Preliminary Findings on the Use of Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment: Outcomes During the Formation of the Practice-Based Research Network

Brian F. Degenhardt, DO; Jane C. Johnson, MA; Shanin R. Gross, DO; Celia Hagan, BSN; Gregg Lund, DO; and William J. Curry, MD, MS
Notes and Affiliations
Notes and Affiliations

Received: March 13, 2013

Accepted: October 20, 2013

Published: March 1, 2014

J Osteopath Med; 114(3): 154-170

Context: Context: Few studies have assessed the use of osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) and subsequent patient-reported outcomes.

Objectives: To assess the current use of OMT and associated patient-reported outcomes.

Methods: A retrospective medical record review and a prospective observational study was conducted in two university-based sites and their clinics associated with the practice-based research network DO-Touch.NET. Participants were patients aged 18 years or older who received OMT. Medical records from 2007 were retrospectively reviewed to identify conditions being managed with OMT. From 2008 to 2010, patients were recruited before seeing their physicians. Questionnaires were distributed to patients and physicians, and information including demographics, chief complaints, symptom severity, current and past treatments, interference of symptoms with quality of life, physical examination findings, diagnoses, OMT performed, and immediate patient response to OMT was collected. A subset of patients provided data on symptom severity and frequency and other treatments daily for the 7 days after OMT. On day 7, symptom interference with quality of life was reassessed.

Results: Retrospective data were collected from 2569 office visits, and prospective data were collected from 299 office visits (patient age range, 18-93 years). In the medical record review, 17 of the top 25 diagnoses (68%) were related to musculoskeletal conditions. In the prospective study, 18 of the top 24 medical diagnoses (75%) were related to musculoskeletal conditions. Immediately after OMT, patients at 271 of 296 office visits (92%) felt better or much better; those at 5 (<2%) felt worse. After 7 days, patients at 126 of 175 office visits (72%) felt better or much better, and those at 10 (6%) felt worse. Average and worst symptom severity decreased until post-OMT days 4 and 5, respectively, when severity leveled off. There was decreased interference of symptoms with quality of life from before OMT to 7 days after OMT in usual/general activities, sleep, mood, and relationships (all P⩽.05).

Conclusions: These preliminary results suggest that for adults, OMT is predominantly used for managing musculoskeletal pain conditions and is effective for short-term symptom relief. Continued surveillance of DO-Touch.NET member practice outcomes may help identify priorities for osteopathic research and define evidence-based standards for OMT practice and training.

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