Cranial Osteopathy Patient Survey
A recent survey of over 500 cranial osteopathy patients (Wilkinson et al, 2015) found that most of them were specifically seeking this kind of treatment. Patients of all ages were seen, with 13% babies under one year and 10% people over 70 years of age. Over half of patients had symptoms of less than six weeks duration while almost a third of patients had been suffering from their symptoms for more than three months. 45% of patients had already had some form of care from the NHS.
Two-thirds of patients in the survey presented with musculo-skeletal aches and pains but there were also a range of other problems and some patients wanting preventative care.
When compared to the general osteopathic population, numbers of treatments, symptom responses and adverse reaction rates were similar. Adverse treatment reactions reported after cranial osteopathy were reported as appearing to be temporary (less than 48 hours) and typically involved fatigue or a mild exacerbation of symptoms such as pain or stiffness.
The Sutherland Cranial College of Osteopathy Data Collection
This SCCO research project was accepted by the International Journal of Osteopathic Medicine in 2014 and published in 2015
There is very little published information on the practice of osteopaths using osteopathy in the cranial field (OCF) in the UK today.
To describe the practice of UK osteopaths using OCF who are affiliated with the Sutherland Cranial College of Osteopathy (SCCO); create a profile of their patients; their reasons for seeking treatment; the treatment approaches used; and reported responses to treatment.
The majority of patients were seeking a particular approach to osteopathic treatment. Babies or infants and those aged over 70 comprise a substantial group of patients. The majority of patients presented with musculoskeletal complaints. Adverse treatment reactions appeared to be transitory in nature. Many patients reported a significant reduction in symptom severity scores following an average of three treatments. Without a control group, we cannot attribute direct causality to this finding. Further testing of the patient-reported symptom severity Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) as a promising outcome tool in this context is warranted.
The full article can be found here:
Since the turn of the century the public, the osteopathic profession and other healthcare professionals have been asking for more research into the cranial concept in osteopathy. Although osteopaths and public alike were passionate about this therapeutic approach, there are relatively few scientific papers about it. Encouraging a culture of research became a priority for the SCCO Board of Trustees in order to further our understanding of our work, for the benefit of the profession and the public.
In 2007 the SCCO Board formed a new subcommittee, the Research Subcommittee (RSC), charged with undertaking research in this field. This committee was originally chaired by Colin Dove, (the SCCO President), and Clive Hayden became chairman in 2011. The research subcommittee have been active in a number of different ways as outlined below.
Data Collection Project
In 2010, the SCCO commissioned and funded its first research project. This data collection exercise used a questionnaire developed by the National Council for Osteopathic Research (NCOR) – a Standardised Data Collection form. The aim was to find out more about the day-to-day practice of osteopaths who use the cranial approach, as very little data exists about this. A comparison could then be made with the data available from a previous survey conducted on the general osteopathic profession.
Data gathered will help both the profession and the public to understand why patients seek cranial osteopathy.
Here are some of the results:
- Most patients seek cranial osteopathy as they are seeking a more gentle form of treatment.
- Osteopaths working in this field often use general osteopathic techniques alongside cranial osteopathic techniques.
- The number of treatments needed to treat patients is broadly similar to general osteopathy.
- Cranial osteopaths do treat the more common symptoms that people present with such as back or neck pain but they also treat more children and those presenting with headaches.
The results (in September 2013) have been accepted and published by the International Journal for Osteopathic Medicine. A summary of the project and its conclusions can be found here and the full report here
Infantile Colic Research Project
In 2012 Infantile colic was chosen as the next SCCO research project. There were several reasons for this:
- It is one of the main reason parents seek to have their children treated by a cranial osteopath.
- There was at the time a lot of public interest in the validity of the approach with regard to infantile colic.
- There was already some evidence to support its use and it was felt that having a body of evidence that built of what currently existed would be the best use of resources and give the most benefit to the public.
A team from the European School of Osteopathy was appointed to undertake the research and it is currently underway. This project has been partially funded by the SCCO, with a contribution from the Sutherland Society. Further fundraising is underway to complete the funding for this project.
Collecting and accessing existing research
The Research subcommittee has been working to identify and access existing research worldwide in the osteopathic profession.
LINK TO RESEARCH PAPERS:
Research Conference ‘Hidden Treasure’
For this Conference we scrutinised the dissertations written by osteopaths of British and European colleges for BSc, MSC and PhD qualifications, and asked the authors of some of the most interesting works to share their results at our conference. We are encouraging these speakers to share with us how they have developed and furthered their osteopathic skills through the work they have done, and to show us in practical sessions some of the techniques that they have used. This will enable the delegates to gain a much deeper understanding of the research work and how it can benefit their clinical practice.
Members of the college are eligible for preferential membership rates with the Royal Society of Medicine, which provided access to specific research training courses and access to medical research databases.
All the Videos can be seen here. http://scco.ac/research/videos/