Is Osteopathy Safe? Exploring Safety and Effectiveness

When it comes to seeking healthcare treatments, safety is a significant concern for everyone. Osteopathy, a form of alternative medicine, has gained popularity in recent years. However, many people wonder whether osteopathy is safe and effective. In this article, we will explore the safety aspect of osteopathy and examine the evidence supporting its effectiveness.

Regulation and Professional Standards

Osteopathy is a statutory regulated profession, providing patients with the same level of protection as when they visit a doctor or dentist. To practice as an osteopath, individuals must be registered with the General Osteopathic Council, which maintains stringent criteria. These criteria include education to a degree level, ongoing continual professional development, and full indemnity insurance. At the Sussex Back Pain Clinic, all osteopaths are registered, ensuring their competence and adherence to professional standards.

Effectiveness of Osteopathy

Numerous studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of osteopathy as a treatment option. According to research, approximately 80% of people experience improvement after receiving three to four osteopathic treatments. This finding highlights the positive outcomes associated with osteopathy and suggests its potential as an effective therapy for various conditions.

Recommendation by NICE: The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE), responsible for setting national clinical guidelines for adult care and management, has recognized osteopathy as a primary treatment option for non-specific back pain. This recognition emphasises the credibility and effectiveness of osteopathic treatment in addressing a common health concern.

Safety of Osteopathy

When evaluating the safety of any medical intervention, it is crucial to consider the risks involved. Osteopathy is known for its remarkably low risk of serious complications during treatment. In fact, the risk is so low that it can be considered virtually immeasurable. Statistics indicate a chance of serious complications at approximately 1 in 36,000, which translates to a mere 0.000027%. This incredibly low risk further supports the safety profile of osteopathy.


Osteopathy is a safe and regulated healthcare profession that provides patients with a reliable and effective treatment option. With its recognition by the General Osteopathic Council, numerous studies demonstrating its effectiveness, and the endorsement from NICE, osteopathy has become a credible alternative for addressing non-specific back pain and other conditions. Moreover, the exceptionally low risk of serious complications associated with osteopathic treatment reinforces its safety as a therapeutic approach. If you are considering osteopathy as a treatment option, consulting a registered osteopath can provide you with the necessary care and peace of mind.


Steve Morris is an Osteopath with over 30 years’ experience. He is a specialist in the field of non-surgical treatment of disc conditions, especially sciatica. He uses various different treatment mediums, from hands on osteopathy and acupuncture to the use of mechanical decompression with IDD Therapy, for which he is one of the country’s leading exponents and experts.

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