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1.  RISK MANAGEMENT FOR CHIROPRACTORS AND OSTEOPATHS 
This article is the second in a series of articles dealing with risk management in the practise of chiropractic and osteopathy, prepared by the COCA Risk Management Subcommittee.
Background: Radiographic examination carries risks that must be weighed against the possible benefits when determining patient care.
Objective: The objective of this article is to propose guidelines for the use of imaging in chiropractic and osteopathic practice.
Discussion: Plain film radiography, CT scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and other forms of imaging are available for use in chiropractic and osteopathic practice in Australia. The astute practitioner utilises these imaging procedures for clinical decision making in order to make an accurate diagnosis that will determine a patient’s management. This article attempts to guide the practitioner in the proper use of these imaging procedures for different regions of the body.
PMCID: PMC2051318  PMID: 17987210
Chiropractic; risk management; osteopathy
2.  The provision of chiropractic, physiotherapy and osteopathic services within the Australian private health-care system: a report of recent trends 
Background
Chiropractors, physiotherapists, and osteopaths receive training in the diagnosis and management of musculoskeletal conditions. As a result there is considerable overlap in the types of conditions that are encountered clinically by these practitioners. In Australia, the majority of benefits paid for these services come from the private sector. The purpose of this article is to quantify and describe the development in service utilization and the cost of benefits paid to users of these healthcare services by private health insurers. An exploration of the factors that may have influenced the observed trends is also presented.
Methods
A review of data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency, and the Australian Government Private Health Insurance Administration Council was conducted. An analysis of chiropractic, physiotherapy and osteopathic service utilisation and cost of service utilisation trend was performed along with the level of benefits and services over time.
Results
In 2012, the number of physiotherapists working in the private sector was 2.9 times larger than that of chiropractic, and 7.8 times that of the osteopathic profession. The total number of services provided by chiropractors, physiotherapists, and osteopaths increased steadily over the past 15 years. For the majority of this period, chiropractors provided more services than the other two professions. The average number of services provided by chiropractors was approximately two and a half times that of physiotherapists and four and a half times that of osteopaths.
Conclusions
This study highlights a clear disparity in the average number of services provided by chiropractors, physiotherapists, and osteopaths in the private sector in Australia over the last 15 years. Further research is required to explain these observed differences and to determine whether a similar trend exists in patients who do not have private health insurance cover.
doi:10.1186/2045-709X-22-3
PMCID: PMC3896731  PMID: 24428934
Chiropractic; Physiotherapy; Osteopathy; Allied health; Healthcare utilisation
3.  CHIROPRACTIC AND OSTEOPATHIC EDUCATION AT ROYAL MELBOURNE INSTITUTE TECHNOLOGY 
Objective: To assess the attitudes of undergraduate chiropractic and osteopathic students at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) in 1992 on the education they are receiving and on the effectiveness of chiropractic and osteopathic care.
Design: Cross-sectional descriptive survey.
Participants: Undergraduate chiropractic and osteopathic students enrolled at RMIT School of Chiropractic and Osteopathy in 1992.
Results: This study surveyed 272 students, 196 who were chiropractic students and 76 who were osteopathic students from RMIT School of Chiropractic and Osteopathy in Melbourne, Australia. The students that responded represented 73.4% of chiropractic students and 85.4% of osteopathic students currently enrolled in their respective courses. Chiropractic and osteopathic students entered their respective courses from non-chiropractic/non-osteopathic families. More chiropractic students than osteopathic students (1.3:1.0) had their respective course as their first choice when applying for tertiary education. A majority (95.8 chiropractic students and 94.8% osteopathic students) of both groups surveyed were pleased with their choice of course. Students from both disciplines held considerable respect for each other in the care of certain conditions, but did not see the other profession’s care as effective as their own. A greater percentage of osteopathic students believed there was sufficient difference between chiropractic and osteopathy to justify two separate professions (57.6% compared to 97.2%).
