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      Osteopathic Manipulation in the Management of Chronic Pain: Current Perspectives

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          Abstract

          Chronic pain is a common condition that often interferes with work or other activities. Guidelines support the use of non-pharmacological treatments, such as spinal manipulation, in patients with chronic pain. Osteopathic physicians in the United States are uniquely positioned to manage chronic pain because their professional philosophy embraces the biopsychosocial model and they are trained in the use of osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) to complement conventional medical care. This narrative review provides current perspectives on the osteopathic approach to chronic pain management, including evidence for the efficacy of OMT based on systematic searches of the biomedical literature and the ClinicalTrials.gov database. Men, persons with low levels of education, and non-White and Hispanic patients are significantly less likely to have received OMT during their lifetime. Patients with low back and neck pain are most likely to be treated with OMT, and osteopathic manipulative medicine specialty physicians and family medicine physicians most often use OMT. However, many osteopathic physicians report using OMT infrequently. Although OMT is considered safe, based on millions of patient encounters over more than a century, there is limited evidence on its efficacy in treating chronic pain. The lone exception involves chronic low back pain, wherein there is evidence from systematic reviews, a large clinical trial, and observational studies. There is lesser evidence to support cost effectiveness and patient satisfaction associated with OMT for chronic pain. The only clinical practice guideline established by the American Osteopathic Association recommends that OMT should be used to treat chronic low back pain in patients with somatic dysfunction. Given the philosophy of osteopathic medicine, universal training of osteopathic physicians to use OMT, and national guidelines supporting non-pharmacological treatments for chronic pain, it is unclear why OMT use is reported to be remarkably low in physician surveys.

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          Most cited references 37

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          Report of the NIH Task Force on research standards for chronic low back pain.

          Despite rapidly increasing intervention, functional disability due to chronic low back pain (cLBP) has increased in recent decades. We often cannot identify mechanisms to explain the major negative impact cLBP has on patients' lives. Such cLBP is often termed non-specific and may be due to multiple biologic and behavioral etiologies. Researchers use varied inclusion criteria, definitions, baseline assessments, and outcome measures, which impede comparisons and consensus. Therefore, NIH Pain Consortium charged a Research Task Force (RTF) to draft standards for research on cLBP. The resulting multidisciplinary panel recommended using 2 questions to define cLBP; classifying cLBP by its impact (defined by pain intensity, pain interference, and physical function); use of a minimum dataset to describe research participants (drawing heavily on the PROMIS methodology); reporting "responder analyses" in addition to mean outcome scores; and suggestions for future research and dissemination. The Pain Consortium has approved the recommendations, which investigators should incorporate into NIH grant proposals. The RTF believes that these recommendations will advance the field, help to resolve controversies, and facilitate future research addressing the genomic, neurologic, and other mechanistic substrates of chronic low back pain. We expect that the RTF recommendations will become a dynamic document and undergo continual improvement.
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            Intensity of Chronic Pain--The Wrong Metric?

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              Osteopathic manipulative treatment for low back pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

              Background Osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) is a distinctive modality commonly used by osteopathic physicians to complement their conventional treatment of musculoskeletal disorders. Previous reviews and meta-analyses of spinal manipulation for low back pain have not specifically addressed OMT and generally have focused on spinal manipulation as an alternative to conventional treatment. The purpose of this study was to assess the efficacy of OMT as a complementary treatment for low back pain. Methods Computerized bibliographic searches of MEDLINE, EMBASE, MANTIS, OSTMED, and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials were supplemented with additional database and manual searches of the literature. Six trials, involving eight OMT vs control treatment comparisons, were included because they were randomized controlled trials of OMT that involved blinded assessment of low back pain in ambulatory settings. Data on trial methodology, OMT and control treatments, and low back pain outcomes were abstracted by two independent reviewers. Effect sizes were computed using Cohen's d statistic and meta-analysis results were weighted by the inverse variance of individual comparisons. In addition to the overall meta-analysis, stratified meta-analyses were performed according to control treatment, country where the trial was conducted, and duration of follow-up. Sensitivity analyses were performed for both the overall and stratified meta-analyses. Results Overall, OMT significantly reduced low back pain (effect size, -0.30; 95% confidence interval, -0.47 – -0.13; P = .001). Stratified analyses demonstrated significant pain reductions in trials of OMT vs active treatment or placebo control and OMT vs no treatment control. There were significant pain reductions with OMT regardless of whether trials were performed in the United Kingdom or the United States. Significant pain reductions were also observed during short-, intermediate-, and long-term follow-up. Conclusion OMT significantly reduces low back pain. The level of pain reduction is greater than expected from placebo effects alone and persists for at least three months. Additional research is warranted to elucidate mechanistically how OMT exerts its effects, to determine if OMT benefits are long lasting, and to assess the cost-effectiveness of OMT as a complementary treatment for low back pain.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                J Pain Res
                J Pain Res
                JPR
                jpainres
                Journal of Pain Research
                Dove
                1178-7090
                20 July 2020
                2020
                : 13
                : 1839-1847
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Family Medicine, University of North Texas Health Science Center , Fort Worth, TX, USA
                [2 ]Gibson D. Lewis Library, University of North Texas Health Science Center , Fort Worth, TX, USA
                Author notes
                Correspondence: John C Licciardone University of North Texas Health Science Center , 3500 Camp Bowie Boulevard, Fort Worth, TX76107, USATel +1817-735-2028Fax +1817-735-0157 Email john.licciardone@unthsc.edu
                Article
                183170
                10.2147/JPR.S183170
                7381089
                © 2020 Licciardone et al.

                This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/). By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms ( https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php).

                Page count
                Tables: 1, References: 57, Pages: 9
                Categories
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