'Do Osteopaths have any training?' was something I read recently on Facebook. It had been asked when an osteopath had asked to put some leaflets out in a psychologists practice.
Yes, we do.
In the UK Osteopaths complete a 4 year full time course or a 5 year part time course which results in a BSc Hons, a BOst or BOstMed or a masters degree MOst. Those of us who qualified before 1995 have a DO. This is a Diploma in Osteopathy in the UK and a Doctor of Osteopathy in the USA. In the USA, DO's are medical practitioners. However, what many people don't know about Osteopathic training in the UK is that it covers many aspects of medicine in the training.
Osteopathic training not only includes high levels of anatomy , physiology, bio-mechanics, osteopathic principles and technique it also includes a full understanding of the body from a medical prospective. We learn, in depth, for instance, about the cardiovascular system, the gastrointestinal system, the endocrine system as well as the musculoskeletal system. We have courses in neurology, pathology, pharmacology, nutrition, radiology and orthopaedics as well as paediatrics. We also complete a 1000 hours of clinical training prior to graduating.
Why, you might ask? Well, if a patient comes into our clinic and pain in their back we need to know what is the cause of that pain and whether it is safe to treat. Is it a muscle, is it a nerve, is it a referred pain from a kidney? Our medical knowledge helps us to take a full case history, to ask to right questions to therefore perform the correct examination to make a diagnosis. Sometimes the most important knowledge is when not to treat the patient and when to refer them back to their GP for further examination and tests.
We have to complete Continuing Professional Development (CPD) each year encompassing the Osteopathic Professional Standards to ensure we are up to date and able to provide the best care to our patients.
From the General Osteopathic Council's website:
The title 'osteopath' is protected by law (Protection of title) and you have to be registered with the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC) to practise in the UK, Isle of Man and Gibraltar. It is a criminal offence, liable to prosecution, for anyone to claim explicitly or by implication to be any kind of osteopath unless they are on the GOsC Register. In order to be registered, you must have completed a course of training that is recognised by the GOsC.