Osteopathic Research


The International Journal of Osteopathic Medicine – “Test-dependent Osteopathic Treatment of Somatoform Autonomic Dysfunction of the Cardiovascular System.”

The December issue, for example, includes articles on subjects as diverse as how to best assess clinical competence in osteopathic training, how the actual experience of pain impacts on your beliefs about pain, and how patients feel after osteopathic treatment.

This last study on post-treatment reactions may be of particular interest to any reader who has undergone osteopathic treatments. In the joint US-UK study, the five authors found that among the most common reported additional affects of treatment were local pain (24.3% of reported effects), local stiffness (18.3%), radiating pain/discomfort (7.5%) and unexpected tiredness (7.3%). It should be emphasised that some short term reaction to treatment is to be expected, and that the researchers found that in 96% of reported cases the reactions were mild or moderate.

Another study, from the US, looked at the issue of treating pregnant women with acute low back pain, and concluded after analysing the treatment of 20 patients that the preliminary data was encouraging, with osteopathic therapy appearing to be “an effective therapy for immediate relief of pregnancy related low back pain and suggests a possible longer term effect on improving functional capacity and bodily pain after three serial weekly treatments.”.

What about the study into differing perceptions on low back pain? A Norwegian study found significant differences in options among patients and practitioners. For example, 53% of people currently in pain disagreed with the statement that “back pain recovers best by itself”, compared with only 37% of those not currently in pain. Wishful thinking is evidently easier when you are pain free. The study also revealed striking differences between medical professionals, with only 5% of chiropractors, for example, agreeing that “in most cases back pain recovers by itself in a couple of weeks”, compared with 86% of doctors, who appear (in Norway at least) who believe that back pain isn’t a problem at all.