Effectiveness of Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine vs Concussion Education in Treating Student Athletes With Acute Concussion Symptoms

Sheldon C. Yao, DO; Hallie Zwibel, DO; Nicole Angelo, OMS IV; Adena Leder, DO; and Jayme Mancini, DO, PhD
Notes and Affiliations
Notes and Affiliations

Accepted: May 15, 2019

Published: August 7, 2020

J Osteopath Med; 120(9): 607-614

Context: Concussion, a type of mild traumatic brain injury, is a disruption in normal brain function due to head injury. New-onset symptoms from concussion vary, likely depending on the areas of the head and neck affected; they can be severe and debilitating. Current treatment options are limited and difficult to individualize. Osteopathic manipulative medicine (OMM) can aid musculoskeletal restrictions that can potentially improve concussion symptoms.

Objectives: To assess concussion symptom number and severity in participants with concussion who received either OMM or an educational intervention.

Methods: A randomized controlled trial was conducted at the New York Institute of Technology Academic Health Care Center. Patients presenting to the center with concussion-like symptoms due to recent head injury within the previous 7 days provided consent and were randomized into 2 intervention groups, receiving either 1 OMM treatment (n=16) or 1 concussion education intervention (n=15). Participants were assessed before and after the intervention with the validated Symptom Concussion Assessment Tool fifth edition (SCAT-5) for quantification of number of symptoms and their severity. Collected data were analyzed using the Mann-Whitney U test and the repeated-measures analysis of variance.

Results: Thirty-one participants were enrolled in the study; after 1 control participant was excluded due to incomplete data, 30 patient records were analyzed. The OMM intervention group had a significant decrease in symptom number (P=.002) and symptom severity (P=.001) compared with the concussion education group.

Conclusions: When used in the acute setting, OMM significantly decreased concussion symptom number and severity compared with concussion education. This study demonstrates that integration of OMM using a physical examination–guided, individualized approach is safe and effective in the management of new-onset symptoms of uncomplicated concussions. (Clinicaltrials.gov No. NCT02750566)

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