More than 600,000 people undergo surgery for back pain every year, yet back surgery is often unsuccessful. Safer manual therapies provide a viable alternative, according to recent research. A study of 455 people with low back pain found that osteopathic manipulation therapy (OMT) helped with their symptoms.
The research, published in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, gave each patient six osteopathic manual therapy sessions or a placebo treatment over a two-month period. Patients were tested before and a month afterward to assess the success of the treatments, using pain severity and mobility as the main criteria.
The research showed that those who started with higher disability scores of 17 or more prior to therapy had significantly less pain and more mobility. Patients with scores of seven or greater also improved, but not to the same degree.
Lead researcher and Osteopath Dr. John Licciardone says, “Subgrouping patients according to chronic low back pain intensity and function appears to be a simple strategy for identifying patients who can attain substantial improvement with OMT. From a cost and safety perspective, it should be considered before progressing to more costly or invasive interventions.”