NMM/OMTOriginal Article

Use of the SMART Balance Master to Quantify the Effects of Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment in Patients With Dizziness

Marcel Fraix, DO; Ashlynn Gordon, OMS IV; Victoria Graham, PT, DPT, OCS, NCS; Eric Hurwitz, DC, PhD; and Michael A. Seffinger, DO
Notes and Affiliations
Notes and Affiliations

Received: September 26, 2012

Accepted: January 18, 2013

Published: May 1, 2013

J Osteopath Med; 113(5): 394-403

Context: Dizziness is the third most common complaint among outpatients and the most common complaint in patients aged 75 years or older. It can be incapacitating for patients, affecting both productivity and quality of life.

Objectives: To evaluate the effect of osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) for spinal somatic dysfunction in patients with dizziness lasting longer than 3 months.

Methods: The authors performed a prospective clinical cohort study in 2011 at the Department of Physical Therapy laboratory at the Western University of Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine in Pomona, California. Sixteen participants (2 male, 14 female; mean [range] age, 49 [13-75] years) with dizziness lasting at least 3 months (mean duration of symptoms, 84 months) and spinal somatic dysfunction, but no history of known stroke or brain disease, were recruited from the local community and evaluated for postural balance control before, immediately after, and 1 week after OMT. Four osteopathic physicians board certified in neuromusculoskeletal medicine/osteopathic manipulative medicine provided OMT, including muscle energy; high-velocity, low-amplitude; counterstrain; myofascial release; balanced ligamentous release; and cranial OMT techniques. Main Outcome Measures: Outcomes were assessed with the SMART Balance Master (NeuroCom), a validated instrument that provides graphic and quantitative analyses of sway and balance, and the Dizziness Handicap Inventory (DHI), a self-assessment inventory designed to assess precipitating physical factors associated with dizziness and functional and emotional consequences of vestibular disease.

Results: Paired t tests, performed to assess changes in mean composite scores for all challenge tests, revealed that balance was significantly improved both immediately and 1 week after OMT (both P<.001), with no significant difference between immediate and 1-week post-OMT scores (P=.20). The DHI scores, both total and subscale, improved significantly after OMT (P<.001), and changes in composite and DHI scores were correlated with each other (P=.047).

Conclusions: Osteopathic manipulative treatment for spinal somatic dysfunction improved balance in patients with dizziness lasting at least 3 months.

Read Full Article