Musculoskeletal Medicine and PainORIGINAL ARTICLE

Effect of osteopathic manipulative treatment and Bio-Electro-Magnetic Energy Regulation (BEMER) therapy on generalized musculoskeletal neck pain in adults

Genevieve M. Palmer, BS; Nicholas Dominick, DO, PharmD; Melissa Kane, DO, MBS; Sawyer Bawek, DO; Blake Burch, DO, PharmD; Taylor Sanders, MS; Davong Phrathep, MS; Nicole Myers, DO, MS; and Santiago Lorenzo, PhD, MS, MS
Notes and Affiliations
Notes and Affiliations

Received: July 7, 2023

Accepted: November 1, 2023

Published: December 1, 2023

  • Genevieve M. Palmer, BS, 

    Osteopathic Research Department, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, Bradenton, FL, USA

  • Nicholas Dominick, DO, PharmD, 

    Osteopathic Research Department, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, Bradenton, FL, USA

  • Melissa Kane, DO, MBS, 

    Osteopathic Research Department, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, Bradenton, FL, USA

  • Sawyer Bawek, DO, 

    Osteopathic Research Department, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, Bradenton, FL, USA

  • Blake Burch, DO, PharmD, 

    Osteopathic Research Department, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, Bradenton, FL, USA

  • Taylor Sanders, MS, 

    Osteopathic Research Department, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, Bradenton, FL, USA

  • Nicole Myers, DO, MS, 

    Assistant Professor, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, Bradenton, FL, USA

  • Santiago Lorenzo, PhD, MS, MS, 

    Associate Professor, Physiology, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, Bradenton, FL, USA

Abstract

Context: General neck pain is a prevalent complaint made by patients to their physicians and is often of a suspected musculoskeletal origin. Osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) is a form of manual therapy utilized by osteopathic physicians and some allopathic physicians to treat a broad variety of musculoskeletal ailments, including neck pain. Bio-Electro-Magnetic Energy Regulation (BEMER) is an emerging therapeutic modality that deploys a biorhythmically defined stimulus through a pulsed electromagnetic field and has been shown to reduce musculoskeletal pain. Studies on these treatments have independently yielded promising results. Therefore, it is possible that the utility of OMT and BEMER can produce an additive improvement in the treatment of neck pain.

Objectives: The objectives of this study are to investigate the individual and combined effects of OMT and BEMER therapy on neck pain in adults.

Methods: Adults with nonspecific neck pain were recruited for the study. A total of 44 participants met the study inclusion criteria and were randomized into one of four study groups: OMT-only, BEMER-only, OMT+BEMER, or CONTROL (light touch and sham). Forty subjects completed the study, and data for 38 participants were included in our analyses. An OMT and BEMER protocol were specifically designed for this study under the guidance of a licensed osteopathic physician. Participants underwent intervention for a duration of 3 weeks. Data were obtained through baseline and postintervention assessments utilizing three surveys: Neck Disability Index (NDI), Visual Analog Scale (VAS), and Short Form 12-item Health Survey (SF-12, divided into Mental and Physical). One-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) analysis was performed retrospectively on pre- and postintervention absolute means between study groups. Significance was set at p<0.05.

Results: One-way ANOVA analysis demonstrated a statistically significant difference in pre- vs. postintervention mean scores between BEMER and CONTROL (p<0.05), BEMER compared to OMT (p<0.005), and BEMER compared to BEMER+OMT (p<0.05), in the NDI. The OMT+BEMER group reported an average reduction in pain on the VAS of 21.3 (±29.3) points, or a 65.0 % reduction of pain. A similarly substantial decrease in pain was reported in the BEMER study group, which showed a 46.2 % reduction in pain from baseline. The OMT and CONTROL study groups only reported a 2.9 and 23.9 % decrease, respectively. The BEMER and OMT+BEMER study groups also demonstrated a reduction in subjective reporting on the NDI, by 53.8 and 26.3 %, respectively. The BEMER study group also achieved the most substantial improvement in mental and physical well-being as reported by the SF-12.

Conclusions: Study arms that incorporated BEMER yielded improvements on the NDI, VAS, and SF-12, indicating benefits to BEMER regarding improved overall functionality in routine daily activities as well as a reduction in nonspecific neck pain. Perceived pain, as demonstrated on the VAS, was seemingly improved in an additive fashion from the BEMER group to the OMT+BEMER group, although the results did not achieve statistical significance. Further study with greater participation could provide additional insight.

Read Full Article