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Degenerative cervical myelopathy:
Role of osteopaths in early diagnosis

The results of a study recently published in the JMIR, has concluded that given that osteopaths are a workforce professionally trained to examine musculoskeletal disease, they could have an important role in accelerating access to timely diagnosis and treatment of Degenerative Cervical Myelopathy (DCM).


DCM presents significant diagnosis and timely treatment challenges. Exploring these challenges, it had been observed that those with suspected or undiagnosed DCM frequently consult osteopaths for care for their symptoms.


To further explore the potential role of osteopaths in enhancing the diagnostic pathway, a survey was conducted among registered UK osteopaths by the charity in partnership with the Institute of Osteopathy.


The study aimed to describe the current interaction between osteopaths and people with DCM and understand how this may be targeted to enhance the DCM diagnostic pathway. The data was drawn from questions posed through the Institute of Osteopathy’s, census undertaken in 2021.


Results showed that osteopaths frequently encountered patients with undiagnosed DCM, suggesting their potential to accelerate access to treatment and supply further resources to support onward care.


The paper ‘Osteopathy in the early diagnosis and management of degenerative cervical myelopathy’, co-authored by Matthew Rogers the iO’s Head of Professional Development, is now available on JMIR as an open-source article.



Read the full paper here.

For more information on DCM visit


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