Osteopathic Manipulation May Be Effective for Musculoskeletal Conditions

Evidence limited or inconclusive for effectiveness in treating pediatric conditions, primary headache, and irritable bowel syndrome

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THURSDAY, April 14, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- Osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) may be effective for musculoskeletal disorders, according to a review published online April 12 in BMJ Open.

Donatella Bagagiolo, from Scuola Superiore di Osteopatia Italiana in Turin, Italy, and colleagues conducted a systematic literature review to identify randomized studies evaluating the efficacy and safety of OMT.

Based on nine systematic reviews or meta-analyses (including 55 primary trials with 3,740 participants), OMT was evaluated for a wide range of conditions, including acute and chronic nonspecific low back pain, chronic nonspecific neck pain, chronic noncancer pain, pediatric conditions, neurological conditions, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Meta-analyses revealed OMT is more effective than comparators in reducing pain and improving functional status in acute/chronic nonspecific low back pain, chronic nonspecific neck pain, and chronic noncancer pain, although effect size and quality of evidence varied. Evidence was questionable for OMT efficacy for pediatric conditions, primary headache, and IBS due to a small sample size, presence of conflicting results, and high heterogeneity. Most systematic reviews reported no adverse events.

"Although not all randomized controlled trials have investigated the safety of OMT, considering that no serious adverse events have been reported, OMT can be considered safe," the authors write.

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