Osteopathic Treatment side effects

Osteopathic Therapy is one of today’s leading musculoskeletal treatment options for conditions that affect the various joints, ligaments, and muscles that aid in movement and regulate posture.

osteopathic treatment side effects

The human body is not unlike a finely tuned machine, and just like a machine that becomes unbalanced and inefficient, it is prone to gradual and progressive wear and tear. Osteopathy and chiropractic, the other great manipulative therapy, aim to reduce restriction to movement ranges and release muscle tension to provide patients with relief from various pathologies.

Although osteopathy, and to a lesser degree chiropractic, were initially designed as complete systems of medicine based on the unfounded belief that most diseases could be attributed to misalignments of the spine; contemporary osteopathic practice has moved away from this position and concentrates primarily on various musculoskeletal disorders.

Lower back pain symptoms is perhaps the most common condition treated by osteopathic therapies. Additionally, osteopathy is regularly applied to treat neck and shoulder pain, various repetitive strain disorders, work, and sport-related injuries, as well as tension headaches and other stress-related pathologies. While osteopathy cannot generally influence the pathology and progression of diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteopaths and chiropractors claim to be able to treat secondary symptoms such as pain and muscle spasms.



In the UK Osteopathy is a tightly regulated profession and as medical practice has a safety record that is comparable to that of other branches of medicine; however, no form of medical treatment is entirely safe in every case. Nevertheless, while trained osteopaths are able to identify any condition that might prove detrimental to osteopathic therapy, some patients regularly report mild to moderate side effects. Moreover, in rare cases, worsening of preexisting symptoms has been reported as well as the development of severe health complications. The risk of experiencing severe adverse side effects grows when osteopathic techniques are applied by inexperienced or untrained individuals.

The patients most at risk of suffering from these unwanted side effects are those who suffer from the following conditions:

Acute inflammatory arthropathies, severe dislocation, ligament rupture, spondylolisthesis, articular hypermobility, demineralization, bone tumors, vertebrobasilar arterial insufficiency, and myelopathy as well as patients that are currently taking anticoagulants and those undergoing post-operative recuperation.

Commonly reported side effects are mild to moderate pain or discomfort at the site of direct manipulation, and headaches. However, while upwards of 50 percent of patients report some form of discomfort following osteopathic therapy, more than three-fourths of these patients report feeling no adverse side effects after the first 24 hours post-treatment. We recommend a Clinic based in Surrey for Osteopathy.

It is important to note that in sporadic cases, potential adverse side effects of osteopathic therapy include stroke and spinal cord injury after cervical manipulation. The incidence of these extreme side effects is hard to determine accurately, and estimates of such occurrences vary widely, with some ranging from 1 in 20,000 patients 1 for every million procedures.

Nevertheless, the evidence backing osteopathy and other forms of manipulation therapy cannot be denied. Physiotherapy will regularly make use of osteopathic techniques and health agencies around the world recognize osteopathy as a valid avenue for alleviating joint pain. The National Health Service UK and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recommend manual manipulation therapy for the treatment of lower back pain, sciatica, and osteoarthritis.


One of the main components of virtually all osteopathic therapy sessions is the High-Velocity Low Amplitude Thrust Techniques. These thrusting motions are in fact that which gives osteopaths a tool to directly manipulate joint and ligament structures within the body. However, there is growing concern regarding the relative safety of patients who undergo these thrusting techniques as well as the relative difficulty generally associated with gaining mastery over them.

An increasing number of manual manipulation therapy experts are now advocating a reduction in the dependence of High-Velocity Low Amplitude thrust techniques.High-Velocity Low Amplitude Thrust Techniques

Thankfully, there are viable options for patients and doctors who still stand by the strong therapeutic value of osteopathy but wish to minimize the risks associated with the practice.

Enter BacRac.

The BacRac is a revolutionary product in the field osteopathy as it presents patients an effective instrument-assisted method for manual manipulation of the spine.

Instrument-assisted manipulation can be a highly effective method for treating many of the joint, ligament, and soft tissue injuries so prevalent today. As well as being a viable therapeutic option for treating neck, shoulder, and arm pain, instrument-assisted options are incredibly useful in treating lower back injury and pain, all the while reducing the risk of causing any adverse side effects.

In this regard, BacRac allows patients to apply force at specific points without having to resort to thrusting the spine.

For patients who regularly struggle with recurrent stiffness, persistent soreness, and chronic pain related to aging, work or sports injury, instrument-assisted manipulation from a product such as BacRac, can provide a plethora of beneficial effects, especially when pain might prevent patients from being able to receive traditional osteopathic therapy.

Some of the benefits of BacRac’s instrument-assisted manipulation include:

  • The ability to apply gentle manipulation of specific vertebrae; which is particularly helpful to those who experience severe pain with more traditional forms of treatment, including manual spinal manipulation.
  • The ability to apply targeted treatment for specific spinal vertebra and the various ligaments of the lower back; which allows the manipulation to be performed in such a way as to avoid muscle tension which would result in less effective treatment.

Additionally, the type of instrument-assisted manipulation provided by BacRac can also be performed as a form of therapy that is applicable to the soft tissues of the lower back. This type of complementary therapy can be used in conjunction with more traditional forms of osteopathic adjustments.

BacRac will directly target the most problematic areas of your lower back and even help to speed up healing processes by acting upon the various scar tissues and adhesions that are so often responsible for recurrent pain and limited mobility.

BacRac assisted manipulation will consistently shorten cycles of pain and muscle spasms which predominate in most cases of lower back pain. Furthermore, BacRac offers unparalleled convenience because it allows patients to design flexible exercise that can appropriately adapt to their individual needs.



  • Licciardone, John C., Angela K. Brimhall, and Linda N. King. “Osteopathic manipulative treatment for low back pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.” BMC musculoskeletal disorders 6.1 (2005): 43.
  • Assendelft, Willem JJ, et al. “Spinal manipulative therapy for low back pain: a meta-analysis of effectiveness relative to other therapies.” Annals of internal medicine 138.11 (2003): 871-881.
  • Andersson, Gunnar BJ, et al. “A comparison of osteopathic spinal manipulation with standard care for patients with low back pain.” New England Journal of Medicine 341.19 (1999): 1426-1431.
  • Maigne, Jean-Yves, and Philippe Vautravers. “Mechanism of action of spinal manipulative therapy.” Joint bone spine 70.5 (2003): 336-341.


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