Non-invasive Manual Therapy Relieves Low Back Pain
Researchers from the University of North Texas have determined that non-invasive osteopathic manual therapy will reduce low back pain in a majority of cases – avoiding expensive and invasive back surgery.
The University of North Texas researchers and Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine researchers conducted their research on 455 patients – 269 (59%) with back pain with low severity and 186 (41%) with severe low back pain.
The researchers performed their treatment research with randomization and double-blindedness using what is referred to as “sham-control.” “Sham control” refers to treatments that appear to be the same as the studied treatment but are not the prescribed treatment. In other words, they appear to be the treatment but they are not.
The researchers oversaw the treatment of the back pain patients over eight weeks of therapy, and then assessed the outcomes of the treatments after twelve weeks.
The patients were treated six times per week with Osteopathic Manual Treatment – also referred to as biomechnical treatment.
At the assessment most of the patients reported substantial improvement in pain reduction and back functioning for their particular movements. The majority of patients reported at least 50% or more reduction in pain.
Those with severe back pain had more than double the chance of significant improvement after treatment with Osteopathic Manual Therapy than those who were treated with sham treatment. And those treated with OMT had 80% chance of significant improvement on the standardized Roland-Morris Disability Questionnaire – which qualifies the mobility of the patient – as compared to those treated with the sham (placebo) therapy.
The researchers concluded that:
“The large effect size for Osteopathic Manual Therapy in providing substantial pain reduction in patients with chronic Low Back Pain of high severity was associated with clinically important improvement in back-specific functioning. Thus, Osteopathic Manual Therapy may be an attractive option in such patients before proceeding to more invasive and costly treatments.”
Osteopathic manual therapy utilizes the patient’s own relative muscle strength to help align, balance and strengthen those muscles and ligaments that support the spinal column. While most conventional medical treatments focus upon the spinal column and nerves in an isolated manner, often requiring expensive surgeries that often fail, osteopathic manual therapy utilizes safe and non-invasive guided treatments that allow the spinal region to reposition itself, rendering greater support for the lumbar region.
Licciardone JC, Kearns CM, Minotti DE. Outcomes of osteopathic manual treatment for chronic low back pain according to baseline pain severity: Results from the OSTEOPATHIC Trial. Man Ther. 2013 Jun 8.