How Effective Is Osteopathy?
A GP investigates.
These are comments made by Dr Laura Hollingworth and published in The Sutherland Cranial College Magazine (Summer 2012/No 34).
She wrote in 2011,
“Last year my pattern of recommendation for the treatment of a variety of musculoskeletal conditions altered significantly from physiotherapy to osteopathy, so my appraiser suggested I look at outcomes of treatment”.
The method she used was to look at the outcomes of 53 patients seen by the osteopath between October 2010 and December 2011.
Patients presented with low back, neck and shoulder, TMJ, Colic, Headache and migraine, Groin strain, and IBS.
Of those patients 37 did not require further GP appointments. Only 5 needed further appointments for pain killers or sick notes. 11 required further treatment or investigations.
In conclusion Dr Hollingworth said “This is a very simple study and should not be over-interpreted” but then goes on to discuss the findings.
Osteopaths are trained to diagnose and treat as primary healthcare practitioners and as such Dr Hollingworth states that “One patient was seen by the osteopath and referred straight back to the GP with a diagnosis of a lesion at C6 [in the neck]; “
This was confirmed by imaging and the patient required surgery.
Dr Hollingworth goes on to say in the discussion section, “...many of the referrals were straightforward Musculoskeletal problems and dealt with as such”, then adds, “...there was a subgroup which had more complex symptomatology where osteopathic treatment resolved unexpected symptoms”.
Finally Dr Hollingworth notes that and I quote directly, “From July 2011 onwards, the range of problems being referred became much wider and the rate of recommendation also increased.” And she then continues “I think the explanation for this is that I was learning more about osteopathy, both from personal experience and reading, and had more confidence in the treatment (and the practitioner).”
She concluded with a reflective comment “So-back to GP education”.
It is worth noting that all GPs and osteopaths have to undertake regular educational activity as part of their professional development and registration.
Rohan Iswariah D.O. (osteopath)
Tuesday, 25 September 2012
Headaches? Look at the alternatives before you pop another pill
It has been revealed that more than one million people in Britain may be suffering from constant, crippling headaches because they are taking too many painkillers, experts say. The pills people take to relieve headaches and migraines may be making things much worse, according to the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) in guidance to the health service for England and Wales.
As many as one in 50 people suffer continual headaches because of "medication overuse", Nice reports. The problem begins with taking the odd painkiller for tension headaches or migraines, which usually works. But some people take the pills more and more often, until they are on tablets for more than half the days in a month. Nice says that if this goes on for more than three months the medication ends up causing the problem it is intended to cure.
So what alternatives are there to continually popping pills? British Osteopathic Association Member James Clapham comments, “tension-type and neck related headaches are the most common form of headache. If you suffer from tension-type headache, then regular gentle exercise will almost certainly help - such as yoga, pilates, swimming, walking. Some people find it hard to relax and probably don't realise how tense they are. If someone suffers from headaches it may also be neck related due to stiffness or restrictions of the neck. Osteopaths look to find the cause of tensions or stiffness and seek to relieve it by helping the body achieve more mobility and flexibility.
“Other lifestyle factors such as poor posture at a desk or tiredness can lead to tension-type or neck related headaches. Osteopaths look to relieve this tension and give advice on posture and exercises to do to help prevent the tension or stiffness from building up. For example we would recommend taking regular breaks from sitting at a computer desk for long periods of time or prolonged driving. Any persistent or sudden severe headache should always be checked by a GP first.”
For further information about the BOA or to find a BOA member near you please visit www.osteopathy.org
About the British Osteopathic Association
The British Osteopathic Association (BOA) is the professional association for osteopaths in the UK, acting as an independent representative body whilst promoting osteopathy to the general public and government. The BOA is committed to supporting, protecting and caring for its members and promoting opportunities for individual and professional development in osteopathic practice. There are nearly 4,000 osteopaths on the UK register who carried out over seven million treatments last year, and many of these are members of the British Osteopathic Association
The B.O.A is now called the Institute of Osteopathy
A7_About Osteopathy_114612352 Osteopathy is a method of assessing, treating and preventing a wide range of health problems. Osteopaths use a combination of movement, stretching, targeted deep tissue massage and manipulation of a person’s muscles and joints to improve function, relieve pain and aid recovery.
The body has the natural ability to maintain itself and, by helping this process, an osteopath can promote restoration of normal function. The principle of osteopathy is that the wellbeing of an individual relies on the way that bones, muscles, ligaments, connective tissue and internal structures work with each other.
An osteopath will take the time to understand their patient, and their unique combination of symptoms, medical history and lifestyle. This helps to make an accurate diagnosis of the causes of the pain or lack of function (rather than just addressing the site of the condition), and from that, to formulate a treatment plan that will achieve the best outcome.
Osteopaths frequently work alongside other health professionals, such as GPs, nurses and midwives as well as alternative medical practitioners. Osteopathy works well to complement other medical interventions including surgery and prescribed medication.
The National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) advises that GPs can safely refer patients to an osteopath for treatment. Osteopathy is available on the NHS in some areas of the UK.
Safety and Regulation
A7_About_Osteopathy_185020862 Osteopaths are regulated by the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC). It is against the law to call yourself an osteopath unless you are qualified and registered with the GOsC. The minimum qualification for an osteopath is completion of a four or five year degree, which includes at least 1000 hours of supervised clinical practice. Many osteopaths also study for masters degrees. They must then continue to update and expand their knowledge by logging a minimum of 30 hours per year of continuing professional development. GOsC can remove an osteopath from the register if they fail to maintain a strict code of professional practice. You can check whether an osteopath is registered by visiting the GOsC website.
Osteopathy is very safe. It is estimated that between 1 in 50,000 and 1 in 100,000 patients will suffer a reaction to osteopathic treatment that is serious enough to require further medical treatment or does not resolve within 48 hours.