Improving functional ability in the elderly via the Spencer technique, an osteopathic manipulative treatment: a randomized, controlled trial

J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2002 Jul;102(7):387-96.


Twenty-nine elderly patients with preexisting shoulder problems voluntarily enrolled as subjects in this study, which was undertaken to determine the efficacy of osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) in an elderly population to increase functional independence, increase range of motion (ROM) of the shoulder, and decrease pain associated with common shoulder problems. Each subject had chronic pain, decreased ROM, and/or decreased functional ability in the shoulder before entering the study. Subjects were randomly assigned to either a treatment (OMT) group or a control group for 14 weeks. Over the course of treatment, both groups had significantly increased ROM (P < .01) and decreased perceived pain (P < .01). All subjects continued on their preexisting course of therapy for any concurrent medical problems. After treatment, those subjects who had received OMT demonstrated continued improvement in their ROM, while ROM in the placebo group decreased.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Joint Diseases / physiopathology
  • Joint Diseases / therapy*
  • Male
  • Manipulation, Osteopathic* / methods
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Shoulder / physiopathology*
  • Shoulder Pain / physiopathology
  • Shoulder Pain / therapy*