Osteopathic Research

The past decade has seen a significant increase in research on Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment (OMT). Like many common medical procedures (such as surgery or interventional radiology), OMT faces difficulties with blinding, sample size, controls, and physician skill in the design of studies when compared with pharmaceutical research. Despite this fact, the body of research on OMT has now reached the point where Osteopathy has become an accepted part of the medical literature. The studies linked below cover the use of OMT for chronic low back pain, the discomforts and complications of pregnancy and surgery, its use and safety with children and other topics. These build on the the work of earlier Osteopathic researchers such as Louisa Burns, Wilbur Cole, Irvin Korr, John Denslow, and Viola Frymann, to name a few.

Research Articles with links

Lowback Pain – Acute and Chronic

Licciardone JC, Kearns CM, Hodge LM, Minotti DE. Osteopathic Manual Treatment in Patients With Diabetes Mellitus and Comorbid Chronic Low Back Pain: Subgroup Results From the OSTEOPATHIC Trial. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2013 Jun;113(6):468-78. PMID: 23739758

Licciardone JC, Minotti DE, Gatchel RJ, Kearns CM, Singh KP: Osteopathic manual treatment and ultrasound therapy for chronic low back pain: a randomized controlled trial. Ann Fam Med. 2013 Mar;11(2):122-9. doi: 10.1370/afm.1468. PMID: 23508598

Licciardone JC, Gatchel RJ, Kearns CM, Minotti DE: Depression, somatization, and somatic dysfunction in patients with nonspecific chronic low back pain: results from the OSTEOPATHIC Trial. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2012 Dec;112(12):783-91. PMID: 23212429

Licciardone JC, Kearns CM, Hodge LM, Bergamini MV: Associations of cytokine concentrations with key osteopathic lesions and clinical outcomes in patients with nonspecific chronic low back pain: results from the OSTEOPATHIC Trial. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2012 Sep;112(9):596-605. PMID: 22984233

Licciardone JC, Kearns CM: Somatic dysfunction and its association with chronic low back pain, back-specific functioning, and general health: results from the OSTEOPATHIC Trial. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2012 Jul;112(7):420-8. PMID: 22802542

Cruser dA, Maurer D, Hensel K, Brown SK, White K, Stoll ST: A randomized, controlled trial of osteopathic manipulative treatment for acute low back pain in active duty military personnel. J Man Manip Ther. 2012 Feb;20(1):5-15. PMID: 23372389

Snider KT, Johnson JC, Degenhardt BF, Snider EJ: Low back pain, somatic dysfunction, and segmental bone mineral density T-score variation in the lumbar spine. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2011 Feb;111(2):89-96. PMID: 21357494

Licciardone JC, Brimhall AK, King LN: Osteopathic manipulative treatment for low back pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2005 Aug 4;6:43. Review. PMID: 16080794

Licciardone JC, Stoll ST, Fulda KG, Russo DP, Siu J, Winn W, Swift J Jr: Osteopathic manipulative treatment for chronic low back pain: a randomized controlled trial. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2003 Jul 1;28(13):1355-62. PMID: 12838090

Andersson GB, Lucente T, Davis AM, Kappler RE, Lipton JA, Leurgans S: A comparison of osteopathic spinal manipulation with standard care for patients with low back pain. N Engl J Med. 1999 Nov 4;341(19):1426-31. PMID: 10547405


Mills MV, Henley CE, Barnes LL, Carreiro JE, Degenhardt BF: The use of osteopathic manipulative treatment as adjuvant therapy in children with recurrent acute otitis media. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2003 Sep;157(9):861-6. PMID: 12963590

Pizzolorusso G et al: Osteopathic evaluation of somatic dysfunction and craniosacral strain pattern among preterm and term newborns. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2013 Jun;113(6):462-7. PMID: 23739757

Cerritelli F, et al: Effect of osteopathic manipulative treatment on length of stay in a population of preterm infants: a randomized controlled trial. BMC Pediatr. 2013 Apr 26;13:65. doi: 10.1186/1471-2431-13-65. PMID: 23622070

Cerritelli F et al: Effectiveness of osteopathic manipulative treatment in neonatal intensive care units: protocol for a multicentre randomised clinical trial. BMJ Open. 2013 Feb 20;3(2). doi:pii: e002187. 10.1136/bmjopen-2012-002187. Print 2013. PMID: 23430598

Lund GC, Edwards G, Medlin B, Keller D, Beck B, Carreiro JE: Osteopathic manipulative treatment for the treatment of hospitalized premature infants with nipple feeding dysfunction. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2011 Jan;111(1):44-8. Review. PMID: 21258016

