Osteopathy for Back Pain

I don’t want to give the impression that back pain is the only thing that osteopaths treat – I have patients coming to see me with tennis elbow, rotator cuff problems in the shoulder, sciatica, headaches, osteoarthritis and lots more – but lower back pain is perhaps the most common condition I see.

The beauty of Osteopathy is that it aims to treat the whole person, and that it sees the inter-relationships between different parts and systems of the body. It stands to reason, therefore, that it’s likely to be good for lots of different problems.

But, I thought I would review some of the research into the effectiveness of Osteopathy for back pain:

The NCOR (National Council for Osteopathic Research) website contains a summary of the data:

You can take a look here

The various research studies they cite reach a number of positive conclusions:

  • Osteopathic manual therapy is better than taking anti-inflammatories, or placebo
  • It is effective for military personnel complaining of lower back pain
  • It is good when combined with exercise
  • It is cost effective
  • It is good for treating back pain in pregnant and post-partum women
  • It is good for obese patients with chronic back pain

Admittedly, some of the research found that osteopathy was no better than sham osteopathy, but how do you convince study participants that they are having osteopathy when they are not ?!

Notable among these research studies were the following, which you can view by clicking on the author’s name: