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What are the known common reactions & risks of treatment?

Common reactions of treatment can be positive, negative, physiological or psychological.

Approximately half of all manual therapy patients experience some mild to moderate short-lived reaction to treatment.  These can include, for example, a temporary increase in pain or aching after treatment, or post-treatment fatigue. You may also feel more hungry than usual.

In a study of osteopathy patients, 10-20% patients reported a temporary increase in pain or symptoms, however, 42% of those went on to make clinically significant improvements compared to base line.

Most muscle soreness, aching and headache post treatment resolved within 24 hours.

Many patients who attend for osteopathic treatment take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to help with their symptoms.  Approximately 1 in 10 people who take NSAIDs on a daily basis experience persistent headaches.

It’s a fair hypothesis to suggest that the data above that suggests manual therapy could potentially be a cause of headaches (in just 10-20% of patients), is not accurate. Perhaps the headaches are a side effect of the patient simultaneously taking NSAIDs? This potential has not been accounted for.

Who is most likely to experience common reactions?

Mild to moderate treatment reactions are more frequently reported by females after their first appointment.

Treatment reactions can result from a range of manual therapy techniques and an increase in intensity of symptoms does not appear to be related to high velocity thrust (HVT) techniques. 

They appear to be more common after a patient’s first treatment, and in patients presenting with multiple sites of pain.


The therapies offered here at Baks Osteopathy have been chosen by our practitioners because of their efficacy & safety records.

Whilst minor, short lived treatment reactions can sometimes occur, we always do all we can to limit the possibility that you may suffer them.

We also ask that you follow all our advice given at consultation & that you adhere to your treatment plan, completing the necessary amount of treatments suggested by your practitioner. This will give you the maximum benefit.

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