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What is Evidence-Based Osteopathy?

Updated: Jul 27, 2023



What is Evidence-Based Practice (EBP)?


Evidence-based practice (EBP) is an approach to decision-making that involves using the best available evidence to inform decisions about providing the most effective and efficient care.


Practitioners use research findings, clinical expertise, patient preferences and values to guide their clinical decision-making and treatment choices.


This approach involves:

  • Critically evaluating the available research evidence.

  • Considering the individual needs and circumstances of the patient or client.

  • Making informed decisions about how to provide the most appropriate care or service.

By using this approach, practitioners can make more informed decisions that are more likely to result in positive outcomes for their patients or clients. This also means that treatment choices are dynamic and can change with the emergence of new evidence.





Why is Evidence-Based Osteopathy important?


Evidence-based osteopathy is essential because it helps ensure that patients receive the most effective and safe treatments. By using the best available evidence, practitioners can make informed decisions about patient care and tailor treatments to each patient's individual needs.


Additionally, evidence-based osteopathy helps ensure that treatments are consistent with current best practice guidelines, leading to better patient outcomes. By using evidence-based practice, practitioners can also avoid ineffective or potentially harmful treatments, reducing the risk of adverse events.




Examples of evidence-based Osteopathy?


Lower back pain is something many of us will, unfortunately, have to deal with at some stage in our life. Osteopaths have various treatment options at their disposal, from Muscle Energy Technique (MET), myofascial techniques, soft-tissue techniques, joint mobilisation, craniosacral techniques, and visceral interventions, so picking the right approach could be a challenge.


This is where taking an evidence-based approach helps. Numerous randomized controlled trials have looked at the use of osteopathic manipulation for low back pain and shown that osteopathic manipulation can be an effective treatment for low back pain, leading to improvements in pain, function, and quality of life.


Another example of evidence-based osteopathy is the use of exercise therapy for patients with osteoarthritis. Research has shown that exercise therapy can help to improve pain and function in patients with osteoarthritis, leading to improved quality of life.


It is also important to note that your practitioner would have seen thousands of patients and built up their own internal pool of data, so clinical experience is also very important. Not all treatment choices have published research, so drawing from previous cases seen in clinics and recalling what has worked is often a fundamental part of clinical reasoning.


So what does this mean for you?


Practitioner should always take the time to explain why they have chosen a given treatment choice and outline what they are aiming to achieve. Whether based on up-to-date research or clinical experience, forming a robust rationale for treatment choices is key. The use of evidence-based practice is becoming increasingly popular in healthcare, and practitioners must stay up-to-date with the latest research findings to ensure that they are providing the best possible care to their patients.

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