Osteopathic Manipulation for Chronic Low Back Pain?Chronic low back pain affects many adults in the United States every year. In fact, it's the second most common cause for a visit to the family doctor. It's the most common reason for treatment by an osteopath.
Osteopaths use spinal manipulation to treat back pain. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality agrees with spinal manipulation in the first month of low back pain. Many studies support the use of manipulation. Research shows the best effect comes with the first treatment.
Every group treating patients with low back pain wants to know if their method is working. This includes doctors, surgeons, osteopaths, physical therapists, acupuncturists, and chiropractors. This study was done by several osteopathic colleges and centers. It looks at the results of osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT). The three patient groups studied include 1) OMT, 2) sham or pretend OMT, and 3) no treatment.
Osteopaths in this study looked at general health, back pain, patient response, and function. The results show equal results between osteopathic manipulation and sham treatment. Patients who had no treatment didn't do as well.
The authors think the lack of difference between the group receiving osteopathic manipulation and the group getting sham treatment brings up questions about the effects of OMT. They suggest reasons why the results turned out this way. A larger study with doctors who have been osteopaths for a longer time is advised.
John C. Licciardone, DO, et al. Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment for Chronic Low Back Pain. In Spine. July 1, 2003. Vol. 28. No. 13. Pp. 1355-1362.
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