Osteopathic Research & Systematic Reviews
Osteopathy is one of only two complementary and alternative medicines that are regulated under UK law. We don’t have enough good quality research from within the profession but there are lots and lots of people that use Osteopaths for their health care. We have a wide range of tools that we can use to help people recover from injury or self-neglect.
Unfortunately, we often get lumped together with chiropractors in systematic reviews and clinical trials and what we do is labelled as ‘spinal manipulation’. Opinion related to the benefits of these treatments can therefore be easily mixed up.
However, there are numerous articles and systematic reviews made by The National Council For Osteopathic Research (NCOR), concerning the relief of back pain, especially lower back pain, with the aid of osteopathy. This is a great place to start if you’re interested in the statistics and nuts & bolts of what we do & why we do it.
A systematic review, conducted by the NCOR in 2016, including a meta-analysis of randomised clinical trials, concluded that osteopathy reduces pain more effectively than placebo treatment. That’s nothing new to regular attenders, but really exciting for anyone who hasn’t experienced osteopathy yet. Several studies have also reported that osteopathy was more effective than other ‘conventional treatments’.
The numbers point to what we do benefitting people in the short as well as in the medium term (i.e. the effects lasting beyond three months). Osteopathy’s effectiveness at reducing pain is comparable to that obtained with certain non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), without any of the side effects associated with them.
Osteopathy is therefore a valid alternative to medication for people with acute pain, and possibly for chronic lower back pain.
On top of that, physical pain associated with low back pain can result in other problems for the sufferer. Apparently, up to 35 per cent of patients are diagnosed with depression and anxiety, affecting the patients’ mental wellbeing.
RCT’s (Randomised Controlled Trials)
The results of a randomised clinical trial of 58 patients, with acute musculoskeletal pain for less than three weeks, show that osteopathy was as effective as taking a recognized painkiller. In another example, a clinical study evaluated chronic neck pain in 41 patients.
A greater decrease in pain intensity was observed in the osteopathy group compared to the placebo group after ten weeks of treatment. The authors emphasize that these changes have a positive effect on the quality of life of participants.
So what are you waiting for?? Now I’ve got all the dry science bit of what we do out of the way, why not come and see how much fun we can have getting you better.