Discussion: High quality education is a major aim in our schools and colleges. For this standard to be maintained it requires continual re-evaluation and assessment. Surveys such as this should be performed regularly as a method of evaluating student attitude and how these attitudes change during the course. This would also allow administrators to determine whether they are achieving their academic intentions. An immediate follow up survey asking the same questions is suggested to ascertain whether the same attitudes exist today.
PMCID: PMC2051086  PMID: 17987188
Chiropractic; osteopathic medicine; education; students; attitude
4.  Referrals to chiropractors and osteopaths: a survey of general practitioners in rural and regional New South Wales, Australia 
Background
Chiropractic and osteopathy form a significant part of the healthcare setting in rural and regional Australia, with national registration of practitioners, public subsidies for services and high utilisation by the Australian public. However, despite their significant role in rural and regional Australia, there has been little exploration of the interface between chiropractic and osteopathy and conventional primary health care practitioners in this area. The study aim was to examine the referral practices and factors that underlie referral to chiropractors and osteopaths by rural and regional Australian general practitioners (GPs), by drawing on a sample of GPs in rural and regional New South Wales.
Methods
A 27-item questionnaire was sent to all 1486 GPs currently practising in rural and regional Divisions of General Practice in New South Wales, Australia.
Results
A total of 585 GPs responded to the questionnaire, with 49 questionnaires returned as “no longer at this address” (response rate: 40.7%). The majority of GPs (64.1%) referred to a chiropractor or osteopath at least a few times per year while 21.7% stated that they would not refer to a chiropractor or osteopath under any circumstances. Patients asking the GP about CAM (OR=3.59; CI: 1.12, 11.55), GP’s use of CAM practitioners as a major source of information (OR=4.39; 95% CI: 2.04, 9.41), lack of other treatment options (OR=2.41; 95% CI: 1.18, 5.12), access to a wide variety of medical specialists (OR=12.5; 95% CI: 2.4, 50.0), GP’s belief in the efficacy of chiropractic and osteopathy services (OR=3.39; 95% CI: 2.19, 5.25) and experiencing positive results from patients using these services previously (OR=1.67; CI: 1.02, 2.75) were all independently predictive of increased referral to chiropractic and osteopathy services amongst the rural GPs.
Conclusions
There is a significant interface between chiropractic and osteopathy and Australian rural and regional general practice in New South Wales. Although there is generally high support for chiropractic and osteopathy among Australian GPs, this was not absolute and the heterogeneity of responses suggests that there remain tensions between the professions. The significant interface between chiropractic and osteopathy may be due in part to the inclusion of these professions in the publicly subsidised national healthcare delivery scheme. The significant impact of chiropractic and osteopathy and general practice in rural and regional Australian healthcare delivery should serve as an impetus for increased research into chiropractic and osteopathy practice, policy and regulation in these areas.
doi:10.1186/2045-709X-21-5
PMCID: PMC3599860  PMID: 23369205
Chiropractic; Osteopathy; General practice; Rural healthcare; Health services; Referral; Interdisciplinary care; Primary care
5.  THE JOURNAL OF THE CHIROPRACTIC & OSTEOPATHIC COLLEGE OF AUSTRALASIA 
The first edition of the Journal of the Chiropractic and Osteopathic College of Australasia was known as COMSIG Review and was published in November, 1992 to coincide with a large conference that COCA had organised in Melbourne.
In the first few years the majority of articles were magazine style reviews, similar to these found in the Australian Family Physician. The first Editor was Bruce Walker and subsequent Editors have included John Drinkwater, Stephanie Campbell and John Reggars. The current Editors in Chief, Peter Tuchin and Henry Pollard, are staff members at Macquarie University, Centre of Chiropractic, with a strong background in science and research and both are currently undertaking post-graduate research degrees.
Over several years the magazine review style was changed in keeping with a more full journal format. An Editorial Board was formed, comprised of chiropractors, osteopaths and medical practitioners, some of whom are world renowned in their particular field of research.
