2011 Systematic Review on Osteopathy

Reference:Posadzki P, Ernst E. Osteopathy for musculoskeletal pain patients: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Clin Rheumatol. 2011 Feb;30(2):285-91.

I’m sometimes asked by patients and by fellow PTs, “What do you think of Osteopathy?”

I simply answer that I do not have enough knowledge or research on osteopathy to either recommend it or not recommend it. I tell them that some patients swear by various osteopathy treatments while others see no benefit. I have personally referred a few patients to osteopathy for visceral fascial treatments.

This 2011 systematic review included 16 of the best RCTs and assessed the effectiveness of osteopathy as a treatment option for musculoskeletal (MSK) pain.

Out of the 16 studies, 5 of them supported the efficacy of osteopathy but 11 of them did not.

Collectively, the systematic review “…failed to produce compelling evidence to support osteopathy as an effective treatment option for MSK pain.”

What can we confidently conclude about osteopathy? Nothing! We need better studies and probably better patient selection!

Personal Comment: We need to be careful of jumping into conclusions with systematic reviews. There is no shortage of reviews that fail to support the efficacy of certain physiotherapy interventions either …which I have written about in the past!

Posted on: December 16, 2012

Categories: Fascinating Pain Studies , Relevant Physical Therapy Articles

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