There are obvious qualities that we would expect from all health professionals. For example, trustworthy, approachable, good reputation, safe, competent and good at what they do. Treatment should be patient-orientated and evidence-based.
My suggestion is to call the clinic, ask the receptionist as much as you can about the practitioner, such as what conditions do they like treating and which patient groups do they commonly treat, i.e. babies and children, the elderly or specific sports teams. This will give you an idea of what they are most practiced at and probably good at treating.
If you still have any further questions, then politely ask the receptionist to ask the osteopath to call you back at a time to suit them. The service-orientated osteopath should be happy to return your call when they can.
Now, assuming you have found the best practitioner for you and your condition, I still don’t think your preparation stops there. The more you can think about what you want from your therapist, both in terms of information and treatment, the better the service you will get from them.
Most people walk into the clinic and think of nothing more than “Please can you get rid of my pain. Then I’ll be happy”.
Others want to know much more information, such as:
- “What’s causing my pain and why?”
- “How do I prevent it happening again?”,
- “What are you doing when you are treating me?”
Make sure you understand the answers you get and don’t be afraid to ask your therapist to explain it again. Ask for the medical name of your condition, so you can look it up on the internet and prepare further questions. Have they got leaflets or hand-outs?
I think you need to know the following:
- What is the name of your problem or its diagnosis?
- What can I do to help it heal as quickly as possible? e.g. some exercises, rest, medication or changing habits etc.
- How does the treatment help me? How is it affecting my body?
- How long should I expect to be treated for? Or how long will this take to heal if it is an injury, or how long should I expect to have to manage this for, if it is a more degenerative type of problem?
- How can I minimise my muscle and joint pains as I get older?
- Is my sport or lifestyle helping or aggravating my problem. What alternatives do I have?