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The initial Osteopathy consultation will involve a detailed case history and examination.

You will normally be asked to undress to your underwear, and to perform a series of movements so your posture may be assessed. Then using palpation, points of excessive strain or weakness may be identified. A diagnosis will then be made and a treatment plan will be initiated.

The treatment may consist of a range of techniques including: soft tissue massage, manipulation of joints, Cranial Osteopathy, adjustment of posture, and health education, including prescribing exercises.

Osteopathy is patient centred, which means the treatment is geared to you as an individual.

Most patients 'self refer' to an osteopath for treatment.

Although referral by a GP is not necessary, patients are encouraged to keep both their GP and Osteopath fully informed, so that their medical records are current and complete, and to ensure that the patient receives the best possible care from both healthcare practitioners. Osteopaths are skilled in diagnostic techniques and trained to identify when a patient needs to be referred to a GP.

All practitioners are registered with the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC), providing patients with the same protection afforded to them when visiting their GP.

Most patients will finish a treatment feeling better, although it is common to feel a little sore post treatment for up to 36 hours. This is not too dissimilar to the response that most of us feel the day after a new exercise program.

Sometimes patients feel tired after treatment, while others can feel energised. It is advisable to avoid vigorous activities or heavy lifting after treatment, and to potter around gently rather than being too inactive.

The number of treatments needed depends on the condition and person we are treating. Influencing factors include age, general health, fitness levels and activities as well as the type of problem and the length of time the patient has had the condition. We aim to keep your appointments to a minimum. We will be able to tell you within a short period of time whether we can treat you or if we need to refer you to someone else.

Some conditions will resolve with a few sessions, others will need months of ongoing treatment. Generally speaking most people should show signs of improvement within three sessions. On average, two to eight treatments is usually sufficient to correct most problems that are amenable to Osteopathic treatment. Some patients with a chronic or longstanding history may choose to return regularly for preventative Osteopathic intervention, for example, for ongoing postural maintenance or relief from chronic pain.

Many private health insurance schemes provide cover for Osteopathic treatment. Sharmila Muralitharan is registered with most of the major companies, including Axa PPP and BUPA.

You will need to ask your insurance company about the available level of cover and whether you need to be referred by your GP or a specialist.

Please check the terms and conditions of your individual policy and obtain the appropriate authorisation to confirm that you are covered for the full cost of the treatment. All patients are responsible for any unpaid fees.

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