The effectiveness of osteopathic manipulative treatment as complementary therapy following surgery: a prospective, match-controlled outcome study

Altern Ther Health Med. 2000 Sep;6(5):77-81.


Context: Osteopathic manipulative treatment has been reported to relieve a variety of conditions, but no studies have examined the outcome effects of osteopathic manipulative treatment as a complementary modality for treating musculoskeletal problems during postoperative recovery.

Objective: To assess osteopathic manipulative treatment as a complementary therapy for patients undergoing elective knee or hip arthroplasty.

Design: Prospective, single-blinded, 2-group, match-controlled outcome study.

Setting: Osteopathic teaching hospital.

Patients: Of 166 eligible patients, 38 were assigned to a treatment group and matched with 38 control subjects.

Intervention: The treatment group received osteopathic manipulative treatment on postoperative days 2 through 5.

Main outcome measures: Days to independent negotiation of stairs, distance ambulated, supplemental intramuscular analgesic use, length of hospital stay, and patients' perceptions of treatment.

Results: Compared to control subjects, the intervention group negotiated stairs 20% earlier (mean = 4.3 postoperative days, SD = 1.2; control subjects 5.4, SD = 1.6, P = .006) and ambulated 43% farther on the third postoperative day (mean = 24.3 m, SD = 18.3; controls = 13.9, SD = 14.4, P = .008). The intervention group also required less analgesia, had shorter hospital stays, and ambulated farther on postoperative days 1, 2, and 4.

Conclusions: Patients receiving osteopathic manipulative treatment in the early postoperative period negotiated stairs earlier and ambulated greater distances than did control group patients.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Hip*
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Knee*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Joint Diseases / surgery
  • Joint Diseases / therapy*
  • Male
  • Manipulation, Orthopedic*
  • Postoperative Care / methods*
  • Postoperative Complications / prevention & control*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Treatment Outcome