Considering care under the recommendation of an osteopathic physician has become more and more popular as people are beginning to understand the intricate connection between prevention and control of diseases. Doctors who practice osteopathy are often more interested in in the prevention of disease and work to control or heal the body by giving an individual all of the support they need in order for the body to help heal itself. Doctors of osteopathy are fully trained as medical doctors and can prescribe medication, do surgery and order tests. However, their focus is more holistic than is the more traditional Western medicine doctors.
When entering the office for the first time you should expect to give some of the same details that you would to a traditional medicine physician such as your name, address, height/weight, occupation, date of birth, children/pregnancies, medications or supplements, any painkillers or anti-inflammatories and any past histories of surgeries.
During this first visit the doctor will also take a considerable amount of time taking a detailed medical history that will include information about your lifestyle and your diet as well as past injuries, illnesses and your birth history.
Following your medical history the doctor of osteopathy will also do a full physical examination and ask you to perform a series of movements to test the mobility of your body. You may have come in with complaints of pain in one area might find after a thorough physical examination that this pain is a result of “referred” pain. In other words the origination of the pain occurs in one area of the body but the individual feels the pain in another area. This might be likened to an individual having a heart attack where the heart muscle is dying but the individual feels pain down their left arm or in their abdomen.
The doctor of osteopathy will also perform a variety of passive movements to your joints to arrive at a diagnosis and recommended treatment plan. The physician will often explain in detail what has gone wrong and show you models, pictures and diagrams in order to aid in your understanding of your body. The philosophy of a doctor of osteopathy is that the individual patient must be fully on board with the information and diagnosis in order to comply more completely with a treatment recommendation. Only through education and time will individuals come to understand the reasoning behind the diagnosis.
If the doctor of osteopathy is concerned with the presence of a more serious underlying condition you may be referred to a more appropriate specialist for treatment. During your consultation with the physician you will be given advice and help you find ways to self manage the injury. Since prevention is the key to further injury the doctor may also give you an idea of potentially aggravating factors in your everyday life as well as advise on posture, ergonomics, diet and exercise.
If you and your doctor of osteopathy choose to use manipulative techniques to help decrease your pain and discomfort you may find that several days after the visits new have a different type of pain or soreness. This soreness is related to the motion of the muscles having moved back into correct alignment. You should discuss this potential with your doctor of osteopathy prior to leaving the office so that you are not surprised in the next couple of days.
What you might expect in your first visit with an osteopath is really not too much different than what you would expect with a doctor of medicine who spends time and energy educating his patients about the causative action of disease and how to prevent it further in the future.