Background: Health improvement is one of the main priorities of both public and private health systems. In recent years, more attention has been given to the use of complementary and alternative medicines, including osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT), as possible effective interventions in increasing patients' health reported outcomes. With regard to OMT, very little research was focused on its effectiveness in enhancing health in the general population.
Objectives: To explore the extent to which OMT is effective in improving quality of life in referring patients.
Design: Cohort study.
Setting: Private osteopathic clinical practices in Italy.
Interventions: 25 osteopaths from Central and Southern Italy participated in the study. Self-referred patients, with a diagnosed musculo-skeletal disorder and older than 18 years of age, who did not undergo any OMT session in the previous 12 months and/or contemporarily additional manual therapies were enrolled.
Main outcome measures: Changing from baseline SF36 general health sub-domain scores was used as the study primary outcomes.
Results: 1000 patients with primary diagnosis of musculo-skeletal disorder were initially enrolled. 988 patients completed the study. After 4 weeks, mean general health score was 14.7 points higher (95% CI 13.9-15.6; Cohen's d=0.84). Similarly, physical and mental component scores increased (11.5; 95% CI 10.8-12.1; d=0.87 and 9.6; 95% CI 8.6-10.5; d=0.61 respectively). No association between SF36 domains and socio-demographic exposures was found to be statistically significant.
Conclusions: Positive changes on various quality of life dimensions were reported by patients receiving osteopathic treatment. The trial was registered on clinicaltrials.gov (identifier NCT01965678).
Keywords: Health; Osteopathic manipulative treatment; Patient reported outcomes; Quality of life.
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