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The British Osteopathic Association (BOA) welcomes Professor Edzard Ernst’s review of papers published since 2001 but feels that it is important to place his findings in context.

The objective of the review was specifically to identify the adverse effects of spinal manipulation and so, could be expected to highlight any adverse effects. All therapeutic interventions carry risks as well as providing benefits. Serious adverse events associated with spinal manipulation have historically been related to the upper cervical spine.

No clear figures currently exist for such events associated with osteopathy, which has historically been regarded as a safe form of treatment for a variety of conditions. In the interest of patients, the General Osteopathic Council, which regulates the practice of osteopathy in the United Kingdom, is currently funding a series of research projects to investigate the level and nature of risk that might be associated with osteopathic treatment. The Osteopathic Code of Practice states that any relevant information about risks associated with an intervention is provided to the patients to enable them to make informed decisions about their care.
Patients should note that spinal manipulation is but one of a range of techniques used by osteopaths. Therapeutic techniques are applied selectively by osteopaths to suit the needs of the individual, ensuring patients are treated as effectively as possible, but – above all – safely.

For Further information contact:
Or Julia Vockrodt/Rebecca Jones 0208 964 0260 or

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