What are the benefits and risks of osteopathic treatment?

ARCHIVED POST N.B. This post is based on the 2012 Osteopathic Practice Standards and therefore may not reflect current legislation or current Mint procedures.

Osteopaths have a duty to discuss the benefits and risks of treatment with their patients.  Osteopathy is a very safe treatment but there are some risks.  Two pieces of research have provided the most up to date and accurate data on the benefits and risks of treatment.

Adverse events in Osteopathy, a systematic review

Clinical Risk Osteopathy and Management Report (CROaM)

Here is a summary of the statistics from this research:

Benefits of Treatment

7 out of 10 people improve after their first osteopathic treatment

After 3 to 4 treatments 8 out of 10 patients have improved

Risks of Treatment

Risks are divided into mild, moderate and serious:

Mild adverse effects of treatment: Affect 1 in 2 patients

Symptoms: Tenderness, stiffness, headache, light-headedness, tiredness, numbness and tingling for 24-48 hours after treatment

Moderate adverse effects of treatment: Affect 1 in 100 patients

Symptoms: More severe pain, bothersome numbness and tingling lasting weeks or months.

Serious adverse effects of treatment:  Affect 1 in 36079 patients

Symptoms: Require emergency medical care and include long-term damage which may be irreversible – stroke, nerve damage, muscular weakness, bowel or bladder weakness and death.

So, you have a useful set of data to use to describe benefits and risks to patients.   You can carry out an audit of your practice to demonstrate to your patients the benefits and risks of treatment specific to your clinic, you may wish to compare your data to national data to demonstrate the quality of your practice.  When describing these benefits and risks to your patients it is recommended you have visual aids to help them understand what you are describing in terms of the level of risk and associated anatomy.  It is also advised that you should use comparative data from every day activities and risks to help patients understand.

We’ve done the hard work for you…….A visual aid and benefits and risks leaflets are available through the shop.  Members receive a copy of the visual aid with their folder.

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