The problem


Osteopathy is a highly effective treatment for musculoskeletal disorders and chronic pain with recent government guidelines encouraging its use for back pain, neck pain and osteoarthritis1,2,3.

However, access to osteopathy is limited by financial constraints and only a handful of NHS Trusts provide osteopathic healthcare4.



Private patients regularly visit osteopaths for conditions as diverse as chronic pelvic pain, migraine and breathing disorders and many older adults seek treatment in order to keep them fit and healthy. Preliminary research into the use of osteopathy for preventative healthcare and chronic conditions has shown excellent effectiveness5,6.

However, the lack of large randomly controlled trials prevents the wider availability of osteopathy as part of public healthcare.


Newly graduated osteopaths leave their undergraduate education as clinically safe and competent practitioners.

However, due to the lack of a professional career structure they are largely left to find their own way into practice. This can lead to dissatisfaction, worry, poor progress, and even leaving the profession7.




  1. National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), Low back pain guidelines, 2009 (
  2. National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), Osteoarthritis guidelines, 2014 (
  3. Abbey H, Nanke, L, 2014. Developing OsteoMAP: A new programme to expand the scope of care for patients with persistent pain. Bone Joint J; 96-B: Supp 4 44.
  4. The British Osteopathic Association, 2009, Stripped Back: An investigation into the ‘postcode lottery’ of the availability of osteopathy on the NHS in England (
  5. Snider et al, 2012, Preventative Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment and the Elderly Nursing Home Resident: A Pilot Study, J Am Osteopath Assoc; Vol 112(8): pp. 489-501.
  6. Noll et al, 2010, Efficacy of osteopathic manipulation as an adjunctive treatment for hospitalized patients with pneumonia: a randomized controlled trial, Osteopath Med Prim Care; 4(2): Published online Mar 19, 2010. doi: 1186/1750-4732-4-2.
  7. Barnes & Roger, 2013. Osteopathic Development Group, Mentoring Project, Project Initiation Document.