Important Things To Expect from Osteopathic Treatment

Important Things To Expect from Osteopathic Treatment

Osteopathy is a manual form of physiotherapy that aims to restore the body’s natural balance. At the beginning of your treatment, your osteopath will ask questions about your medical history (including any accidents or injuries), lifestyle and general well-being, and the more specific nature of your complaint. (If you have recently had x-rays or tests, it is recommended that you bring this material to your initial exam.)

Your osteopath may also want to check your coordination, reflexes, and blood pressure.

During the initial examination or subsequent osteopathic sessions, you may be asked to remove your upper layers of clothing so that the osteopath can better see your body and the affected area. It will be followed by a complete physical exam, during which your bones, joints, muscles, ligaments, and tendons will be examined. Your osteopath may also want to check the flexibility of your arms, legs, and back and look closely at your spine, possibly examining your posture and balance.

As a result of this examination, your osteopath will decide on an individualized treatment plan and share with you the process, the results that can be expected as the treatment progresses, and the expected time of the treatment. You may only require a few osteopathy sessions followed by an occasional check-up, or your osteopath may recommend regular treatment.


Your osteopath may also discuss with you at this time what changes you could make to your lifestyle or work habits that will help alleviate your condition or prevent it from returning. Osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) is often used in osteopathic treatment sessions. It may include exercising at home or resting the affected body part.

The patient may sit or lie on a table while the osteopath gently applies precise physical pressure to a specific location, an affected area, and possibly elsewhere on the body. The purpose of this is to relax tissues where the patient feels pain or discomfort, rebalance muscles and tissues, relieve stiff joints, and improve the flow of body fluids. Sometimes the OMT may require a short, strong motion, called a high-speed push, where you may hear a click or pop. It is not painful, completely normal, and expected.

However, OMT is not the only procedure used in an osteopathic clinic. Soft tissues can be massaged; joints can be articulated or mobilized; muscles can be trained through stretching and resistance; visceral techniques can be used, that is, gentle and rhythmic manipulation of the internal organs. These techniques aim to restore balance and stimulate the body’s healing ability.


Osteopathic manipulations and treatments are painless, although sometimes there may be discomfort when manipulating the injured body part, or you may experience mild pain immediately after the treatment session and after exercise. Osteopathy involves individual treatment plans; osteopathic manipulation may not be necessary in all case treatment sessions.