By March, 1996 it was decided to change the name of the journal to Australasian Chiropractic and Osteopathy (ACO). This was a purposeful move to reflect the maturing of the journal and also the growth of the College and in the five years since November 1992, seventy-nine scientific articles have been published.
It is anticipated that the journal will continue to be widely distributed throughout the world, with current subscriptions from all Australian undergraduate chiropractic and osteopathic institutions and the vast majority of international undergraduate institutions.
ACO is currently indexed with Mantis (formerly Chirolars). The Editorial Panel continue to strive for Australasian Chiropractic and Osteopathy inclusion into Index Medicus and thereby Medline. However, it is recognised that readership of chiropractic journals is very low throughout the world and it is unlikely in the near future that any chiropractic journal other than the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics will be included in Index Medicus.
The lack of mainstream international indexing will not stop or prevent the College from producing a first rate journal into the future years of the professions. In fact with the now steady growth in Australian chiropractic and osteopathic research, it is envisaged that ACO will be Australia's leading professional journal. We trust our membership enjoy reading the journal and find many of its articles instructional.
We look forward to any comments from members relating to the production of the journal and any suggestions will be welcomed.
PMCID: PMC2050635  PMID: 17989763
Australasian Chiropractic Osteopathy; journal
6.  Chiropractors & Osteopaths Musculo-Skeletal Interest Group (COMSIG) 
COMSIG Review  1992;1(1):2.
The Chiropractors & Osteopaths Musculo-Skeletal Interest Group evolved from regular clinical meetings at Ringwood Clinic, a multi-disciplinary clinic in Melbourne
In 1987 the Directors of the clinic Bruce F. Walker D.C. and Alison Hogg MB.BS. (Hons), FRACGP. Decided to invite a range of guest speakers (on musculo-skeletal topics) to give an address every 6 weeks
Local practitioners of all persuasions were invited to attend these meetings. Although all groups were represented, by far the greatest interest shown by the chiropractors and osteopaths
In 1989 Peter D. Werth B.App.Sc.(Chiro) joined the team and together with the writer formulated a plan to broaden the list of invited guests to all registered chiropractors and osteopaths in Melbourne
Naturally, this required a larger venue and organisation. After several successful meetings attracting groups of 60 to 70 practitioners we formalised the COMSIG organisation and gained the invaluable assistance of David de l Harpe B.Sc., B.App.Sc.(Chiro), MB.,BS., Shane Carter B.App.Sc.(Chiro) and Simon Clement D.O. on our committee. More recently Shane Carter left for overseas and was ably replaced by Miriam Bourke B.App.Sc.(Chiro)
This year COMSIG incorporated under the name of the long established Chiropractic & Osteopathic College of Australasia
So, what is COMSIG and what are it’s objectives? COMSIG is a special interest group of the Chiropractic & Osteopathic College of Australasia. More specifically, it is an affiliation of Chiropractors and Osteopaths with interests pertaining to the musculo-skeletal system
The objectives for which COMSIG was established are: to promote knowledge of disorders of the musculo-skeletal system.to provide a forum for the interchange of ideas related to such disorders.to educate chiropractors, osteopaths and other health professionals about the diagnosis and management of such disorders.to encourage the diagnosis and management of musculo-skeletal disorders in a scientific and ethical manner.to conduct, promote, and arrange meetings, seminars, symposia, conferences, and lectures on musculo-skeletal disorders.to foster research into musculo-skeletal disorders.
