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Osteopathic Technique

The osteopathic profession has recognised the increasing need to identify and fund high quality research to demonstrate efficacy and effectiveness. This evidence base is of vital importance to the future direction of the profession and the safety of the public.

The National Council for Osteopathic Research (NCOR) was constituted in 2003 in order to explore and assure the place that osteopathy has to play in Healthcare. They are an authoritative source of the latest information for practitioners and the public on new initiatives and trials. Please click on the logo below to link directly to their site.


The National Institute for Clinical Excellence(NICE) produces guidelines endorsing manipulation for low back pain as an effective treatment----Laurence Kirk quoted on the subject in The Guardian newspaper

Osteopathy has a strong profile within musculo-skeletal care. Recently the European Commission Acute Low Back Pain Guidelines specifically made reference to manipulation as an effective treatment for low back pain.

In addition, the Department of Health has recently published A Musculoskeletal Services Framework for England.This document looks at NHS musculoskeletal services and ways ofr offering more care closer to home, including access to diagnostic tests. The document is aimed at helping local health communities keep to the maximum wait of 18 weeks by improving the provision of orthopaedic services.

The Musculoskeletal Services Framework emphasises the need for efficient delivery of front-line services. To reduce the workload on GPs, it is suggested that NHS patients' needs could be assessed by osteopaths or physiotherapists, for example, without the need for a GP referral.

A table of evidence relating to the treatment of certain conditions has been produced to complement the work of Bronfort on manual therapy(see below), It is however important to read this in the contect of the commentary provided by Haldeman and Underwood.

Please find below a selection of research references and links regarding osteopathic treatment and/or manipulation. This is not  intended to be an exhaustive list but more as a sampling of recent research to evaluate existing and innovative osteopathic approaches to healthcare. This page will be updated from time to time with further resources.

  • Bronfort G, Haas M, Evans R, Leininger B, Triano J: Effectiveness of manual therapies: the UK evidence report; Chiropractic & Osteopathy 2010, 18:3

  • Brooks WJ, Elizabeth A Krupinski EA, Hawes MC.Reversal of childhood idiopathic scoliosis in an adult, without surgery: a case report and literature review Scoliosis 2009, 4:27
  • Eisenhart AW, Gaeta TJ, Yens DP. Osteopathic manipulative treatment in the emergency department for patients with acute ankle injuries. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2003;103(9):417-421.
  • Gamber RG, Shores JH, Russo DP, et al. Osteopathic manipulative treatment in conjunction with medication relieves pain associated with fibromyalgia syndrome: results of a randomized clinical pilot project. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2002;102(6):321-325.
  • Guiney PA, Chou R, Vianna A, et al. Effects of osteopathic manipulative treatment on pediatric patients with asthma: a randomized controlled trial. J Am Osteopath Assoc 2005;105(1):7-12.
  • Hing WA, Reid DA, Monaghan M. Manipulation of the cervical spine. Man Ther. 2003;Feb, 8(1):2-9.
  • Hondras MA, Linde K, Jones AP. Manual therapy for asthma. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2005 Apr 18;(2):CD001002. Review.
  • Jarski RW, Loniewski EG, Williams J, et al. The effectiveness of osteopathic manipulative treatment as complementary therapy following surgery: a prospective, match-controlled outcome study. AlternTher Health Med. 2000;6(5):77-81.
  • Kate R. Meltzer and Paul R. Standley. Modeled Repetitive Motion Strain and Indirect Osteopathic Manipulative Techniques in Regulation of Human Fibroblast Proliferation and Interleukin Secretion
    J Am Osteopath Assoc, Dec 2007; 107: 527 - 536.
  • Kirk L., Underwood M., Chapell L., Martins-Mendez M., Thomas P., The effect of naturopathic osteopathy in the treatment of chronic low back pain - a feasibility study. Journal Osteopathic Medicine (2005) 8, 5-11
  • Kirsch JR -Are Clinical Protocols for Osteopathic Manipulative Procedures Truly “Osteopathic”?:J Am Osteopath Assoc May 1, 2011 vol. 111 no. 5 322-347
  • Korthals-de Bos IB, Hoving JL, van Tulder MW, et al. Cost effectiveness of physiotherapy, manual therapy, and general practitioner care for neck pain: economic evaluation alongside a randomised controlled trial [electronic version]. BMJ. 2003;326:911.

  • Licciardone J, Gamber R, Cardarelli K. Patient satisfaction and clinical outcomes associated with osteopathic manipulative treatment. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2002;102(1):13-20.
  • Licciardone JC, Brimhall AK, King LN. Osteopathic manipulative treatment for low back pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2005 Aug 4;6:43.
  • Licciardone JC, Buchanan S, Hensel KL, et al. Osteopathic manipulative treatment of back pain and related symptoms during pregnancy: a randomized controlled trial. Am J Obstet Gynecol 2010;202:43.e1-8.
  • McReynolds TM, Sheridan BJ. Intramuscular ketorolac versus osteopathic manipulative treatment in the management of acute neck pain in the emergency department: a randomized clinical trial. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2005 Feb;105(2):57-68.
  • Nourbakhsh MR, Fearon FJ. The effect of oscillating-energy manual therapy on lateral epicondylitis: a randomized, placebo-control, double-blinded study. J Hand Ther. 2008;21:4-14.

  • Spiegel AJ, Capobianco JD, Kruger A, Spinner WD. Osteopathic manipulative medicine in the treatment of hypertension: an alternative, conventional approach. Heart Dis. 2003;5(4):272-278.
  • UKBT, United Kingdom back pain exercise and manipulation (UK BEAM) randomised trial: effectiveness of physical treatments for back pain in primary care BMJ  2004;329:1377 (11 December)
  • Williams NH, Wilkinson C, Russell I, et al. Randomized osteopathic manipulation study (ROMANS): pragmatic trial for spinal pain in primary care. Fam Pract. 2003;20(6):662-669.

 © Greenhill Osteopathic Practice 2009


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