Characteristics and Treatment of Pediatric Patients in an Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine Clinic

Grady Kaiser, DO, MS; Brian F. Degenhardt, DO; J. Michael Menke, PhD, DC; and Karen T. Snider, DO
Notes and Affiliations
Notes and Affiliations

Received: February 6, 2019

Accepted: March 5, 2019

Published: March 1, 2020

J Osteopath Med; 120(3): 153-163

Context: Osteopathic manipulative medicine (OMM) is recognized as an adjunctive medical approach for the treatment of pediatric patients, but few studies have detailed the pediatric conditions that prompt the use of osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) or the types and frequency of OMT used.

Objectives: To present descriptive data of pediatric patients receiving OMT from a neuromusculoskeletal medicine/OMM outpatient clinic.

Methods: Data were drawn from electronic health records from a single outpatient specialty clinic for pediatric clinical encounters involving OMT that took place between January 1, 2014, and December 31, 2016. Encounter notes and billing records were reviewed for demographic information, presenting complaints, clinical assessments, somatic dysfunction assessments, OMT techniques used, and payment method. Data were categorized by patient age and analyzed.

Results: Five hundred thirty-seven pediatric patients (321 girls, 216 boys) received OMT during the study. These patients accounted for 1688 clinical encounters (1106 for girls, 582 for boys). Mean (SD) number of encounters was 2.7 (1.3) encounters for boys and 3.5 (1.1) encounters for girls. A higher percentage of patients younger than age 2 were boys, while a higher percentage of patients older than age 2 were girls (both P=.005). Musculoskeletal complaints and assessments were the most common for children aged 6 years and older; misshapen head, feeding difficulties, and colic were the most frequently reported for children younger than 6 years. There were 8557 somatic dysfunction assessments documented; thoracic and cervical somatic dysfunction were most commonly assessed. There were 8485 OMT techniques documented, and myofascial release was most frequently used. Encounters with self-pay patients (n=72) involved fewer somatic dysfunction assessments (P<.001) than encounters with patients using private insurance (n=1060) or Medicaid (n=542).

Conclusions: The electronic health records reviewed in the current study revealed descriptive data of pediatric patients presenting to an OMM clinic; these data were rarely documented in previous literature. They may be used by clinicians to better understand the role of OMM as a pediatric adjunctive medical approach and to identify conditions to target for future outcome studies based on common presenting complaints.

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