You don't need a referral from your GP, you can refer yourself for treatment. Osteopathy can be provided independently or in conjunction with your GP.
In order to listen to you fully and capture the necessary information, first appointments are longer than normal. Typically taking up to one hour. All of your conversations, notes and personal information are completely confidential.
During your first consultation your Osteopath will listen to you and make notes on your case history. This will include the issues that you have come in to talk about, your symptoms, when they developed and any changes in either the symptoms or general health since the onset of the problem. Then some background on any medication that you may be on and your past medical history. This allows your Osteopath to form an "holistic" picture, looking not only at the symptoms, but also your lifestyle an so on, so that they can understand why the problem has arisen.
There is a physical examination of your body that will assess your posture and observe how your spine and other joints move. Any appropriate tests, such as testing your reflexes or testing your blood pressure, will be performed and then your Osteopath wil gently feel the tone of your muscles and joints in order to make a comprehensive assessment. Similar to any medical examination, you may be asked to remove some outer clothing. So please wear appropriate underwear or bring some shorts with you. You are of course welcome to bring a friend to accompany you.
Your Osteopath will then discuss their findings with you and what osteopathy can or can't do to help. If it is appropriate and you are in agreement, you will have an osteopathic treatment on your first visit. Your Osteopath will then discuss your treatment plan, need for follow up appointments (if required) and where appropriate propose exercises or lifestyle advice.
Osteopaths are trained to identify if you need to be referred to a GP, or need further tests such as X-rays, MRI scans or blood tests to help diagnose the problem.