Osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) is a treatment involving hand exploration and manipulation to diagnose and treat pain. For low back pain specifically, it’s a safe technique with little or no risk that can be adjusted for patients of all ages. OMT is also appealing since it can be easily combined with more traditional treatments to better address a patient’s back pain.
Chronic, Non-Specific LBP Relief
Two studies suggest that OMT can reduce pain and improve function for chronic back pain sufferers with non-specific low back pain. Somewhat surprisingly, patients with the most severe pain of this nature benefited more from the hands-on treatment. OMT involves a combination of:
- Gentle pressure
A Cost-Effective Treatment Option
The study involved six OMT sessions spread over an eight-week period, reflecting the fact that patients can benefit from improvement experienced progressively from session to session. Researchers also noted that OMT is a cost-effective treatment option patients can try before resorting to treatments that tend to be more expensive, even when some of the cost is covered by insurance.
An Option Before Surgery
As with acupuncture, OMT is considered an alternative treatment. As such, it’s not always readily considered or recommended by spine surgeons in Los Angeles. For patients looking to avoid surgery, however, OMT is worth considering, especially since observations can be combined with results from previous tests to fine-tune a diagnosis and streamline treatments.
Ideal Candidates for OMT
While there is no set criteria for who can try OMT, the study focused on patients who had experienced LBP for at least three months. With one study focusing on the benefits of OMT and the other taking a look at who benefited the most, it appears that ideal candidates are patients with:
- Chronic, or ongoing, low back pain
- Higher levels of discomfort
- No identified source for their LBP
OMT doesn’t seem to significantly benefit patients with mild to mid-level discomfort. For back pain sufferers falling within this category, conservative treatments such as heat and ice therapy and modification of activities may be a more effective option, although there is no harm in at least trying a few OMT sessions.
Learn more about possible low back pain treatment options by reaching out to The Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration. Our team of experienced board-certified orthopedic surgeons can help diagnose the source of your pain and identify both conservative and surgical treatment options. Call (310) 828-7757 today and schedule an in-person consultation.