Context: Osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) has been utilized by osteopathic clinicians as primary or adjunctive management for dizziness caused by neuro-otologic disorders. To our knowledge, no current systematic reviews provide pooled estimates that evaluate the impact of OMT on dizziness.
Objectives: We aimed to systematically evaluate the effectiveness and safety of OMT and analogous techniques in the treatment of dizziness.
Methods: We performed a literature search in CINAHL, Embase, MEDLINE, Allied and Complementary Medicine Database (AMED), EMCare, Physiotherapy Evidence Database (PEDro), PubMed, PsycINFO, Osteopathic Medicine Digital Library (OSTMED.DR), and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) from inception to March 2021 for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and prospective or retrospective observational studies of adult patients experiencing dizziness from neuro-otological disorders. Eligible studies compared the effectiveness of OMT or OMT analogous techniques with a comparator intervention, such as a sham manipulation, a different manual technique, standard of care, or a nonpharmacological intervention like exercise or behavioral therapy. Assessed outcomes included disability associated with dizziness, dizziness severity, dizziness frequency, risk of fall, improvement in quality of life (QOL), and return to work (RTW). Assessed harm outcomes included all-cause dropout (ACD) rates, dropouts due to inefficacy, and adverse events. The meta-analysis was based on the similarities between the OMT or OMT analogous technique and the comparator interventions. The risk of bias (ROB) was assessed utilizing a modified version of the Cochrane Risk of Bias Tool for RCTs and the Cochrane Risk of Bias in Non-randomized Studies – of Interventions (ROBINS-I) for observational studies. The quality of evidence was determined utilizing the Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development, and Evaluations (GRADE) approach.
Results: There were 3,375 studies identified and screened, and the full text of 47 of them were reviewed. Among those, 12 (11 RCTs, 1 observational study, n=367 participants) met the inclusion criteria for data extraction. Moderate-quality evidence showed that articular OMT techniques were associated with decreases (all p<0.01) in disability associated with dizziness (n=141, mean difference [MD]=−11, 95% confidence interval [CI]=−16.2 to −5.9), dizziness severity (n=158, MD=−1.6, 95% CI=−2.4 to −0.7), and dizziness frequency (n=136, MD=−0.6, 95% CI=−1.1 to −0.2). Low-quality evidence showed that articular OMT was not associated with ACD rates (odds ratio [OR]=2.2, 95% CI=0.5 to 10.2, p=0.31). When data were pooled for any type of OMT technique, findings were similar; however, disability associated with dizziness and ACD rates had high heterogeneity (I2=59 and 46%). No studies met all of the criteria for ROB.
Conclusions: The current review found moderate-quality evidence that treatment with articular OMT techniques was significantly associated with decreased disability associated with dizziness, dizziness severity, and dizziness frequency. However, our findings should be interpreted cautiously because of the high ROB and small sample sizes in the eligible studies.