Context: Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disease that leads to impaired motor and non-motor function in patients. PD is non-curative and gradually reduces quality of life, leading patients to seek treatment for symptom management. Osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) applies the biomechanical, neurologic, circulatory, metabolic, and psychosocial models in approaching and treating the major symptomatology of PD patients.
Objectives: This article evaluates the literature published in the past 10 years analyzing evidence on OMT and its functional application on gait, balance, motor function, bradykinesia, and autonomic dysfunctions, and to identify promising avenues for further investigation.
Methods: The authors obtained studies from the research databases MEDLINE/PubMed, ScienceDaily, and EBSCO, as well as the Journal of American Osteopathic Association’s published archives. Searches were conducted in December 2020 utilizing the search phrases “OMM” (osteopathic manipulative medicine), “OMT,” “osteopathic,” “Parkinson Disease,” “manual therapy,” “physical therapy,” “training,” “autonomics,” “gait,” and “balance.” Articles published between 2010 and 2021 including subjects with Parkinson’s disease and the use of OMT or any other form of manual therapy were included. Five authors independently performed literature searches and methodically resolved any disagreements over article selection together.
Results: There were a total of 10,064 hits, from which 53 articles were considered, and five articles were selected based on the criteria.
Conclusions: The progressive nature of PD places symptom management on the forefront of maintaining patients’ quality of life. OMT has demonstrated the greatest efficacy on managing motor-related and neurologic symptoms and assists in treating the greater prevalence of somatic dysfunctions that arise from the disease. Research in this field remains limited and should be the target of future research.