why do you need to know that?

the first time we see you, we will always ask you questions about you, your complaint, your medical history, and general health. This can frustrate some people as they “wanna get to the good stuff” but the initial chat is start of the treatment and arguably the most important part.

During the initial consultation, we’re trying to achieve the following three things:

Identify the bad stuff

While majority of aches and pains are musculoskeletal (muscle, joint, ligament etc.) a minority can be related to something more serious underlying. Our first job is to ensure that this isn’t the case and that what we do as osteopaths can actually help you!

If we think there might be something more going on, we will let you know our thoughts, and either advise or write a letter to your GP to get their opinion.

Your safety comes first.

Tell your story and build understanding

Everybody has a story to tell about their pain. How it started, what was happening in your life at the time, what your doctor has done, and your worries from what your friends and family have said.

Half of the therapeutic benefit is being heard and being understood. Pain is a different experience for everybody, so I want to know how it affects you: How does it feel? What does it stop you doing? What would you like to get back to doing?

This gives us a goal to work towards. I find having a goal unrelated to pain reduction (as in play with grandchildren or be able to work at desk for longer) is more effective and motivational than just to reduce pain. This is especially important for those that have had pain for a while.

Proper diagnosis equals proper treatment

It’s the same for all osteopaths, doctors, physios, and chiropractors – we all want to identify the cause and treat it.

"Where you think it is, it ain't."

while it is often very effective to treat the bit that hurts, we want to understand why it is that area that became sore.

A nice example is

You have right lower back pain that came on a few days after spraining your left ankle.

  • If the ankle is sore and restricted, then we tend to avoid weight bearing on that side.
  • We then lean over to the right to compensate.
  • This makes the lower back muscles work in a way that they’re not used to often making them sore.
  • To improve the ankle function will mean the lower back does not have to compensate, and naturally feel easier.


This is why osteopaths like to assess the whole body.

a sign of an incorrect diagnosis is the pain feeling better for a few days then coming back repeatedly – something else needs to be done. This is where questions about your sleep, diet, exercise type and frequency, work posture/activities also come into play. There might be something we need to adjust there.


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