Guiney PA, Chou R, Vianna A, Lovenheim J: Effects of osteopathic manipulative treatment on pediatric patients with asthma: a randomized controlled trial. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2005 Jan;105(1):7-12. PMID: 15710659


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. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2010 Jan;202(1):43.e1-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2009.07.057. Epub 2009 Sep 20. PMID: 19766977

King HH, Tettambel MA, Lockwood MD, Johnson KH, Arsenault DA, Quist R: Osteopathic manipulative treatment in prenatal care: a retrospective case control design study. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2003 Dec;103(12):577-82. PMID: 14740980

Cranial Osteopathy
(see also Pediatric research)

King HH: Cranial osteopathic manipulative medicine’s growing evidence base. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2012 Jan;112(1):9. PMID: 22302741

Crow WT, King HH, Patterson RM, Giuliano V: Assessment of calvarial structure motion by MRI. Osteopath Med Prim Care. 2009 Sep 4;3:8. doi: 10.1186/1750-4732-3-8. PMID: 19732453

Further discussion of research into Cranial Osteopathy


Noll DR, Degenhardt BF, Morley TF, Blais FX, Hortos KA, Hensel K, Johnson JC, Pasta DJ, Stoll ST: Efficacy of osteopathic manipulation as an adjunctive treatment for hospitalized patients with pneumonia: a randomized controlled trial. Osteopath Med Prim Care. 2010 Mar 19;4:2. doi: 10.1186/1750-4732-4-2. PMID: 20302619

Noll DR, Degenhardt BF, Johnson JC, Burt SA: Immediate effects of osteopathic manipulative treatment in elderly patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2008 May;108(5):251-9. PMID: 18519835

Post-Operative Recovery

Wieting JM, Beal C, Roth GL, Gerbis S, Dillard L, Gilliland D, Rowan J: The Effect of Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment on Postoperative Medical and Functional Recovery of Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Patients. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2013 May;113(5):384-393. PMID: pending

O-Yurvati AH, Carnes MS, Clearfield MB, Stoll ST, McConathy WJ: Hemodynamic effects of osteopathic manipulative treatment immediately after coronary artery bypass graft surgery. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2005 Oct;105(10):475-81. PMID: 16314680

Licciardone JC, Stoll ST, Cardarelli KM, Gamber RG, Swift JN Jr, Winn WB: A randomized controlled trial of osteopathic manipulative treatment following knee or hip arthroplasty. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2004 May;104(5):193-202. PMID: 15176518

Lymphatic Function

McSweeney TP, Thomson OP, Johnston R: The immediate effects of sigmoid colon manipulation on pressure pain thresholds in the lumbar spine. J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2012 Oct;16(4):416-23. doi: 10.1016/j.jbmt.2012.02.004. Epub 2012 Mar 28. PMID: 23036875

Prajapati P, Shah P, King HH, Williams AG Jr, Desai P, Downey HF: Lymphatic pump treatment increases thoracic duct lymph flow in conscious dogs with edema due to constriction of the inferior vena cava. Lymphat Res Biol. 2010 Sep;8(3):149-54. doi: 10.1089/lrb.2009.0032. PMID: 20863267

Hodge LM, Bearden MK, Schander A, Huff JB, Williams A Jr, King HH, Downey HF: Lymphatic pump treatment mobilizes leukocytes from the gut associated lymphoid tissue into lymph. Lymphat Res Biol. 2010 Jun;8(2):103-10. doi: 10.1089/lrb.2009.0011. PMID: 20583872

Downey HF, Durgam P, Williams AG Jr, Rajmane A, King HH, Stoll ST: Lymph flow in the thoracic duct of conscious dogs during lymphatic pump treatment, exercise, and expansion of extracellular fluid volume. Lymphat Res Biol. 2008;6(1):3-13. doi: 10.1089/lrb.2007.1017. PMID: 18361766

Hodge LM, King HH, Williams AG Jr, Reder SJ, Belavadi T, Simecka JW, Stoll ST, Downey HF: Abdominal lymphatic pump treatment increases leukocyte count and flux in thoracic duct lymph. Lymphat Res Biol. 2007;5(2):127-33. PMID: 17935480


Lopez D, King HH, Knebl JA, Kosmopoulos V, Collins D, Patterson RM: Effects of comprehensive osteopathic manipulative treatment on balance in elderly patients: a pilot study. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2011 Jun;111(6):382-8. PMID: 21771924