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The Somatic Connection  |   October 2016
Manual Therapy and OMT May Be of Benefit in the Management of Somatosensory Tinnitus
Author Notes
  • University of California, San Diego School of Medicine 
Article Information
The Somatic Connection   |   October 2016
Manual Therapy and OMT May Be of Benefit in the Management of Somatosensory Tinnitus
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, October 2016, Vol. 116, 684-685. doi:10.7556/jaoa.2016.134
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, October 2016, Vol. 116, 684-685. doi:10.7556/jaoa.2016.134
Oostendorp RA, Bakker I, Elvers H, et al. Cervicogenic somatosensory tinnitus: an indication for manual therapy plus education? part 2: a pilot study. Man Ther. 2016;23:106-113. doi:10.1016/j.math.2016.02.006. 
Manual therapy researchers in the Netherlands conducted a pilot study that evaluated the effect of manual therapy Utrecht (MTU) in conjunction with tinnitus education on patients with cervicogenic somatosensory tinnitus (CST). Manual therapy Utrecht is a very gentle, low-velocity passive movement of joints of the spine, pelvis, and extremities. Of an initial population of 506 patients who reported having CST, 126 met the inclusion criteria for 1 of 2 groups: a group of patients with CST (n=67) and a subgroup with CST and tinnitus sensitization (TS) (n=55). The inclusion criteria for the CST alone group were neck pain; impairment of cervical range of motion, preferably rotation; modulation of tinnitus by head and neck movements and posture; and tenderness of cervical-occipital muscles. Five of the following criteria had to be met to be placed in the TS subgroup: widespread hyperalgesia and pain remote from the symptomatic region, such as shoulder and back pain; impairment in quality of vision; burning eyes; modulation of tinnitus by psychological stress, such as sound phobia; modulation of tinnitus by sensory stimulation; headache; dizziness; or tingling in arms or legs. 
The outcome measure was a tinnitus intensity visual analog scale (VAS), which ranged from 0 (no tinnitus) to 100 (worst intensity of tinnitus). The VAS data were collected before and after the MTU intervention. Therapy sessions were 30 to 60 minutes, and each patient received 7 to 13 sessions. 
The results showed statistically significant reductions in VAS scores for both groups (CST alone, P=.01; CST and TS, P<.001), and the differences between the groups was clinically significant (P<.001). The results were also deemed clinically significant for the CST and TS group. 
This study is consistent with research showing the benefit of osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) in reducing symptoms in patients with somatosensory tinnitus.1 Although this study was a pilot study, results suggest that MTU and OMT may be beneficial in managing conditions like tinnitus. 
References
Alexander J, Kurisu M, Fleming JE, King H. Response of tinnitus to osteopathic manipulation [abstract C21]. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2015;115(12):e82-e83.