Osteopathy and Research

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Osteopathy and Research

Manual therapies, including the osteopathic profession, have been urged over the last two decades to provide clinically relevant research [1] on its effectiveness.

There are a number of challenges when we consider research in the field of osteopathy. Currently there is a limit of extensive research – especially for non-musculoskeletal conditions (eg: Asthma, Constipation, Ear infections, Colic in babies etc). Osteopathic treatment is individualized, holistic and diverse – making statistical data a challenge to obtain. [2] Furthermore it is difficult to scientifically study the subtler aspects of Osteopathy which embraces the art of palpation, the therapeutic relationship and the of the body’s own healing capacity[3]

At Bendigo Osteo, our position is that “Osteopathic practice was founded on an idea that emerged from the research and careful observations that Andrew Taylor Still made of his patients, himself and the environment in which he lived,”[4] . There is a growing body of research for Osteopathy – which we outline below – and will continue to update which indicates its effectiveness. Furthermore it is in our clinical experience and training that we have found osteopathy usually helpful for the conditions we have listed on our website.

Like all medical intervention, (regardless of the research), we cannot guarantee a cure.

If you are new to Osteopathy we suggest you read the research articles below or feel free to call and discuss further with us or just give us a try!

General Effectiveness of Osteopathy

King HH, Janig W, Patterson MM. 2011. The Science and Clinical Application of Manual Therapy. Churchill Livingstone/Elsevier. USA

This book describes the research confirming the benefit of Manual Therapy for Musculosketal disorders – and the latest findings on the benefit of Manual Therapy on systemic disorders such as asthma, pneumonia, otitis media (ear infections) heart rate dysfunction and GI disturbance. We have a copy at work if you wish to lend it.

National Council for Osteopathic Research (NCOR) is a UK organisations committed to resource development in the Osteopathic Field. They have collated research and provide links to papers. The following are worth viewing;

‘Evidence for Osteopathy’ http://www.ncor.org.uk/research/evidence-for-osteopathy/

‘Table of evidence for manual therapy’ http://www.ncor.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Table-of-evidence-for-manual-therapy.pdf

‘Musculoskeletal and chronic Pain’ http://www.ncor.org.uk/musculoskeletal-and-chronic-pain/

Other articles include;

Degenhardt BF, Darmani NA, Johnson JC, et al. Role of osteopathic manipulative treatment in altering pain biomarkers: a pilot study. The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association. 2007, 107(9):387- 400. (Accessed online at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17908831?itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.P ubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum&ordinalpos=8)

Pringle M., Tyreman, S. Study of 500 patients attending an osteopathic practice. British Journal of General Practice. 1993; 43: 15-8.  (accessed online at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1372201/?tool=pubmed)

Bronfort. G, Haas. M, Evans. R, Leininger. B, Triano. J. 2010. Effectiveness of manual therapies: the UK evidence report. Chiropractic Osteopathy Vol 18:3 (accessed online at BioMed Central:  https://chiromt.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1746-1340-18-3)


Osteopathy and Back Pain:

Osteopathy Australia has a list of research articles concerning back pain: http://www.osteopathy.org.au/pages/research-and-evidence.html#Back

National Council of Osteopathic Research has a list of research articles concerning lower back pain:


The National Council of Osteopathic Research as list of research articles concerning lumbar spine and pelvis pain: http://www.ncor.org.uk/lumbar-spine-and-pelvis/

The Osteopathic Research Centre conducted a trail in 2011. Information about the trail and articles in response can be found on the UNT Health Science Centre Website:  https://www.unthsc.edu/texas-college-of-osteopathic-medicine/tcom-research/the-osteopathic-research-center/the-osteopathic-trial/


Osteopathy and Neck/headaches:

The National Council of Osteopathic Research has a list of articles at:



Osteopathy Australia has a list of articles at:


Other articles;

Schwerla F, Bischoff A, Nurnberger A, Genter P, Guillaume JP, Resch KL. Osteopathic treatment of patients with chronic non-specific neck pain: a randomised controlled trial of efficacy. Forsch Komplementmed. 2008 15(3):138-45. (Accessed online at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18617745)

Schwerla F, Kaiser AK, Gietz R, Kastner R. 2012. Osteopathic treatment of patients with long-term sequelae of whiplash injury: effect on neck pain disability and quality of life. Journal of Alternative Complementary Medicine. 19(6):543-9.(Accessed online at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23273259)

