At your first consultation, your osteopath will compile a full case history about your current complaint and past medical history. Even if it isn't immediately obvious, your medical history can be relevant to your current complaint. At this point, your osteopath will let you know if you require further investigations or assessement by a doctor before commencing osteopathic treatment.
You will then be asked to undress to your underwear or similar. For this reason, please wear something you will be comfortable being seen in, such as the type of clothing you would comfortably wear at the beach. This stage is important as the osteopath will need to examine the painful area itself as well as other areas. These areas might display either referred pain or compensation patterns, which would also need to be addressed to solve the problem.
You will normally be asked to perform some active movements so the osteopath can see your limitations and the patterns that are individual to your body.
Following that, you will be asked to lie down on a treatment couch, normally face-up, so some standard and specific medical tests can be carried out. This might include, for example, taking your reflexes.
Your osteopath will then use her hands to palpate (feel for) any areas of muscle tension, and might move you around to find the specific areas of restricted movement that might be at the root of your pain. She will then make a diagnosis of your problem and discuss it with you.
Your osteopath will subsequently and if appropriate treat the relevant areas using a variety of techniques, including types of massage (sometimes using a specialised machine), stretching, and various types of manipulation, which might include giving the joint a small click. Occassionally your osteopath might suggest using medical accupuncture to further aid your speedy recovery.
It is important to note, as the patient's comfort is paramount, that you should feel in control of the treatment and are at liberty at any point to discuss and indeed refuse any element of the treatment. Your osteopath will then be happy to present you with other options that can be carried out instead.