Dangers, Risks and Side Effects from Osteopathy

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Due to the gentle nature of osteopathic treatment, there are few (if any) risks involved in having osteopathy.

Osteopathy Making Your Problem Worse

Due to the gentle nature of osteopathic treatment it is extremely rare for osteopathy to make your symptoms (or pain) worse. However, if you suffer from osteoporosis (or osteopenia) then you will need to make sure that your osteopath is aware of your condition and any particularly delicate areas that you have on your body.

Equally, if you have an infection it is possible that osteopathy makes your infection worse before it makes it better. This happens in some people because of the increased flow of the infected fluid around the body that happens due to osteopathic stimulation. Whilst this can be unpleasant (or worse) this will often only last for a few days at most before you infection begins to drain. However, if your symptoms continue to remain bad (or continue to get worse) for an extended period of time you should phone up your osteopath for advice. If your symptoms become really bad then you should consult your GP.

Allergic Reactions

If your osteopath uses oil or creams to help them move their hands over your body then you might want to check that you are not allergic to any of the oil or cream ingredients at the beginning of your first osteopathic session. It is highly unlikely that you will be allergic to any of the ingredients (as most osteopaths use highly sensitive oils and creams made with only natural ingredients). However, if you know that you have very sensitive skin (or if you suffer from dermatographism) then you should warn your osteopath and discuss other forms of oil or cream that could be used on you.

If you did find that you had an allergic reaction to anything used on your body during your osteopathic treatment then your osteopath would be able to help you. You would need to wash off any of the cream (or oil etc.) that remained on your skin as quickly as possible. You may also want to have a drink of water and allow yourself some time to sit down so that your body could recover from the shock of the allergic reaction. If you react really badly (or have suffer from anaphylaxis then your osteopath may wish to take you straight to a nearby hospital. However, this is extremely rare!


Osteopathic treatment could put you at risk if you experience feelings of extreme tiredness straight after your treatment. This could be dangerous if you tried to drive home or operate heavy machinery straight after your osteopathic treatment. If you find that you have this reaction to osteopathy, then you should organise your osteopathic treatments so that either someone else picks you up or you are in walking distance of your house. You should also ensure that you are not operating any heavy machinery (or carrying out any other activity where you could case accident or injury to yourself or others by falling asleep) for a few hours after your osteopathic session.

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