Importantly, COMSIG is not a political organisation but rather an academic organisation arising from the practitioner ranks of the professions
We encourage all those with an interest in musculo-skeletal disorders to join COMSIG and participate in its development. An application form is enclosed, or available from the Secretary…
PMCID: PMC2050005  PMID: 17989738
Chiropractic; osteopathy; Australia; education
7.  Testing the effectiveness of an innovative information package on practitioner reported behaviour and beliefs: The UK Chiropractors, Osteopaths and Musculoskeletal Physiotherapists Low back pain ManagemENT (COMPLeMENT) trial [ISRCTN77245761] 
Background
Low back pain (LBP) is a common and costly problem. Initiatives designed to assist practitioner and patient decisions about appropriate healthcare for LBP include printed evidence-based clinical guidelines. The three professional groups of chiropractic, osteopathy and musculoskeletal physiotherapy in the UK share common ground with their approaches to managing LBP and are amongst those targeted by LBP guidelines. Even so, many seem unaware that such guidelines exist. Furthermore, the behaviour of at least some of these practitioners differs from that recommended in these guidelines.
Few randomised controlled trials evaluating printed information as an intervention to change practitioner behaviour have utilised a no-intervention control. All these trials have used a cluster design and most have methodological flaws. None specifically focus upon practitioner behaviour towards LBP patients. Studies that have investigated other strategies to change practitioner behaviour with LBP patients have produced conflicting results. Although numerous LBP guidelines have been developed worldwide, there is a paucity of data on whether their dissemination actually changes practitioner behaviour. Primarily because of its low unit cost, sending printed information to large numbers of practitioners is an attractive dissemination and implementation strategy. The effect size of such a strategy, at an individual practitioner level, is likely to be small. However, if large numbers of practitioners are targeted, this strategy might achieve meaningful changes at a population level.
Methods
The primary aim of this prospective, pragmatic randomised controlled trial is to test the short-term effectiveness (six-months following intervention) of a directly-posted information package on the reported clinical behaviour (primary outcome), attitudes and beliefs of UK chiropractors, osteopaths and musculoskeletal physiotherapists. We sought to randomly allocate a combined sample of 1,800 consenting practitioners to receive either the information package (intervention arm) or no information above that gained during normal practice (control arm). We collected questionnaire data at baseline and six-months post-intervention. The analysis of the primary outcome will assess between-arm differences of proportions of responses to questions on recommendations about activity, work and bed-rest, that fall within categories previously defined by an expert consensus exercise as either 'guideline-consistent' and 'guideline-inconsistent'.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-6-41
PMCID: PMC1208895  PMID: 16033646
8.  A COMPARISON OF THE PATIENT DEMOGRAPHICS OF VICTORIAN CHIROPRACTIC AND OSTEOPATHIC CLINICS 
COMSIG review  1994;3(2):48-53.
While there are studies that describe the patient demographics of both Australian and American chiropractic clinics, such information appears difficult to find for physiotherapy or osteopathic clinics comparative data of any kind doesn't appear to exist. This study attempted to provide this data for Australian practices and to analyse any similarities or differences between populations.
Results obtained for chiropractors and osteopaths would appear to suggest that there may be significant differences between the diagnostic profiles of the two professions. Physiotherapists withdrew from the - process during data collection.
Suggestions are made relating to possible modifications I to the survey instrument and possible directions any future study might take.
PMCID: PMC2050142
Patients; statistics and numerical dam demography; utilisation; chiropractic; osteopathy; databases
9.  The establishment of the Chiropractic & Osteopathic College of Australasia in Queensland (1996–2002) 
Introduction
For chiropractors and osteopaths after graduation, the learning process continues by way of experience and continuing education (CE). The provision of CE and other vocational services in Queensland between 1996 and 2002 is the subject of this paper.
Methods
The Chiropractic & Osteopathic College of Australasia (COCA) implemented a plan, which involved continuing education, with speakers from a broad variety of health provider areas; and the introduction of the concepts of evidence-based practice. The plan also involved building membership.
Results
Membership of COCA in Queensland grew from 3 in June 1996 to 167 in 2002. There were a total of 25 COCA symposia in the same period. Evidence-based health care was introduced and attendees were generally satisfied with the conferences.
