Osteopathy Research

Osteopathic Research

An article in the International Journal of Osteopathic Medicine, asked if osteopathic research was necessary.  The argument against research was offered as “Osteopathy can’t be summed up in a test tube or in a laboratory, or that a reductionists research paradigm cannot investigate a holistic patient centred approach”.  This is a typical alternative therapies argument, where the therapist argues that since each case is taken on its own merits and may consist of many interrelated and patient specific variables, it is therefore impossible to compare treatments.

But the article argues that research is important.  It quoted from research in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine by Ernst and Cantor, which concluded that spinal manipulation is not effective for any condition (tell that to the many satisfied patients of osteopaths, or chiropractors come to that!).  The point being made was that the Ernst and Cantor article was premised on a flawed methodology.  The IJOM article implicitly makes the case for osteopathic research, in order to combat the poor research of non-osteopaths.  It argues that at the very least simple metrics can be captured, including: patient satisfaction; mood state; mental health; quality of life; positive outlook; physical function; disability; pain intensity and recurrence (IOJOM, 2006, p. 75)

Such metrics can provide valuable statistics on the efficacy or otherwise, of treatment.

The National Council for Osteopathic Research (NCOR) has called for research proposals in the following areas:

Proposal 1: Adverse events associated with physical interventions in osteopathy and relevant manual therapies

Proposal 2: Communicating risk and obtaining consent in osteopathic practice

Proposal 3: Insurance claim trends and patient complaints associated with osteopathic care

Proposal 4: Investigating osteopaths’ attitudes to managing and assessing risk in clinical settings and patient’ experiences and responses to osteopathic treatment (The Osteopath, 2007).  Clearly as osteopathy becomes more widely accepted and available, so the need for quantitative and qualitative research becomes more imperative.

International Journal of Osteopathic Medicine Volume 9 Number 3 September 2006

The Osteopath Volume 10 Issue 2 March 2007