An American study from the University of North Texas and published in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association has found that Osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) can reduce pain and improve function in patients suffering chronic low back pain particularly those with the highest pain levels and most severe disability.
In the randomised double blind, sham-controlled study was conducted to determine the efficacy of osteopathic manipulation on chronic low back pain. 455 men and women aged between 21-69 years who were suffering low back pain for at least 3 months were involved divided into 2 groups. One group were prescribed 6 osteopathic manipulative treatments over 8 weeks. The other group was given a “sham” treatment involving ineffective hands on techniques which mimicked OMT such as improper patient positioning, purposely misdirected movements and diminished force by the practitioner.
At 12 weeks, pain intensity and mobility were assessed. Each participant completed a pain scale and disability questionnaire. Given that a significant improvement in symptoms was defined as a reduction of 50% or more in these scores, the researchers found that osteopathy proved effective in the majority of patients – 57% to be precise.
Interestingly, the use of prescription and non-prescription medication was also recorded. There was no association of these to recovery.
The study also found osteopathy was beneficial to patients with more moderate cases of low back pain also.
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