Discussion
The development of a vocational body (COCA) for chiropractors and osteopaths in Queensland was achieved. Registrants in the field have supported an organisation that concentrates on the vocational aspects of their practice.
doi:10.1186/1746-1340-13-3
PMCID: PMC1151651  PMID: 15967046
Chiropractic; osteopathy; continuing education; vocational education; evidence-based practice; Queensland
10.  Risk Management for Chiropractors and Osteopaths. Informed consent 
Obtaining the informed consent of a patient before undertaking chiropractic or osteopathic treatment is a common law requirement in Australia. This paper outlines the essential elements of informed consent and provides some practice tips on streamlining the process.
PMCID: PMC2051308  PMID: 17987206
Chiropractic; osteopathy; informed consent; risk management
11.  Patients’ experiences and expectations of chiropractic care: a national cross-sectional survey 
Background
Not enough is understood about patients’ views of chiropractic care. The aims of this research were to explore patients’ experiences and expectations, their perceptions of benefits and risks, and the implications for chiropractors’ continuing fitness to practise.
Methods
Survey questions were formulated from existing literature, published guidance on good practice from the General Chiropractic Council, and from 28 telephone interviews and a small focus group with chiropractic patients using a semi-structured topic guide. In its final form, the survey elicited patients’ ratings on expectations regarding 33 aspects of care. In a national cross-sectional survey, a number of sampling methods were required as a consequence of the low practitioner response rate.
Results
In total, 544 completed questionnaires were received from chiropractic patients, a lower response rate than expected (8%). The two main benefits that patients reported regarding their chiropractic care were reduced pain (92%) and increased mobility (80%). Of respondents, 20% reported unexpected or unpleasant reactions to their treatment, most commonly tiredness or fatigue (32%), and extra pain (36%). In most cases they expressed low levels of concern about these reactions. Patients’ expectations were met for most aspects of care. The four aspects of practice where expectations were least well met comprised: having more information on the cost of the treatment plan at the first consultation (80%); the chiropractor contacting the patient’s general practitioner if necessary (62%); having a discussion about a referral to another healthcare practitioner (62%); and providing a method for confidential feedback (66%).
Conclusions
Overall, patients reported a high level of satisfaction with the benefits of their chiropractic care, although there is a likelihood of bias towards patients with a positive experience of chiropractic. There were no serious adverse reactions; however, patients reported concern about pain, tingling and numbness in the limbs after chiropractic. In general, patients’ expectations were being well met.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12998-014-0049-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/s12998-014-0049-0
PMCID: PMC4307916  PMID: 25628858
Chiropractic; Patients’ expectations; Patients’ experiences; Risk; Benefit; Fitness to practice
12.  Use of the Internet as a Resource for Consumer Health Information: Results of the Second Osteopathic Survey of Health Care in America (OSTEOSURV-II) 
Background
The Internet offers consumers unparalleled opportunities to acquire health information. The emergence of the Internet, rather than more-traditional sources, for obtaining health information is worthy of ongoing surveillance, including identification of the factors associated with using the Internet for this purpose.
Objectives
To measure the prevalence of Internet use as a mechanism for obtaining health information in the United States; to compare such Internet use with newspapers or magazines, radio, and television; and to identify sociodemographic factors associated with using the Internet for acquiring health information.
Methods
Data were acquired from the Second Osteopathic Survey of Health Care in America (OSTEOSURV-II), a national telephone survey using random-digit dialing within the United States during 2000. The target population consisted of adult, noninstitutionalized, household members. As part of the survey, data were collected on: facility with the Internet, sources of health information, and sociodemographic characteristics. Multivariate analysis was used to identify factors associated with acquiring health information on the Internet.
