Non-Invasive Manual Osteopathy Relieves Low Back Pain

Researchers from the University of North Texas have determined that non-invasive osteopathic manual therapy will reduce low back pain in a majority of cases – avoiding expensive and invasive back surgery.

The University of North Texas researchers and Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine researchers conducted their research on 455 patients – 269 (59%) with back pain with low severity and 186 (41%) with severe low back pain.

The researchers performed their treatment research with randomization and double-blindedness using what is referred to as “sham-control.” “Sham control” refers to treatments that appear to be the same as the studied treatment but are not the prescribed treatment. In other words, they appear to be the treatment but they are not.

The researchers oversaw the treatment of the back pain patients over eight weeks of therapy, and then assessed the outcomes of the treatments after twelve weeks.

The patients were treated six times per week with Osteopathic Manual Treatment – also referred to as biomechnical treatment.

At the assessment most of the patients reported substantial improvement in pain reduction and back functioning for their particular movements. The majority of patients reported at least 50% or more reduction in pain.

Those with severe back pain had more than double the chance of significant improvement after treatment with Osteopathic Manual Therapy than those who were treated with sham treatment. And those treated with OMT had 80% chance of significant improvement on the standardized Roland-Morris Disability Questionnaire – which qualifies the mobility of the patient – as compared to those treated with the sham (placebo) therapy.

The researchers concluded that:

“The large effect size for Osteopathic Manual Therapy in providing substantial pain reduction in patients with chronic Low Back Pain of high severity was associated with clinically important improvement in back-specific functioning. Thus, Osteopathic Manual Therapy may be an attractive option in such patients before proceeding to more invasive and costly treatments.”

Osteopathic manual therapy utilizes the patient’s own relative muscle strength to help align, balance and strengthen those muscles and ligaments that support the spinal column. While most conventional medical treatments focus upon the spinal column and nerves in an isolated manner, often requiring expensive surgeries that often fail, osteopathic manual therapy utilizes safe and non-invasive guided treatments that allow the spinal region to reposition itself, rendering greater support for the lumbar region.

This article originally appeared on and is written by Case Adams.

Yoga Therapy and Healing

As yoga therapy becomes even more mainstream, and the benefits more widely accepted, more people are jumping on the bandwagon and the growth accelerates.

As practicing yoga therapists for many years, we have known how yoga therapy can help anything from sciatica to a failed marriage.   So it’s great to finally be recognized and become part of the mainstream. But one of the problems associated with the popularization of yoga, is the tendency to apply it as a panacea and imply that all you need to do is “know” how yoga will fix this or that and prescribe it.   This has lead to a predominantly allopathic and left brained paradigm in the delivery method.  

A few years ago at a Yoga Therapy conference I was on a panel to answer questions from attendees curios to know more about what yoga therapy could offer.  Many questions related to applications of yoga therapy in the form of  What posture do you recommend for such and such a condition?”

Someone even asked for postures to cure altitude sickness.  My response was a little smug.   “Take a car ride down the mountain or try a headstand. At least a head stand will get you a few feet closer to sea level.

Fundamentally there is nothing wrong with such questions and I apologize for my smug response. The problem is the mind-set from which such questions arise.  A mindset that as professionals we feed and that is based on a paradigm of healing that says “do this procedure or apply this technique to get this result”. To me this approach sells yoga therapy short.  Yoga therapy is an holistic science. One that honors the complexity of being human and the unique makeup of each one of us in every aspect – body, mind, and spirit. To clarify this take a look at the following comparison between two different paradigms of healing that I have attempted to identify.

Two Models of Healing


  1. Based on diagnosis and treatment
  2. Based on cause and affect
  3. Outcome is known from study of previous cases and application of scientific method
  4. Alleviation of pain or disappearance of symptoms = successful intervention
  5. Power is primarily with the therapist
  6. Client follows directions to affect cure
  7. Dependence on therapist is possible and even likely
  8. What is important is decided by therapist
  9. Therapist is invested in successful outcome
  10. Answers are more valued than questions
  11. Ambiguity and chaos are limited in the healing process


  1. Based on co-created exploration
  2. Based on unique manifestation of energy of the individual
  3. Outcome is unknown
  4. Awareness of underlying dissonance in body, mind, and spirit can lead to life transforming change on same dimensions
  5. Power is primarily with the client
  6. Client makes choices from options presenting from new self generated awareness
  7. Empowerment of client is likely
  8. What is important is decided by client
  9. Therapist leaves client to determine relative success without attachment.
  10. Questions can be more valuable than answers
  11. Ambiguity and chaos are valued and inherent in the healing process.

Article originally appeared on and was written by Michael Lee.