A new drug-free approach for people with painful diabetic neuropathy: The NeuOst study

About the project

People with diabetes and associated nerve damage (diabetic peripheral neuropathy) lack good non-drug treatment options. Pain associated with this condition can be severely debilitating and lead to sleep problems and other limitations. Unfortunately, available drug treatments for neuropathic pain are not very effective or come with side effects. We are exploring a new approach built on osteopathic manual therapy: Welcome to the Osteopathy for Neuropathy project, or NeuOst!

Osteopaths mainly treat people with pain, often back pain or musculoskeletal injuries. Apart from being experts in pain management, they also provide exercise programmes and lifestyle advice. We are exploring if osteopaths can successfully care for people with painful diabetic neuropathies.

In a first project stage, we have spoken to people with diabetes and neuropathy as well as osteopaths with experience in their treatment. We did so because the potential end-users are at the heart of our work; and we learned a lot about what might be useful for patients and what might be difficult. We have also teamed up with expert clinicians in diabetes management, exercise, and psychological pain management to design the new treatment programme. An international, high-profile collaboration with experts from King’s College London, Oxford University, Imperial College, and many more!

During the current stage, we are training qualified osteopaths in the NeuOst intervention. In a clinical trial, we will then test if this can be an acceptable treatment for people with painful diabetic neuropathy.

Getting involved

Our clinical study at the University College of Osteopathy (London) will start this autumn. Right now, you can sign up to our newsletter to find out when we start recruiting people for the study.

We will be looking for patients. As participants during the clinical trial, you can experience NeuOst first-hand.

Travel expenses and participation time are paid for.

Do you live with diabetes (Type 1 or Type 2) and nerve pains in your feet or hands (painful neuropathy)?

Then sign up to our newsletter ! We will get back to you as soon as we have further information and are able to recruit people for treatment.

We are looking for treatment providers. Get trained in NeuOst and advance osteopathic practice as treatment provider during the trial.

Involvement is paid for, lasting 3-5 months, ideally at two half days per week. The treatments will take place at the University College of Osteopathy in Borough, London.

Are you a fully-qualified osteopath with at least two years’ experience?

Then let us know if you would like to get trained in NeuOst and work as a treatment provider. We will be holding interviews over the summer.

Get in touch or sign up to the NeuOst Newsletter.

If you are interested or would like to find out more, please email d.hohenschurz-schmidt19@imperial.ac.uk, who is running this study.

Governance and Ethics

This research is led by David Hohenschurz-Schmidt, osteopath and pain researcher at Imperial College London. The project sponsor is the University College of Osteopathy, represented by Steven Vogel, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research).

The project is kindly supported by funding from The Osteopathic Foundation, as well as the Alan and Sheila Diamond Charitable Trust and the Society for Back Pain Research.

The NeuOst trial will be overseen by an independent trial steering and data and ethics monitoring committee. Before the recruitment starts, all processes and materials will undergo formal review by the University College of Osteopathy Research Ethics Committee.