Results
A total of 499 (64% response rate) respondents participated in the survey. With the exception of an overrepresentation of women (66%), respondents were generally similar to national referents. Fifty percent of respondents either strongly agreed or agreed that they felt comfortable using the Internet as a health information resource. The prevalence rates of using the health information sources were: newspapers or magazines, 69%; radio, 30%; television, 56%; and the Internet, 32%. After adjusting for potential confounders, older respondents were more likely than younger respondents to use newspapers or magazines and television to acquire health information, but less likely to use the Internet. Higher education was associated with greater use of newspapers or magazines and the Internet as health information sources. Internet use was lower in rural than urban or suburban areas.
Conclusions
The Internet has already surpassed radio as a source of health information but still lags substantially behind print media and television. Significant barriers to acquiring health information on the Internet remain among persons 60 years of age or older, those with 12 or fewer years of education, and those residing in rural areas. Stronger efforts are needed to ensure access to and facility with the Internet among all segments of the population. This includes user-friendly access for older persons with visual or other functional impairments, providing low-literacy Web sites, and expanding Internet infrastructure to reach all areas of the United States.
doi:10.2196/jmir.3.4.e31
PMCID: PMC1761915  PMID: 11772546
Internet, health care surveys, socioeconomic factors, age factors, family practice
13.  Biomedical research competencies for osteopathic medical students 
Background
Without systematic exposure to biomedical research concepts or applications, osteopathic medical students may be generally under-prepared to efficiently consume and effectively apply research and evidence-based medicine information in patient care. The academic literature suggests that although medical residents are increasingly expected to conduct research in their post graduate training specialties, they generally have limited understanding of research concepts.
With grant support from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, and a grant from the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation, the University of North Texas Health Science Center (UNTHSC) is incorporating research education in the osteopathic medical school curriculum. The first phase of this research education project involved a baseline assessment of students' understanding of targeted research concepts. This paper reports the results of that assessment and discusses implications for research education during medical school.
Methods
Using a novel set of research competencies supported by the literature as needed for understanding research information, we created a questionnaire to measure students' confidence and understanding of selected research concepts. Three matriculating medical school classes completed the on-line questionnaire. Data were analyzed for differences between groups using analysis of variance and t-tests. Correlation coefficients were computed for the confidence and applied understanding measures. We performed a principle component factor analysis of the confidence items, and used multiple regression analyses to explore how confidence might be related to the applied understanding.
Results
Of 496 total incoming, first, and second year medical students, 354 (71.4%) completed the questionnaire. Incoming students expressed significantly more confidence than first or second year students (F = 7.198, df = 2, 351, P = 0.001) in their ability to understand the research concepts. Factor analyses of the confidence items yielded conceptually coherent groupings. Regression analysis confirmed a relationship between confidence and applied understanding referred to as knowledge. Confidence scores were important in explaining variability in knowledge scores of the respondents.
Conclusion
Medical students with limited understanding of research concepts may struggle to understand the medical literature. Assessing medical students' confidence to understand and objectively measured ability to interpret basic research concepts can be used to incorporate competency based research material into the existing curriculum.
doi:10.1186/1750-4732-3-10
PMCID: PMC2770523  PMID: 19825171
14.  Overcoming Barriers to the Use of Osteopathic Manipulation Techniques in the Emergency Department 
Background:
Osteopathic Manipulation Techniques (OMT) have been shown to be effective therapeutic modalities in various clinical settings, but appear to be underutilized in the emergency department (ED) setting.
Objective:
To examine barriers to the use of OMT in the ED and provide suggestions to ameliorate these barriers.
Methods:
Literature review
Results:
While the medical literature cites numerous obstacles to the use of OMT in the ED setting, most can be positively addressed through education, careful planning, and ongoing research into use of these techniques. Recent prospective clinical trials of OMT have demonstrated the utility of these modalities.
Conclusion:
Osteopathic Manipulation Techniques are useful therapeutic modalities that could be utilized to a greater degree in the ED. As the number of osteopathic emergency physicians increases, the opportunity to employ these techniques should increase.
