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Osteopathy is a diagnostic and treatment system for a great variety of problems, mainly affecting the musculoskeletal system (Branford et al 2010). It is mainly based on the principle of individual self-healing that depends on the state of their tissues and how they function as a unit. For a body work in harmony, its structure has to be functioning correctly, and therefore the aim of osteopathic treatment is to restore the balance of body function without the use of drugs or surgery. For this the Osteopaths use touch, manipulation, stretching and soft tissue technique to increase joint mobility, and to help the body’s own self-healing mechanisms. Advice on posture, exercise, nutrition are also used to promote health, aid in recovery and prevention of symptoms.

Which medical conditions can osteopaths claim to treat?
Based on evidence submitted to CAP prior to November 2016, the ASA and CAP accept that Osteopaths can claim to treat the following:

Arthritic pain
Circulatory problems
Digestion problems
Frozen shoulder/ shoulder and elbow pain/ tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) arising from associated musculoskeletal conditions of the back and neck, but not isolated occurrences
Headache arising from the neck (cervicogenic)
Joint pains
Joint pains including hip and knee pain from osteoarthritis as an adjunct to core OA treatments and exercise
General, acute & chronic backache, back pain (not arising from injury or accident)
Generalised aches and pains
Inability to relax
Migraine prevention
Minor sports injuries and tensions
Muscle spasms
Inability to relax
Rheumatic pain
Uncomplicated mechanical neck pain (as opposed to neck pain following injury i.e. whiplash)