Guernsey DT, Leder A, Yao S. 2016. Resolution of Concussion Symptoms After Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment: A Case Report. Jounral of the American Osteopathic Assocication.  Vol 116(3):e13-e17.(Accessed online at: http://jaoa.org/article.aspx?articleid=2498831&resultClick=1)

D’Ippolito M, Tramontano M, Buzzi MG. 2017. Effects of Osteopathic Manipulative Therapy on Pain and Mood Disorders in Patients With High-Frequency Migraine. Journal of the American Osteopathic Association ; Vol 117(6):365-369. (Accessed online at: http://jaoa.org/article.aspx?articleid=2630263&resultClick=1)

Rolle G, Tremolizzo L, Somalvico F, Ferrarese C, Bressan LC. Pilot Trial of Osteopathic Manipulative Therapy for Patients With Frequent Episodic Tension-Type Headache. Journal of the American Osteopathic Association. 2014;114(9):678-685. (Accessed online at: http://jaoa.org/article.aspx?articleid=2092215&resultClick=1)

King HH. Manual Therapy Shown to Be Effective for Tension-Type Headache. Journal of the American Osteopathic Assocication. 2014;114(5):403-404. (Accessed online at: http://jaoa.org/article.aspx?articleid=2094787&resultClick=1)

Espí-López G.V., López-Bueno L , Vicente-Herrero. T , Martinez-Arnau F.M,  Monzani L. 2016.  Efficacy of manual therapy on anxiety and depression in patients with tension-type headache. A randomized controlled clinical trial.  International Journal of Osteopathic Medicine  Vol 22. Pages 11-20


Osteopathy and Upper extremity: (Shoulder/Jaw/Arm/Hands)

National Council of Osteopathic Research has a list of research articles concerning upper extremities:


Other Articles:

Andreson T, Bahr C, Ciranna- Raab C. 2013. Efficacy of osteopathy and other manual treatment approaches for malocclusion – A systematic review of evidence. International Journal of Osteopathic Medicine. 16 (2), 99-113 (Accessed online at: http://www.journalofosteopathicmedicine.com/article/S1746-0689(12)00051-X/references)

Brantingham JW, Cassa TK, Bonnefin D, Jensen M, Globe G, Hicks M, Korporaal C. 2011. Manipulative therapy for shoulder pain and disorders: expansion of a systematic review. Journal of Manipulative Physiological Therapy. Vol 34(5):314-46. (Accessed online at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21640255)

Burnham T, Higgins DH, Burnham RS, Heath MD. 2015. Effectiveness of Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: A Pilot Project. International Journal of Osteopathic Medicine Vol. 115, 138-148.  (Accessed online at: http://jaoa.org/article.aspx?articleid=2211853)

O’Connor S, Durand M, Hudson M, Baron M, Gaudreault N.  2016. Effects of osteopathic manipulative treatment on hand function, disease symptoms and functional status in systemic sclerosis: a series of single-case studies in working women. International Journal of Osteopathic Medicine. Vol 22. Pages 21-32


Osteopathy and the Lower extremities: Knee/Ankles/Feet

National Council of Osteopathic Research has a list of research articles:


Other articles:

Jardine W.M, Gillis C, Rutherford D. 2012. The effect of osteopathic manual therapy on the vascular supply to the lower extremity in individuals with knee osteoarthrisits. A randomised trail. International Journal of Osteopathic Medicine. Vol 15:4. 125-133. (Accessed online at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1746068912000466)

Loudon JK, Reiman MP, Sylvain J. 2014. The efficacy of manual joint mobilisation/manipulation in treatment of lateral ankle sprains: a systematic review. British Journal of Sports Medicine. 48:5. 365-370. (accessed online at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2398003)


Cranial Osteopathy:

Jäkel A, von Hauenschild P.  A systematic review to evaluate the clinical benefits of craniosacral therapy. Complementary Therapies in Medicine. 2012;20(6):456-65 (accessed online at Pubmed:. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23131379)

Jäkel A, von Hauenschild P.  Therapeutic effects of cranial osteopathic manipulative medicine: a systematic review.  Journal of the American Osteopathic Association. 2011;111(12):685-93.  (Accessed online at: http://www.ncor.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Jakel-cranial-SR.pdf)

Green C, Martin CW, Bassett K, et al.  A systematic review and critical appraisal of the scientific evidence on craniosacral therapy. British Columbia Office of Health Technology Assessment 1999;99:1   (Accessed online at: http://www.ncor.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/BCOHTAassessment-cranial-SR.pdf)

