Research Articles

Osteopathic Research 

The General Osteopathic Council (GOsC) is committed to supporting best practice in osteopathic research. The integration of Osteopathy within the wider primary healthcare community will be assisted by reliable evidence of the health benefits of osteopathic care.

The National Council for Osteopathic Research (NCOR) was established in 2003, to foster research and raise the profile of osteopathy research findings.

Osteopathy’s independent research body – NCOR is based at the Clinical Research Centre in the School of Health Professions at the University of Brighton. It is funded by stakeholder groups: the General Osteopathic Council, the British Osteopathic Association, and all the UK osteopathic educational institutions. For further information about the work of NCOR visit the NCOR website

Osteopathy: a primary health-care profession with statutory regulationspecialises in the diagnosis, treatment and overall management of conditions that are due to mechanical dysfunction of the joints, ligaments, tendons and nerves, and the spine; and the effects of this dysfunction on the nervous system and circulation.

Numerous studies throughout the world have shown that Osteopathic treatment, including manipulative therapy and spinal adjustment, is both safe and effective:

NICE Guidelines: In November 2016, new guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), on the treatment of low back pain and sciatica in over 16s, stated:

Consider manual therapy (spinal manipulation, mobilisation or soft tissue techniques such as massage) for managing low back pain with or without sciatica… as part of a treatment package including exercise.

These guidelines recommend what care and advice the NHS should offer to people affected by low back pain and sciatica. However, this treatment may be provided by a range of health professionals, including Osteopaths, as soft-tissue massage and spinal manipulation is part of the package of care that Osteopaths can offer.


  • UK Beam Trial: Back pain, exercise and manipulation (UK BEAM) randomised trial –  effectiveness of physical treatments for back pain in primary care. British Medical Journal Nov 2004; 329; 1377 (doi: 10.1136 /bmj. 38282. 669225.AE)
  • RCGP: Clinical Guidelines for the Management of Acute Low Back Pain (1996, 1999, 2001)
  • Clinical Standards Advisory Group: Backpain Report 1994.
  • Carter JT, Birrell LN (Editors) 2000. Occupational health guidelines for the management of low back pain at work – principal recommendations. Faculty of Occupational Medicine. London. Occupational health guidelines for the management of low back pain at work – leaflet for practitioners. Faculty of Occupational Medicine. London. 2000. Waddell G, Burton AK 2000. Occupational health guidelines for the management of low back pain at work – evidence review. Faculty of Occupational Medicine. London.
  • Musculoskeletal Services Framework – Department of Health  July 2006: The main treatment interventions, as recommended by the current evidence review and that of clinical guidelines is a biopsychosocial approach:  

a) Guidance on activity, lifestyle, prognosis and prevention

b) Physical treatments drawn from all types of manual therapy, spinal manipulation and rehabilitation exercise

c) Advice about pain control, including non-prescription medication

d) Psychosocial interventions aimed at resolving cognitive barriers to recovery

    • European guidelines for the management of acute nonspecific low back pain in primary care, 2005: Recommends the consideration of spinal manipulation for patients failing to return to normal activities.


Further information can be found on the following pages:

For further research updates about Osteopathy please click here 

For further research updates about Acupuncture please click here 

For further research updates about Homeopathy please click here 

To read about The Role of Evidence in Alternative Medicine: Contrasting Biomedical and Anthropological Approaches – please click here 



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