Osteopathy Works... But Don't Just Take It From Me



Of course, as an osteopath I believe in the benefits of osteopathy. I can (and frequently do) tell patients, friends, family and acquaintances how I think osteopathy could improve their quality of life by reducing their pain, relieving their stiffness and aches and increasing their mobility and general well-being. But don’t just take it from me. Surely the most trusted testaments come from the patients themselves.

That is why, back in 2017, The National Council for Osteopathic Research (NCOR) developed an app to collect Patient Reported Outcome Measurement (PROM) information. NCOR wanted to find out from a large, national sample of patients, how they felt after osteopathic care. They wanted to ask patients directly, without interpretation by healthcare professionals or anyone else, how they responded to osteopathic treatment. How are your symptoms now that you have had some treatment? How are you functioning in your everyday life since treatment?

From a prospective patient’s point of view, the answers to these questions are of fundamental importance. Whether the practitioner is ‘friendly’ or not or if there is ‘ample free parking at the practice’ is all very nice to know, but at the end of the day, the most important thing is, will I feel better afterwards?

To help you decide whether treatment might be right for you, below are some of the recent findings from the ongoing PROM study. This data is based on more than three and a half thousand independent observations by osteopathic patients.


  • What are the main reasons people seek osteopathic treatment?

The main reason for seeking treatment is pain, followed by stiffness and decreased mobility and discomfort and aches.


  •  What are the main areas of symptoms that patients go to see an osteopath about?

Patients come to see us with a widespread area of symptoms. Most patients record two or three areas of pain, but some record up to thirteen areas. The most common sites of symptoms are the low back, followed by the neck and shoulders.


  • How satisfied are osteopathic patients with the outcome of their care?

Patient satisfaction is high at both one week and six weeks after treatment. 84.3% of patients are very satisfied with the outcome of their care after one week and 85.7% are still very satisfied after six weeks.


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  • What is the global rating of change after treatment?

Nearly 75% (74.4%) of patients say they are either much improved or completely recovered six weeks after treatment.


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  • How likely would patients recommend osteopathic care to their friends and family?

81.9% of patients said they are extremely likely to recommend osteopathic care to their friends and family.

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This kind of insight, while of obvious interest to patients, is also very valuable to practitioners. There is a growing view in healthcare that the data that comes from day-to-day practice is a relatively unmined, yet valuable source. By seeing things from our patients’ point of view, we may learn as a profession or as an individual, something which we may not otherwise have considered, but which we can now reflect on and improve. Data like this also allows us to benchmark our own practice against both national and international osteopathic practices, which can inform our ongoing learning.

And this brings me to the second reason for writing this blog. Research findings become more valid as the sample grows. I would therefore like to use this space to encourage my patients, both new ones and established ones, to consider whether they would like to contribute to this study.

Do you think you would like to have your say in shaping the future of osteopathy?

Your involvement would be to complete a short questionnaire at the start of your treatment and then two follow up questionnaires, one a week after the first treatment and one six weeks after the first treatment.

The questionnaires are available either through visiting a website or by downloading an app to a smartphone or tablet.

All information you give is anonymous.

If you would like further information about this study, please go to: