Osteopathic Journal ClubORIGINAL ARTICLE

Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine Consultations for Hospitalized Patients

Vivian J. Levy, DO, MPH; Christina T. Holt, MD, MSc; and Amy E. Haskins, PhD
Notes and Affiliations
Notes and Affiliations

Received: June 12, 2018

Accepted: July 30, 2018

Published: May 1, 2019

J Osteopath Med; 119(5): 299-306

Context: Although osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) is predominantly known for its benefits in improving musculoskeletal pain, many studies have examined the effects of OMT on hospitalized patients with a variety of conditions, showing improved outcomes in conditions such as pneumonia, postoperative and postpartum recovery, preterm newborn recovery, and newborn feeding dysfunction.

Objectives: To determine the reasons osteopathic manipulative medicine (OMM) consultations are being ordered at a tertiary care teaching hospital.

Methods: This descriptive study was conducted at an academic medical center with a well-established electronic health record system. A retrospective review examined data on all OMM consultations between January 1, 2015, and June 30, 2015. Reasons for consultations in a free text field were grouped into categories of “primary reason for consult” by a single reviewer. Demographics and patient location were also assessed.

Results: Of 1310 total consultations included in the study, 620 (47.0%) listed a musculoskeletal complaint as the primary or only reason for a consultation, 231 (18.0%) of which were for back pain, followed by neck pain (69 [5.0%]) and headache (46 [4.0%]). The next most common reason for consultation was for newborn feeding difficulty (352 [27.0%]) or other newborn consultation (66 [5.0%]). A total of 272 consultations (21.0%) were not limited to musculoskeletal complaints and included general nonspecific discomfort (96 [7.0%]) or respiratory complaint (53 [4.0%]). A total of 209 (16.0%) consultations noted patients to be postoperative; 124 (9.5%) to be postpartum; 57 (4.4%) to have cystic fibrosis; and 21 (1.6%) to have constipation.

Conclusions: The majority of inpatient OMM consultations were placed for musculoskeletal complaints, followed by newborn feeding problems. Although it is clear that some physicians think that OMT will help their patients for the aforementioned conditions, the number was still quite low, suggesting that many physicians may be unaware that OMT can help patients with conditions such as respiratory disorder, postoperative recovery, and constipation. There are many opportunities for treatment teams to be ordering OMM consultations as a way to reduce morbidity in their patients.

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