Infants and Children
Osteopaths are first-contact practitioners, trained to undertake an initial consultation with any patient, at any age. There are many ways in which parents express concern for their children’s welfare. Some describe it in terms of symptoms or conditions such as inconsolable crying and distress, colic, reflux, unsettled child, poor feeding, wind, sleeping problems, glue ear, painful ears, breathing difficulties, nasal congestion, recurrent infections, poor concentration, disruptive behaviour, aggression, head pain, misshapen head, plagiocephaly or Down's syndrome.
There are no blinded randomised controlled scientific trials to demonstrate that osteopathy is effective in treating the huge range of problems that people bring to osteopaths including those listed above. These trials cost millions of pounds, take decades to complete and would have to be paid for by patients’ fees. That is hardly reasonable.
Osteopathy does not treat medical conditions (see What is Osteopathy?). Osteopathy does not claim to treat medical conditions. 'Conditions' is a classification suited more to medicine than osteopathy. Osteopathy is not satisfied with knowing what has gone wrong; osteopaths want to know why the problem occurred in the first place and why it is not getting better itself naturally. Osteopathy seeks to remove the problems which could have given rise to the development of medical conditions. Osteopaths look at the person, not the condition.
Nevertheless, parents’ descriptions of their concerns in terms of conventional conditions is perfectly acceptable in the first place. Many parents are very pleased with the outcome.
For an initial consultation with an osteopath it is generally best to allow yourself one hour. You might be asked to complete a questionnaire before attending and bring it with you. This gives you the time to find and think about relevant information and allows the osteopath to concentrate on your child, avoiding them feeling talked about. You can download a questionnair file here:-
Questionnaire PDF - 17kb.
Print out the file, preferably on both sides of the paper, and complete it in as much detail as you can.
Assessment is usually more effective if your child is relaxed and keeps still. Parents can help by reading a favourite book to their child. Do take any favourite toys and books from home.
Dress babies and children in easily removable garments as they can become hot and uncomfortable.
Wherever possible children are examined in their underwear, however with younger children the osteopath may just lift clothing as necessary rather than cause upset on the first visit.
Older children may prefer to bring a light pair of shorts and/or T shirt to change into, but not denim jeans please!
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