King H. Research in support of the Cranial Concept. Osteopathic Research Centre. No date. (Accessed online at: Please Click Here)

King, H. 2012. Cranial Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine’s Growing Evidence Base. Journal of American Osteopathic Association. Vol 112:1. (Accessed online at: http://www.osteopathicstudies.com/assets/cof%20growing%20evidence,%20hollis%20king%20jaoa_93.pdf)

Shi X, Rehrer S, Prajapati P, Stoll ST, Gamber RG, Downey HF. 2011. Effect of Cranial Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine on Cerebral Tissue Oxygenation. Journal of the American Osteopath Association. Vol.111(12):660-666. (Accessed online: http://jaoa.org/article.aspx?articleid=2094046&resultClick=1)

Hamm, D. A hypothesis to explain the palpatory experience and therapeutic claims in the practice of osteopathy in the cranial field. International Journal of Osteopathic Medicine , Volume 14 , Issue 4 , 149 – 165 (accessed online at: http://www.journalofosteopathicmedicine.com/article/S1746-0689(11)00084-8/fulltext)


Osteopathy and Pregnancy:

Sabino J, Grauer JN. Pregnancy and low back pain. Current Reviews in Musculoskeletal Medicine. 2008; 1, 137-41 (Accessed online at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2684210/)

Licciardone JC, Buchanan S, Hensel KL, et al. Osteopathic manipulative treatment of back pain and related symptoms during pregnancy: a randomized controlled trial. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. 2009; Sep 19 (Accessed online at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19766977?itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubm ed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum&ordinalpos=1)

Licciardone JC, Buchanan S, Hensel KL, King HH, Fulda KG, Stoll ST. Osteopathic manipulative treatment of back pain and related symptoms during pregnancy: a randomized controlled trial. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. 2010;202(1):43. (Accessed online at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19766977)

Pennick V, Liddle D. Interventions for preventing and treating pelvic and back pain in pregnancy. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2015; 9: (Accessed online at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26422811)

Schwerla F, Rother K, Rother D, Ruetz M, Resch KL. 2015. Osteopathic Manipulative Therapy in Women With Postpartum Low Back Pain and Disability: A Pragmatic Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of the American Osteopathic Assocication .115(7):416-25. (Accessed online at: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26111129)


Osteopathy and babies/children;

Cerritelli F, Pizzolorusso G, Renzetti C, Cozzolino V, D’Orazio M, Lupacchini M, et al. (2015) A Multicenter, Randomized, Controlled Trial of Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment on Preterms. PLoS ONE 10. Vol5 (Accessed online at: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0127370) 

Dobson D, Lucassen PLBJ, Miller JJ, Vlieger AM, Prescott P, Lewith G. 2012. Manipulative therapies for infantile colic. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2012, Issue 12. (Accessed online at:  http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD004796.pub2/abstract)

Herzhalt-Le Roy J, Xhignesse M, Gaboury I. 2016. Efficacy of an Osteopathic Treatment Coupled With Lactation Consultations for Infants’ Biomechanical Sucking Difficulties. A Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of Human Lactation. 33:1. 165-172 (Accessed online at: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0890334416679620)

Mills MV, Henley CE, Barnes LLB, et al. The use of osteopathic manipulative treatment as adjuvant therapy in children with recurrent acute otitis media. Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. 2003;157:861-866

Steele KM, Carreiro JE, Viola JH, et al. Effect of osteopathic manipulative treatment on middle ear effusion following acute otitis media in young children: a pilot study. Journal of the American Osteopathic Association. 2014;114(6): 436-447.

Pizzolorusso G, Turi P, Barlafante G, et al. Effect of osteopathic manipulative treatment on gastrointestinal function and length of stay of preterm infants: an exploratory study. Chiropractic and Manual Therapies. 2011;19:15.

King HH. “As the twig is bent, so grows the tree”: part 2 [review of Lessard S, Gagnon I, Trottier N. Exploring the impact of osteopathic treatment on cranial asymmetries associated with nonsynostotic plagiocephaly in infants. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2011;17(4):193-198]. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2012;112(1):11-12.

