently to treatment so it is difficult to quote a specific number. However a general rule of thumb is that the longer you’ve a condition, the longer it will take. That said, the body is very adaptable and can respond very well when given the right input. In my own experience, it generally take 2-3 treatments.

Treatment is hands-on and involves joint mobilisation, soft tissue massage, and sometimes the “clicking” technique known as manipulation. We will always explain what we are doing and gain your consent to continue. If at anytime you feel uncomfortable at any time, please let us know and we will stop, and find something more suitable.

Self-help measures and advice on exercise may be offered to assist your recovery, prevent recurrence or worsening of symptoms.

Ongoing care…

Because of the physical nature of the treatment, it is not unusual to sometimes feel sore in the first 24-48 hours after treatment. We will explain any likely reactions that you could expect. If you have any concerns, please contact us and we will endeavour to provide any advice or reassurance.

It may require more than one visit before your problem is resolved. We review your progress at each subsequent visit and seek your consent to any changes to your treatment plan.

How much does it cost?

Bearsden Osteopaths: £53

Sage Osteopathy, Inverkip: £45

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