Can osteopathy make my lower back pain / sciatica worse?
Put simply, yes osteopathy can make your lower back pain / sciatica worse. But it’s rare. The risks for osteopathy are slightly lower than the risks for chiropractic (which are low anyway). I’ve answered this question pretty thoroughly in a previous article:
My previous article (linked to above) covers this ground pretty well, so I won’t repeat all of that here.
What’s the most common unwanted side-effect of osteopathic treatment?
As an Edinburgh osteopath, I can tell you that it’s quite likely you’ll be a bit sore after treatment and this can last a few days, but is usually just a day. According to research funded by the General Osteopathic Council about half of patients experience this post-treatment soreness (our figures are closer to 25%).
When I was a young osteopath I was over-enthusiastic in treating the back of a 65 year old retired builder. Prior to my seeing me he had the occasional stiff back. The day after he saw me, he had a really sore back, and it took my boss about 8 sessions to get him back to his usual level. He was exceptionally nice about it, and I’ve never forgotten the lesson – “first do no harm”.
Osteopathic professional indemnity insurance premiums are very low (way way lower than doctors). This is a testament to what a low risk osteopathy has. I think the figure is currently just under £300 for up to £10million worth of cover (please don’t sue me now I’ve told you how much I’m covered for!). This is because we don’t prescribe medications (which can be dangerous); and we don’t do surgery (which can be very dangerous). It’s also because the techniques and advice we offer are evidence-based and rarely result in more than a little soreness. I hope that puts your mind at rest and that you’ll now proceed to book an appointment with an osteopath online!! ;-)