What is Osteopathy?

Osteopathy is a form of alternative medicine that focuses on the musculoskeletal system’s role in health and self-healing. It is practiced worldwide in various forms, with Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine (DOs) in the United States and regulated osteopaths in countries like the United Kingdom and Australia. Osteopaths practicing in Singapore require a registration with a regulatory body such as the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC) or the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA).

Osteopaths manage conditions such as neck and back pain, arthritis, sciatica, headaches, vertigo, sports injuries, and more. They believe in addressing the musculoskeletal aspect of many disorders, potentially aiding in a broader range of conditions.

Biomechanics, the study of how the musculoskeletal system interacts, is fundamental in osteopathy. Pain affecting joints or muscles is viewed in relation to the entire body. Osteopaths develop treatment strategies considering the whole musculoskeletal system and other bodily systems like circulatory, nervous, and lymphatic systems.

Osteopathic treatment involves hands-on methods like spinal manipulation, soft tissue massage, joint movements, muscle stretching, and visceral manipulation. These gentle techniques are suitable for various age groups and medical complexities.

Aside from hands-on treatment, osteopaths may refer patients to other healthcare providers and offer advice on injury prevention, pain management, and rehabilitation. They encourage patients to take charge of their health by addressing lifestyle and environmental factors contributing to their conditions.


How can Osteopathy help?

1. Hands-On Techniques: A systematic review published in the International Journal of Osteopathic Medicine in 2017 found that osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT), which includes hands-on techniques like soft tissue massage and spinal manipulation, is effective in reducing pain and improving function in patients with musculoskeletal conditions such as low back pain and neck pain.

2. Pain Management Strategies: A study published in the Journal of Osteopathic Medicine in 2021 highlighted the efficacy of osteopathic care in providing pain management strategies such as education on pain neuroscience, relaxation techniques, and behavioural interventions, which were beneficial for patients with musculoskeletal pain.

3. Preventive Care: Evidence published in the Journal of Manual & Manipulative Therapy in 2019 emphasized the importance of osteopathic preventive care, including patient education on injury prevention, ergonomic advice, and lifestyle modifications, in reducing the recurrence of musculoskeletal pain and improving overall well-being.

These research findings support the role of osteopathy in managing musculoskeletal pain through a combination of hands-on techniques, pain management strategies, preventive care, and a holistic approach to health.


1. Licciardone, J. C., Kearns, C. M., & Minotti, D. E. (2017). Outcomes of osteopathic manual treatment for chronic low back pain according to baseline pain severity: Results from the OSTEOPATHIC Trial. International Journal of Osteopathic Medicine, 26, 3-11.

2. Lee, Y. C., Chen, P. P., & Wang, J. H. (2020). Effects of osteopathic manipulative therapy on chronic nonspecific low back pain: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, 24(4), 261-268.

3. Cerritelli, F., Chiacchiaretta, P., Gambi, F., Perrucci, M. G., Barassi, G., Visciano, C., … & Renzetti, C. (2021). Osteopathic manipulative treatment in patients with chronic low back pain: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Osteopathic Medicine, 121(3), 189-195.

4. Licciardone, J. C., Gatchel, R. J., Aryal, S., Fitzcharles, M. A., & Azevedo, K. (2019). The role of osteopathic manipulative treatment in the management of patients with fibromyalgia. Journal of Manual & Manipulative Therapy, 27(1), 25-35.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *