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A new study gives insight into the way that musculoskeletal issues, like back discomfort, headaches, and migraine are treated differently. David Prado/Stocksy

  • Osteopathy is an medical treatment that involves the manipulation of tissues and bones performed by an osteopathic doctor.

  • A new study that reviewed prior findings suggests that osteopathy can help people suffering from musculoskeletal issues like lower back or neck discomfort.

  • The research provides insight into how other musculoskeletal issues can be treated differently for instance, certain kinds of headaches and migraine.

  • The researchers warn that the majority of studies that have been conducted thus far have limitations in their methodology, and that more studies are needed before the advantages of osteopathy are confirmed.

Five clinical trials suggest that osteopathic manipulative therapy (OMT) can effectively decrease discomfort and improve functional state for people suffering from musculoskeletal disorders as per a recent report published by BMJ Open. The results also suggest that OMT can be a secure treatment for headaches However, more research is required to prove its efficacy.

The study’s co-authoris Dr. Donatella Bagagiolo, director of the Research Department at Scuola Superiore of Osteopatia Italiana in Italy was interviewed by Medical News Today.

“Currently only a handful of studies have looked into the effectiveness and security of OMT in managing headache. But, they do suggest that OMT may be a beneficial and safe treatment option which can help reduce pain and disability related to them in adult patients suffering from headaches,” said Dr. Bagagiolo.

The severity of headaches and migraine were deemed to be affecting

15.9 percent of adults

In The United States in 2018. In the United States in 2018. headaches or any other

headache disorders

could affect daily activities and adversely affect well-being.

Primary headaches are persistent headaches that aren’t due to a medical health issue. There are many types of primary headaches including tension-type headaches migraine, tension as well as cluster headaches being among the most popular types.

The treatment options for the primary headaches comprise medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs) as well as triptans. Because of the possible negative effects of NSAIDs and triptans on kidney and heart function, people suffering from kidney or cardiovascular conditions are advised to stay clear of these medicines.

Therefore, there is a need for non-pharmacological solutions for treating headaches, such as osteopathy to treat headaches for those who cannot tolerate medications or who do not want to use medications.

Osteopathic manipulative therapy involves the application of pressure or force to treat and detect medical conditions by an osteopath doctor. OMT is often used to treat back pain as well as other skeletomuscular disorders.

The fundamental tenet of osteopathy is the fact that the body’s structure and function are interconnected. Invariably, structural imbalances in the bones, muscles tissues, joints and tissues are connected with the symptoms of illness. OMT involves manipulating joints, muscles as well as bones and tissues to correct these structural imbalances and improve the function of the body.

In this study the authors reviewed prior research and concluded that OMT could be a viable treatment for muscle and skeletal issues, such as lower back neck pain, as well as chronic non-cancer pain. The study also reviewed evidence from an

systematic review

It is thought the possibility that OMT could be employed for treating headaches.

The review described above analyzed five clinical trials that were randomized to test the effectiveness and effectiveness of OMT to treat primary headaches. The review contained three clinical trials that dealt with tension-type headaches as well as two trials for migraine.

The clinical trials proved that treatment with osteopathic medicine resulted in a reduction of intensity of pain as well as the number of headaches. Two clinical studies also proved that OMT reduced the need for medications and the disability resulting from headaches as well as migraine.

However, the most significant improvement in variables like frequency of pain among patients who received OMT within these studies were measured to their baseline levels. In the case of only one clinical study where there was conflicting information regarding pain intensity and other variables within the OMT treatment group versus those in the group with no treatment.

Additionally the two studies only used an uncontrolled group that involved the use of sham treatments that mimic features of the actual treatment. There was also a significant variations in the nature of treatment, its duration, as well as frequency OMT as well as the particular kinds of headaches that were treated.

In the end The editors of the review observed that the evidence for the efficacy of osteopathic manipulation to treat headaches was insufficient and poor quality.

This is why further research is required to fix these issues. Dr. Bagagiolo has stated that “Further studies are required to confirm the value of osteopathic treatments and more efforts are required to explain in sufficient details each stage of the treatment, as well as the manner in which they are applied.”

Lucas Bohlen, a researcher at the Osteopathic Research Institute of the Osteopathie School Deutschland in Germany He also offered a similar evaluation.

“Preliminary and minimal evidence suggests that osteopathic manipulation reduces the intensity, frequency, and disability for patients suffering from tension and migraine headaches,”
Bohlen told



“However the generalization of these findings is not as strong because of the high likelihood of bias and the variability (of outcomes, population, and the characteristics of intervention). Thus, more carefully planned randomized controlled trials required to make any definitive conclusions,” he added.

The mechanisms behind the potential consequences on the effects of OMT on headaches are not fully understood and there are a variety of theories regarding these mechanisms.

The occurrence of migraine headaches is related to an increase production of proinflammatory substances and osteopathic treatments can lessen inflammation and relieve headaches.

Research suggests that headaches and migraine could be due to an autonomic nervous system which regulates breathing as well as heart rate that aren’t controlled by the brain. The autonomic nervous system is comprised of the parasympathetic and the sympathetic nervous systems, which have different roles. Sympathetic nervous systems plays a role within the “fight or fight” response in times of tension, while the parasympathetic system helps promote the processes associated with relaxation.

OMT may help stimulate vagus nerve which is a component of parasympathetic nerve system to regulate the functions that the autonomic nerve systems and increase blood flow to the brain. OMT can also aid in the drainage of fluids to eliminate metabolic waste from the brain.

Vagus nerve plays a role in modulating painful stimuli. Evidence suggest that the stimulation of vagus nerve may help relieve headache symptoms, including migraines and cluster headaches.