Special Communication  |   September 2018
Does Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment Make a Neuropsychological Difference in Adults With Pain? A Rationale for a New Approach
Author Notes
  • From the Departments of Clinical Integration (Drs Rizkalla and Huntington-Alfano), Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (Drs Henderson, Huntington-Alfano, and Heinking), and Physiology (Dr Henderson) at the Midwestern University/Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine (Student Doctors Koronkiewicz, Knees, Hoffman, and Elahi and Dr Impens) in Downers Grove, Illinois, and from the Institute for Healthcare Innovation at Midwestern University in Downers Grove, Illinois (Dr Impens). 
  • Financial Disclosures: None reported. 
  • Support: This study was supported by grants from Midwestern University and the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine. 
  •  *Address correspondence to Mireille N. Rizkalla, MSc, PhD, Department of Clinical Integration, Midwestern University, 555 31st St, Downers Grove, IL 60515-1235. Email: mrizka@midwestern.edu
     
Article Information
Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment / Pain Management/Palliative Care
Special Communication   |   September 2018
Does Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment Make a Neuropsychological Difference in Adults With Pain? A Rationale for a New Approach
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, September 2018, Vol. 118, 617-622. doi:10.7556/jaoa.2018.136
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, September 2018, Vol. 118, 617-622. doi:10.7556/jaoa.2018.136
Abstract

Cognitive impairment is common in patients with pain. While symptoms of pain are effectively treated with osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT), the cognitive complaint is vastly ignored. Pain-induced cognitive dysfunction can be severe and is particularly apparent in working memory and attention. There is good reason to expect cognitive responsiveness to OMT. Previous research has reported the effects of OMT on related psychiatric outcomes, including relief from depression and anxiety, suggesting that OMT may produce more cortical benefits than is currently thought. The rationale to link OMT to cognition comes from the tenets of osteopathic medicine: body unity, homeostasis, and the structure-function relationship. The present article provides background evidence to support the hypothetical link between OMT and cognitive benefits and proposes a physiological mechanism of how OMT could exert its effect on cognition. Research strategies are discussed to test the hypotheses that are generated from the proposed theoretical framework.

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