PMCID: PMC2729220  PMID: 19718381
15.  Reliability of Bony Anatomic Landmark Asymmetry Assessment in the Lumbopelvic Region: Application to Osteopathic Medical Education 
The objective of this review is to establish the current state of knowledge on the reliability of clinical assessment of asymmetry in the lumbar spine and pelvis. To search the literature, the authors consulted the databases of MEDLINE, CINAHL, AMED, MANTIS, Academic Search Complete, and Web of Knowledge using different combinations of the following keywords: palpation, asymmetry, inter- or intraex-aminer reliability, tissue texture, assessment, and anatomic landmark. Of the 23 studies identified, 14 did not meet the inclusion criteria and were excluded. The quality and methods of studies investigating the reliability of bony anatomic landmark asymmetry assessment are variable. The κ statistic ranges without training for interexaminer reliability were as follows: anterior superior iliac spine (ASIS), −0.01 to 0.19; posterior superior iliac spine (PSIS), 0.04 to 0.15; inferior lateral angle, transverse plane (ILA-A/P), −0.03 to 0.11; inferior lateral angles, coronal plane (ILA-S/I), −0.01 to 0.08; sacral sulcus (SS), −0.4 to 0.37; lumbar spine transverse processes L1 through L5, 0.04 to 0.17. The corresponding ranges for intraexaminer reliability were higher for all associated landmarks: ASIS, 0.19 to 0.4; PSIS, 0.13 to 0.49; ILA-A/P, 0.1 to 0.2; ILA-S/I, 0.03 to 0.21; SS, 0.24 to 0.28; lumbar spine transverse processes L1 through L5, not applicable. Further research is needed to better understand the reliability of asymmetry assessment methods in manipulative medicine.
PMCID: PMC3124075  PMID: 21135198
16.  Osteopathic intervention in chronic non-specific low back pain: a systematic review 
Background
Chronic Non Specific Low Back Pain (CNSLBP) is a common, complex and disabling condition that has been present for longer than three months and is not caused by a serious pathology. Osteopaths are health practitioners who commonly diagnose and treat CNSLBP patients using a complex set of interventions that includes manual therapy. The study aimed to complete a Systematic Review of clinical research into osteopathic intervention in CNSLBP using a rigorous assessment of study quality.
Methods
The literature was searched to August 2011 using the following databases: AMED, CINAHL Plus, Cochrane Central Register of Clinical Trials, MEDLINE Plus, EMBASE, MANTIS, OSTMED, PEDro, ScienceDirect. Multiple search terms were used in various combinations: osteopathy/osteopathic, osteopathic manipulative technique, OMT, Spinal Manipulative Therapy, SMT, clinical trial, back pain, chronic back pain. The inclusion criteria were papers that: reported clinical trials; had adult participants; tested the effectiveness and/or efficacy of osteopathic manual therapy intervention applied by osteopaths, and had a study condition of CNSLBP. The quality of the papers was assessed using the Cochrane Back Review Risk of Bias criteria. A meta-analysis would proceed if the studies had adequate clinical and methodological homogeneity.
Results
Initial searches revealed 809 papers, 772 of which were excluded on the basis of abstract alone. The remaining 37 trial papers were subjected to a more detailed analysis of the full text, which resulted in 35 being excluded. The two remaining trials had a lack of methodological and clinical homogeneity, precluding a meta-analysis. The trials used different comparators with regards to the primary outcomes, the number of treatments, the duration of treatment and the duration of follow-up.
Conclusion
There are only two studies assessing the effect of the manual therapy intervention applied by osteopathic clinicians in adults with CNSLBP. One trial concluded that the osteopathic intervention was similar in effect to a sham intervention, and the other suggests similarity of effect between osteopathic intervention, exercise and physiotherapy. Further clinical trials into this subject are required that have consistent and rigorous methods. These trials need to include an appropriate control and utilise an intervention that reflects actual practice.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-14-129
PMCID: PMC3623881  PMID: 23570655
Systematic review; Osteopathy; Osteopathic manipulative treatment; Low back pain; Chronic low back pain; Non-specific low back pain; Manual therapy; Clinical trial methodology
17.  Patients’ expectations of private osteopathic care in the UK: a national survey of patients 
Background
Patients’ expectations of osteopathic care have been little researched. The aim of this study was to quantify the most important expectations of patients in private UK osteopathic practices, and the extent to which those expectations were met or unmet.
