Your First Consultation

At the ESO we look at the body holistically, considering every aspect of your health to reach a diagnosis

When you arrive for your first consultation please report to the main Reception (rear building) where you will be greeted by our friendly receptionists. You will be handed an ESO Patient Consent form, which should be completed and returned to the desk prior to your consultation. Payment of treatment fees will also be requested on arrival. Your student practitioner will then come to reception and take you through to the consulting room.

Please be aware that a parking control system is in place at the Clinic – there is no charge for parking but your vehicle registration number must be entered at reception to avoid a fine.

Your first appointment will last for around 1hr 20mins. This is longer than the usual consultation time (40mins) to allow time for a full assessment to be undertaken.

The first phase of a new patient appointment is the case history, when the student practitioner will ask questions about the presenting complaint plus your past medical history, any accidents or surgery, your work and lifestyle, medication being taken and any other health conditions. This allows them to get a good understanding of how your body functions. The student practitioner will then leave the consultation room to discuss their findings with their tutor. They will then come back into the room for the examination phase.

For the physical examination, you will be asked to undress to your underwear to enable the student practitioner to have a global view of the body – in some cases neck problems can originate from issues in the hip so your student practitioner will be looking at the body as a whole. The practitioner will leave the room to allow for privacy while you undress and you are welcome to have a friend or relative attend to act as a chaperone. If you are uncomfortable undressing please do let your student practitioner know; you may instead choose to wear leggings or cycling-style shorts.

The evaluation will usually include examination of the spine, muscles of the back and joints and an assessment of your general posture and mobility. The student practitioner will ask you to perform some simple movements, for example forward bending and side bending, and will assess the general flexibility of your joints. After the physical evaluation the student will form a diagnosis and discuss that with their tutor. They will then inform you of the diagnosis and discuss a proposed treatment plan with you.

The student practitioner is trained to check for signs of serious conditions and for those they cannot treat and will refer you to your GP or other health professional when required.

Following the case history, physical evaluation and diagnosis an individual action plan will be proposed and discussed with you. This may include treatment and/or advice on exercise and lifestyle changes, further diagnostic tests or, in some cases, referral to your GP or other health professional.

If hands-on treatment is recommended then the approach will be adapted to your personal circumstances; for example, the approach to treating a small baby or a very elderly patient will differ to the approach to treating a sportsperson. The student practitioner will explain what will be involved in any treatment; this may include a range of stretching, mobilizing and manipulative techniques or very gentle approaches such as cranial osteopathy. Some patients are anxious about the “cracking” of joints. These are known as High Velocity Thrust (HVT) techniques and are an effective way of mobilizing a joint that is not moving very well. Again, the osteopath will only proceed with such a technique when it is appropriate to do so and with the patient’s permission.

There is a great deal of close support for student practitioners and patients can be assured that they are being well looked after, heard and understood. Part of the training to be an osteopath is to understand how they can treat any body safely.

Osteopathic treatment is not usually painful but the nature of some conditions means some discomfort may be induced. It is not unusual to feel sore in the first 24-48 hours after treatment. Your student practitioner will explain any likely reactions that you could expect.

An ESO Clinic tutor, who is also an experienced osteopath, will enter the room at points during the consultation to introduce themselves and to oversee the student practitioner, providing support and additional advice where appropriate. Our tutors are happy to answer any questions you may have about your treatment so please feel free to involve yourself in the conversation. Please be aware that, as a teaching clinic, consultations may also be observed by small groups of student practitioners.

The number of sessions will vary depending on the nature of the condition and its cause.  When discussing a treatment plan, your student practitioner will explain what treatment can achieve and the likely number of sessions needed for an improvement in how you feel.