The slight increase in some forms of pain after OMT, although not statistically significant, is believed to result from minor and temporary tissue irritation. This initial inflammatory response subsides.Credit: The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association

Preliminary results demonstrate that osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) helps reduce acute pain in postpartum women, regardless of whether they delivered vaginally or via cesarean. The study results published todayThe Journal of the American Osteopathic Association.

Fifty nine women from St. Barnabas Hospital in Bronx, New York received 20-30 minutes of OMT within the first 48 hours of delivery. Mean score for pain using a visual analogue scale (VAS) decreased from 5.0 to 2.9, with 13 patients reporting being pain free after OMT.

Pain is one of the most common postpartum complaints by women in the United States. Many OMT techniques are able to help postpartum women relax contracted muscle tissue, reduce join pain and alleviate ligamentous strain. Through the use of OMT, the number of patients reporting lower back pain decreased by 30 percent, abdominal pain by 17 percent and vaginal pain by 10 percent.

“A mother’s body goes through a great deal of stress both physically and mentally during childbirth,” said Dr. Octavia Cannon, DO, vice president of the American College of Osteopathic Obstetricians and Gynecologists. “This study shows that by combining osteopathic manipulation with other pain therapies, we can help new mothers get back on their feet quicker and improve their quality of life with their new infant.”

With OMT, physicians manually apply a specific amount of pressure to different regions in the body. These techniques can help treat structural and tissue abnormalities, relieve joint restriction and misalignment, restore muscle and tissue balance and promote the overall movement blood flow throughout the body. When appropriate, OMT can complement, and in some cases replace, medications or surgery.

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Source: American Osteopathic Association

Research Reference:

  1. Victoria Hastings, MPH, OMS IV; Adrienne Marie McCallister, DO; Sarah A. Curtis, DO; Roseanna J. Valant, DO; Sheldon Yao, DO. Efficacy of Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment for Management of Postpartum Pain. Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, July 2016 DOI:10.7556/jaoa.2016.103