Dangers, Risks and Side-effects from Osteopathy

Updated at: Dec 20, 2014
Dangers, Risks and Side-effects from Osteopathy

As with every treatment, there are some risks associated with osteopathy. Allergic reactions and tiredness are some side-effects you may experience after osteopathy but they should subside within 24-48 hours after your treatment.

Ariba Khaliq
Home RemediesWritten by: Ariba KhaliqPublished at: Dec 20, 2014

Osteopathy is a class of drug-free non-invasive manual medicine that centres on holistic health by treating and strengthening the musculoskeletal framework, which includes the joints, muscles and spine. It aims at positively affecting the body's nervous, circulatory and lymphatic systems.

Osteopathic treatment has a gentle nature and the chances of osteopathy making your symptoms (or pain) worse, are extremely low. In case you suffer from osteoporosis (or osteopenia), make sure your osteopath knows about your condition and any particularly sensitive areas that you have on your body.

Side Effects of Osteopathy

Side effects of osteopathy may include:

  • discomfort or mild pain at the point of manipulation
  • bruising
  • tenderness
  • a headache

All these problems should disappear within a day of your treatment.

Risks of Osteopathy

However, if you have an infection, osteopathy could make it worse before making it better. An increased flow of the infected fluid around the body that happens due to osteopathic stimulation may be the reason behind it in some people. Though, a nasty side-effect, this phenomenon will often only last for a few days at most and soon your infection will begin to drain. In case your symptoms continue to remain unfit and worsen over time, you should contact your osteopath for advice. You should seek immediate medical help in case your symptoms keep on getting worse for an extended time.

Allergic Reactions

Your osteopath might use oil or creams to move their hands over your body easily. You might want to check that you are not allergic to any of the oil or cream ingredients at the beginning of your osteopathic session. However, the chances of you being allergic to any of the ingredients are unlikely because most osteopaths use highly sensitive oils and creams made with only natural ingredients. In case you have a hyper-sensitive skin, or if you suffer from dermatographism (skin hives), then you should warn your osteopath and discuss other forms of oil or cream that could be used on you.

If an allergic reaction affects you due to anything used on your body during your osteopathic treatment, then turn to your osteopath for help. You would need to wash off any of the cream or oil applied to your skin, as quick as possible. You may also want to have water and allow yourself some time to sit down so that your body could recover from the shock of the allergic reaction. If your body suffers a really bad reaction or you suffer anaphylaxis (serious allergic reaction that is rapid in onset and may cause death), you should be rushed straight to a nearby hospital. This is an extremely rare but possible case.

Side Effects of Osteopathy


Osteopathic treatment could make you feel fatigued immediately after your treatment. This could be dangerous if you wish to drive home or operate heavy machinery straight after your osteopathic treatment. If you find that you get tired after your osteopathy session, you might want to organise your sessions so that someone can pick you up or your osteopathic centre is in walking distance of your house. You should also ensure that you are not operating any heavy machinery or carrying out any other rigorous activity where the chance of an accident or injury may result from your tiredness.

A technique called spinal manipulation used in osteopathy has been linked with severe complications, such as damage to an artery or having a stroke. However, research shows that the chances of this happening are very small. Around two in every million people who have manipulation carried out on their neck. This is less than the risk of you having problems if you’re taking medicines.

Other than the above mentioned risks and side effects of osteopathy, you may find that your particular problem does not respond to osteopathic treatment. This may mean that you have paid money and spend time on osteopathy and gained to alleviation from your discomfort. However, this is rare and you will probably find that you gain at least something from osteopathy even if your osteopath is unable to cure your problem.

Images: Getty

Read more articles on Osteopathy.


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