For most adults, the initial consultation takes 90 minutes, with follow-up visits typically lasting 30 minutes or more as needed.
During the patient interview on the initial visit, the osteopathic specialist will talk to you about your medical history, including the reason for the visit and any concerns you might have about your health. This initial discussion may take some time so that the doctor can get to know you and understand your individual needs.
The doctor will then thoroughly examine your body, beginning by observing your posture and movement. The physician will then place her hands over or underneath different parts of the body and gently take joints through their range of motion to evaluate structure and function. This allows the doctor to identify imbalances within your musculoskeletal system – what we call the “framework.” We find that these imbalances are often associated with internal medical problems.
Combined with the rest of the physical exam and history, this structural evaluation will help to reveal a diagnosis (cause) for your symptoms. The doctor may also order other diagnostic tests, such as radiology and blood tests, and she may consult with other healthcare providers.
The body’s framework naturally falls into structural alignment unless brought out of balance by dysfunction. The osteopathic physician does not seek to force the body back into alignment, but to remove dysfunction and allow the body to return to its natural state of balance.
Each osteopathic treatment is unique, based upon the findings in the patient’s evaluation. The doctor will use her hands to gently guide the “framework” back into alignment. Balancing all of the systems of the body helps to enhance its innate healing capacity.
The doctor may order prescriptions for medication and/or refer you to other caregivers to complement the osteopathic treatment. Occasionally the doctor may recommend other pain management.
Diagnosis and treatment usually happen with the patient dressed in loose, comfortable clothing, and lying on a treatment table, but it may be done seated or standing as needed. At all times, the doctor will be sensitive to the patient’s individual physical circumstances and restrictions.