The case records of 5310 patients attending Registered Osteopaths were examined in this retrospective study. Analysis of the data revealed that over half presented with low back pain and were comparable to those normally seen in orthodox medical practice, except that their symptoms were of longer duration. The patients were generally examined in a conventional manner but it was not possible to identify specific diagnostic categories. The majority received one or more manual therapeutic techniques but 6% were rejected as unsuitable for treatment. The implications of the results for future research are discussed.