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Health: Osteopathy

Note: This advice is given by the CAP Executive about non-broadcast advertising. It does not constitute legal advice. It does not bind CAP, CAP advisory panels or the Advertising Standards Authority.

Osteopathy is a healthcare profession that utilises a patient focused, physical approach to restoring, maintaining and promoting physical and psychosocial well being. Primarily treatments take the form of a manual therapy involving massage, mobilisation and spinal manipulation for the treatment of musculo-skeletal problems. Osteopaths have been regulated by statute since 1993 and may refer to conditions for which medical supervision should be sought if they hold convincing evidence of the efficacy of their treatments (Rules 12.1 and 12.2).

Following a review by CAP of the Bronfort et al Review in 2010, CAP accepts that osteopaths may claim to help a variety of medical conditions, including:

• generalised aches and pains,
• joint pains including hip and knee pain from osteoarthritis as an adjunct to core OA treatments and exercise
• arthritic pain,
• general, acute & chronic backache, back pain (not arising from injury or accident)
• uncomplicated mechanical neck pain (as opposed to neck pain following injury i.e. whiplash)
• headache arising from the neck (cervicogenic) / migraine prevention
• frozen shoulder/ shoulder and elbow pain/ tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) arising from associated musculoskeletal conditions of the back and neck, but not isolated occurrences
• circulatory problems,
• cramp,
• digestion problems,
• joint pains, lumbago,
• sciatica,
• muscle spasms,
• neuralgia,
• fibromyalgia,
• inability to relax,
• rheumatic pain,
• minor sports injuries and tensions.

Osteopaths should take care to ensure that claims about their status or training do not mislead (Mr J Stewart Kyle, 25 September 2002).

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