Osteopathy Proven to Benefit Chronic Low Back Pain

Post date: 31-Mar-2013 21:09:39

A recently published paper published in the Annals of Family Medicine proves that osteopathic manual treatment (OMT) is beneficial for short-term pain relief when used to complement other co-treatments for chronic low back pain.

The study was a randomised controlled trial (RCT) designed with double-blind and sham treatment components, comparing osteopathic treatment with ultrasound. RCTs are typically used in drug trials, and are not easy to achieve with physical treatment. However, the results met or exceeded the Cochrane Back Review Group criterion.

The authors of the paper concluded that the OMT patients "achieved moderate to substantial improvements in low back pain". The OMT patients also reported less frequent concurrent use of prescription drugs. "The OMT regimen was safe, parsimonious, and well accepted by patients as demonstrated by high levels of treatment adherence and satisfaction with back care." By contrast, ultrasound therapy was not efficacious in relieving chronic low back pain, and others have commented that ultrasound should not be used in routine treatment of low back pain.


Licciardone JC, Minotti DE, Gatchel RJ, Kearns CM, Singh KP.

"Osteopathic manual treatment and ultrasound therapy for chronic low back pain: a randomized controlled trial."

Ann Fam Med. 2013 Mar;11(2):122-9. doi: 10.1370/afm.1468.

PMID: 23508598