Frymann VM, Carney RE, Springall P. Effect of osteopathic medical management on neurologic development in children. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 1992;92(6):729-744.Magoun HI. Osteopathy in the Cranial Field. 3rd ed. Kirksville, MO: Journal Printing Co; 1976


Osteopathy and Women:

Marx S, Cimniak U, Beckert R, Schwerla F, Resch KL. 2009. Chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome. Influence of osteopathic treatment – a  randomized controlled study. Urologe A.48(11):1339-45. (Accessed online at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19705093)

Kenyon L, King HH. Pelvic Manipulation Benefits Women With Primary Dysmenorrhoea. J Am Osteopath Assoc 2015;115(3):169-170. doi: 10.7556/jaoa.2015.031.( Accessed online: http://jaoa.org/article.aspx?articleid=2211857&resultClick=1)

King HH. 2015. Recognizing the Value of Manual Therapy Interventions in Women’s Health: An Interim Report.  Journal of the American Osteopath Association. Vol 115(3):172-173.

Lavelle JM. Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment in Pregnant Women. Journal of the American  Osteopathic Association 2012;112(6):343-346. (Accessed online at: http://jaoa.org/article.aspx?articleid=2094539&resultClick=1)


Osteopathic Systemic Disorders


Van Ravenswaay VJ, Hain SJ, Grasso S, Shubrook JH. Effects of Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment on Diabetic Gastroparesis. Journal of the American Osteopathic Association 2015;115(7):452-458.(Accessed onlibe at: http://jaoa.org/article.aspx?articleid=2362403&resultClick=1)

Schander A, et al. 2008 Lymphatic pump treatment mobilizes leukocytes from the gut associated lymphoid tissue into thoracic duct lymph. International Journal of Osteopathic Medicine , Volume 11: 4 , 149 (Accessed online at: http://www.journalofosteopathicmedicine.com/article/S1746-0689(08)00093-X/abstract)

Brugman, R et al. The effect of Osteopathic Treatment on Chronic Constipation – A Pilot Study International Journal of Osteopathic Medicine , Vol 13:1, 17 – 23 (Accessed online at: http://www.journalofosteopathicmedicine.com/article/S1746-0689(09)00092-3/fulltext)


Noll DR, Degenhardt BF, Morely TF, Blais FX, Hortos KA, Hensel K, Johnson JC, Pasta DJ, Stoll ST. 2010. Efficacy of osteopathic manipulation as an adjunctive treatment for hospitalized patients with pneumonia: a randomized controlled trial. Osteopathic Medicine and Primary Care. Vol 4:2 (Accessed online at: https://om-pc.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1750-4732-4-2)
Hodge LM. Osteopathic lymphatic pump techniques to enhance immunity and treat pneumonia. International Journal of Osteopathic Medicine. 2012 Mar;15(1):13-21. (Accessed online at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22977459)

Post Operative Care

Goldstein FJ, Jeck S, Nicholas AS, Berman MJ, Lerario M. Preoperative Intravenous Morphine Sulfate With Postoperative Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment Reduces Patient Analgesic Use After Total Abdominal Hysterectomy. Journal of the Americian Osteopathic Assocication 2005;105(6):273-279. (Accessed online at:  http://jaoa.org/article.aspx?articleid=2093074)


Osteopathy and Risks/Adverse Effects

The national council of Osteopathic Research has a number of articles: http://www.ncor.org.uk/adverse-events/

Other articles;

Cagnie B, Vinck E, Beernaert A, et al. How common are side effects of spinal manipulation and can these side effects be predicted? Manual Therapy. 2004; 9(3):151-6. (Accessed online at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15245709?itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubm ed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum&ordinalpos=11)

Oliphant D. Safety of spinal manipulation in the treatment of lumbar disk herniations: a systematic review and risk assessment. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics. 2004;27:197-210. (Accessed online at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15129202?dopt=Abstract)

[1] Licciardone JC. Responding to the challenge of clinically relevant osteopathic research: Efficacy and beyond. International Journal of Osteopathic Medicine , Vol 10:1 , 3 – 7 (accessed online at: http://www.journalofosteopathicmedicine.com/article/S1746-0689(07)00009-0/fulltext

[2] Nicolas P L. et al. 2006. Is osteopathy research relevant? A challenge has been made. International Journal of Osteopathic Medicine , Volume 9 , Issue 3 , 75 – 76

[3] Leach J. 2008. Towards an osteopathic understanding of evidence. International Journal of Osteopathic Medicine. Vol 11:1 , 3 – 6. (accessed online at: http://www.journalofosteopathicmedicine.com/article/S1746-0689(08)00003-5/fulltext)

[4] Drysdale, I. 2008. Research underpins the evidence base for osteopathic medicine. International Journal of Osteopathic Medicine. Vol 11:4 , 123 – 124 (accessed online at: http://www.journalofosteopathicmedicine.com/article/S1746-0689(08)00123-5/fulltext)