A Good Osteopath
Osteopathy is very effective when practiced by a competent professional. But what criteria should you use when choosing your osteopath?
1. Education and professional standards
At the current time in Quebec there is no Order of Osteopaths and therefore no regulatory framework – it is important to check the level of training and education of a practitioner. The standard training takes 4 to 6 years resulting in a Diploma of Osteopathy (DO) or a Bachelor of Science in Osteopathy (BSc Ost), for those trained in Europe. The practitioner should also be a member of a professional association, of which there are several in Quebec.
Since 2015 a committee of osteopaths has been working with the OPQ (Office des Professions du Québec ) to create an order with the aim of standardising the profession.
2. What does osteopathy treat?
The osteopath’s goal is to identify functional disorders by using hands-on therapy. It could be a musculo-skeletal problem .
The osteopath must refer you to a doctor if the problem is beyond his or her expertise, or if the symptoms continue to worsen.
3. What doesn’t osteopathy treat?
Osteopaths never work with serious diseases such as cancer. Sometimes osteopathy can offer relief or alleviate symptoms but always as a complement to other treatments. Be wary of osteopaths who promise to cure any conceivable condition. An osteopath is not a “healer”, an “energy therapist” nor a “bone setter”.
4. A good osteopath will do a complete check-up at the first session
An osteopath has a global approach. That is the reason why the first session should be dedicated to a complete examination and detail questioning of your past medical history, surgery and other treatments you may have received in the past. You should come with any x-rays or appropriate medical records concerning your problem.
The osteopath will do a complete evaluation of the patient standing, sitting and lying down, carefully assessing mobility of the articulations, muscular and visceral tensions.
5. The osteopathy session lasts between 30 to 60 minutes
A good osteopath does not rush the session. He/she must dedicate enough time to properly care for the patient. The first session is usually longer than any follow-up sessions.
6. The treatment space, office and waiting areas must be kept clean and professional
An office well kept reflects the professionalism of the practitioner.
All osteopathic notes must be kept private, not shared nor accessible to a third party.
7. Patient should see some benefit as early as the 2nd to the 3rd session
The patient should expect to see some evidence of symptomatic changes as less pain or increase mobility after few sessions, sometimes even as soon as the first consultation. It does not mean that the patient is healed but progress is on the way.
Don’t hesitate to ask questions! A good osteopath will be happy to answer questions by email or phone addressing any concerns you may have before your first appointment.