Osteopathic manipulative treatment effectiveness in severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: a pilot study

Complement Ther Med. 2012 Feb-Apr;20(1-2):16-22. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2011.10.008. Epub 2011 Nov 27.


Objectives: Few and contrastingly data are available about use of osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Design: Comparing the effects of the combination of pulmonary rehabilitation and OMT compared with pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) in patients with severely impaired COPD.

Setting: Rehabilitative pulmonary department.

Interventions: Patients underwent exercise training, OMT, educational support and nutritional and psychological counselling.

Main outcomes measures: Exercise capacity through 6 min walk test (6MWT--primary outcome) and pulmonary function test (secondary outcomes) were evaluated at the beginning and at the end of the training. Patients were randomly assigned to receive PR+soft manipulation (G1) or OMT+PR (G2) for 5 days/week for 4 weeks.

Results: 20 stable COPD patients (5 female--mean age, 63.8±5.1 years; FEV1 26.9±6.3% of predicted) referred for in-patient pulmonary rehabilitation were evaluated. Respect to the baseline, 6 MWT statistically improved in both group. In particular, G2 group gained 72.5±7.5 m (p=0.01) and G1 group 23.7±9.7 m. Between group comparison showed a difference of 48.8 m (95% CI: 17 to 80.6 m, p=0.04). Moreover, in G2 group we showed a decrease in residual volume (RV--from 4.4±1.5 l to 3.9±1.5 l, p=0.05). Between group comparison showed an important difference (-0.44 l; 95% CI: -0.26 to -0.62 l, p=0.001). Furthermore, only in G2 group we showed an increase in FEV1.

Conclusions: This study suggests that OMT+PR may improve exercise capacity and reduce RV in severely impaired COPD patients with respect to PR alone.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Counseling
  • Exercise Test
  • Exercise Therapy
  • Female
  • Forced Expiratory Volume
  • Humans
  • Lung / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Manipulation, Osteopathic*
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Physical Fitness*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / physiopathology
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / rehabilitation
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / therapy*
  • Residual Volume
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Walking