Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Osteopaths and Practice

In Practice, Osteopaths are frequently asked questions (FAQ) as shown below

FAQ1: Do I need a referral from my GP to see an osteopath?

You can get an opinion or referral from your local General Practitioner on whether Osteopathy treatment is suitable for you. However most people self-refer themselves to Osteopaths. Any Our Osteopath has the clinical competency to diagnose and treat patients within musculoskeletal practice.

FAQ2: What Qualifications do Osteopaths have?

Osteopaths have undergo 4-5 years of undergraduate university education and training before they can sit their Final Clinical Competency Examination to register with the General Osteopathic Council.  During the training Osteopaths must complete between 1000 -1200 hours of supervised practice during their training whilst being supervised by experienced osteopaths and clinic tutor. On completion of the course, osteopaths they graduate either with degree title, B.Ost, B.Ost Med, BSC Ost or M.Ost and M.Ost Med.

FAQ3: Is Osteopathy Regulated?

Osteopaths are regulated by the General Osteopathic Council. In order to remain registered with the General Osteopathic Council, an osteopath must complete a minimum 30 hours of continued professional development in their practice. 15 hours must be self-directed and 15 hours must be ‘learning with others’ Though osteopaths generally do complete more 30 hours in a given year.

FAQ4 Where do Osteopaths Tend to Practice?

Osteopaths practice from various locations including from home, multitherapy clinics, private health clinics, complementary therapy practices and therapy rooms in Gym facilities. Increasing more osteopaths are practicing from medical centres, GP surgeries and even outpatients centres of hospitals. In some cases, Osteopathy can be made available on the NHS, though this dependent whether your local primary care trust will provide the funding for the treatment.

FAQ5 Is there any Research or Clinical Guidelines to support Osteopathy as a Therapy?

There is a growing evidence base for Osteopathy and manual therapy for various musculoskeletal conditions. A good resource for Osteopathic Research is the National Council for Osteopathic Research (NCOR) for more information. Alternatively you use any medical database like PubMed and type in “osteopath,” “osteopathy,” or “Osteopathic” and see what is available.

Furthermore, National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) does provide guidelines for the application of manual therapy and exercise for mechanical low back pain. Please see their guidance on Low Back Pain and Sciatica in Over 16s: Assessment and Management.

FAQ6 How Many Appointments May I Need?

Most people will require up to 3-4 appointments. Some people will get better in 1-2 appointments, whereas other may take more than 4 appointments. The number of appointment required is dependent on the prognosis in the case notes, if you have been suffering with medical condition or long standing history of musculoskeletal complaints that complicates the your recovery then it may longer. If you are a relatively healthy person with no to little medical complications, then your recovery should be fairly rapid.

FAQ7 Is Osteopathy a Safe Form of Manual Therapy Treatment?

Yes. In fact, a study by Degenhardt et al. (2018) showed  that the incidence of adverse events immediately after Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment, most commonly pain/discomfort, was lower than previous reports from other manual medicine disciplines.

FAQ8 What is the difference between Osteopathy and Chiropractic?

Both Osteopaths and Chiropractors are healthcare practitioners working within musculoskeletal medicine. There are similarities and differences. Both therapies similar in the respect, the treatment is manual therapy approach though the delivery of techniques is quite different. Some practitioners are more gentle and some are more firm with their application of techniques.

Both practitioners have the ability to examine and diagnose musculoskeletal conditions, though the delivery of the examination could be different.

However, what is most important is the patient experience of both therapies is key to whether that person prefers osteopathy or chiropractic. Also providing the patient with the correct information to make an informed decision about which treatment is right for them.

Reference List

Degenhardt BF, Johnson JC, Brooks WJ, Norman L. (2018) Characterizing Adverse Events Reported Immediately After Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment. J Am Osteopath Assoc. Mar 1;118(3):141-149