The general public, NHS and government have been documented as showing increasing interest in the provision of complementary and alternative medicine. Clinical recommendations focussing on the management of spinal pain have examined both allopathic and non-allopathic approaches; the latter includes osteopathy. Although the evidence base for osteopathy and the use of manual therapies in the management of low back pain continues to grow, there is still debate over their benefits.
Access to osteopathic treatment is through a variety of locations: private practices, NHS hospital outpatient departments, GP’s Practices and clinics attached to osteopathic education institutions. The vast majority of patients access treatment through private practices.
Limited survey work has been undertaken to describe daily osteopathic practice; where it exists, this has shown that back pain represents approximately 50% of presentations in clinical practice. Existing data is based on a variety of settings and methodologies including retrospective data collection, data gathered from single practices, data from clinics in osteopathic educational institutions, or single snapshot surveys of one day in practice. Such data must be treated with caution and a more systematic and all-encompassing means of collecting practice-based data was proposed.
This was a national project involving members of National Council for Osteopathic Research and eight regional hubs in the development and piloting of a standardised collection tool for use in osteopathy practice.