Women’s experiences of osteopathic care whilst living with endometriosis

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Waugh, Maadi Dalgliesh
Author ORCID Profiles (clickable)
Master of Osteopathy
Unitec Institute of Technology
Williden, Micalla
Perkins, Maureen
Masters Thesis
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
New Zealand
patients with endometriois
patient experience
chronic pelvic pain
osteopathic treatment
osteopathic medicine
Waugh, M. D. (2019). Women’s experiences of osteopathic care whilst living with endometriosis. (Unpublished document submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Osteopathy). Unitec Institute of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10652/4880
PURPOSE OF THE STUDY: At present, more than 3% of women and girls in New Zealand (NZ) experience symptoms of endometriosis. The purpose of this study was to investigate the experience of a sample NZ women who considered osteopathy to be effective in dealing with their symptoms of endometriosis and to relate the findings to the literature regarding the success of complementary and alternative medicine for the management of endometriosis. This study sought first-hand responses from participants in order to help provide insight into how to improve the management and support available to women as they manage this highly complex condition. The study also sought to establish a case for further research into osteopathy as supplementary management. The thesis presents the findings of the study and suggests implications for osteopaths and other health professionals who provide treatment and advice for women with endometriosis. It concludes with providing suggestions for future research regarding the direct effects of osteopathic treatment on symptoms of the disease. METHODS: Using a qualitative descriptive approach this thesis explored the experiences of a convenience sample of NZ women diagnosed with endometriosis who had each experienced osteopathy as part of their management for the condition. Interviews were conducted with four women aged 30-50 years, who had a laparoscopy-confirmed diagnosis of endometriosis. All of the women had included osteopathy as a strategy for managing the symptoms of endometriosis. The interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim. Data analysis followed the steps of the thematic analysis described by Braun and Clarke (2006) FINDINGS: The main themes that emerged from the interviews included: the value of osteopathic treatment for increased quality of life by empowering participants and encouraging self-management; the importance of osteopathic characteristics such as understanding the significance of patient-centred care and having compassion, building trust, making time, and encouraging relaxation; and the positive impact of osteopathy on the physical self through touch, treatment being a positive experience, and the holistic method of both assessment and treatment. DISCUSSION: The participants expressed their past and current ‘battle’ with the physical and psychological symptoms associated with endometriosis and how these impacted on quality of life. All participants had accepted that they would not find a cure for their endometriosis, instead, they each sought support and guidance to manage the associated symptoms rather than relying solely on pain medication. The findings suggest that the contributing factors to a successful treatment outcome are multifactorial and do not solely depend on the technical skill of the practitioner. Rather, a successful treatment includes a complex and dynamic relationship between the patient and practitioner which is built on trust and compassion. CONCLUSION: The findings of this study justify further research examining the role of osteopathy as an option for the management of endometriosis including both physiological and psychological symptoms associated with endometriosis
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