Methods
The study involved development and application of a questionnaire about patients’ expectations of osteopathic care. The questionnaire drew on an extensive review of the literature and the findings of a prior qualitative study involving focus groups exploring the expectations of osteopathic patients. A questionnaire survey of osteopathic patients in the UK was then conducted. Patients were recruited from a random sample of 800 registered osteopaths in private practice across the UK. Patients were asked to complete the questionnaire which asked about 51 aspects of expectation, and post it to the researchers for analysis.
The main outcome measures were the patients-perceived level of expectation as assessed by the percentage of positive responses for each aspect of expectation, and unmet expectation as computed from the proportion responding that their expectation “did not happen”.
Results
1649 sets of patient data were included in the analysis. Thirty five (69%) of the 51 aspects of expectation were prevalent, with listening, respect and information-giving ranking highest. Only 11 expectations were unmet, the most often unmet were to be made aware that there was a complaints procedure, to find it difficult to pay for osteopathic treatment, and perceiving a lack of communication between the osteopath and their GP.
Conclusions
The findings reflected the complexity of providing osteopathic care and meeting patients’ expectations. The results provided a generally positive message about private osteopathic practice. The study identified certain gaps between expectations and delivery of care, which can be used to improve the quality of care. The questionnaire is a resource for future research.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-13-122
PMCID: PMC3679882  PMID: 23721054
Questionnaires; Survey; Expectations; Musculoskeletal manipulations; Osteopathic medicine
18.  Evaluation of the acceptability of Peer Physical Examination (PPE) in medical and osteopathic students: a cross sectional survey 
BMC Medical Education  2013;13:111.
Background
Peer physical examination (PPE) is a method of training in medical and osteopathic curricula. The aim of this study was to compare the acceptability of PPE in two classes of medical and osteopathic students after their first experience, to obtain comparative information useful for an understanding of the different professional approaches. The leading hypothesis was that osteopathic students enter the curriculum with a more positive attitude to bodily contact.
As a secondary aim, this study validated the new version of a questionnaire to assess the acceptability of PPE.
Methods
A new version of a previously validated questionnaire and an instrument from the literature (the Examining Fellow Student [EFS] questionnaire) were used for a cross-sectional survey in a class of 129 3rd year medical students and in two parallel classes of 1st year osteopathic students (total of 112 students).
Results
The mean score of the new questionnaire was significantly higher for the osteopathic students than for the medical students (53.4 ± 6.3 vs. 43.4 ± 8.9; p < 0.01). The only independent variables that were significantly predictive of the score in a linear regression analysis were gender and the condition of medical or osteopathic student. The EFS mean score also showed a significant difference between the osteopathic and medical students (30.76 ± 2.9 vs. 27.85 ± 4.3; p < 0.01).
Factor analysis of the new questionnaire identified three factors (appropriateness and usefulness, sexual implications and passive role) accounting for 62.8% of the variance. Criterion validity was assessed by correlation with the EFS (Pearson’s r coefficient = 0.61). Reliability was expressed in terms of Cronbach’s alpha coefficient, which equals 0.86.
Conclusions
These quantitative results are consistent with previous qualitative research on the process of embodiment both in medicine and osteopathy. The new questionnaire proved to be valid and reliable. The objective assessment of the acceptability of PPE is a way to determine differences in students’ attitudes towards contact with the body and can be used for counselling students regarding career choice. This study can also highlight differences between students from different professions and serve as a basis for reflection for improved mutual interprofessional understanding and future interprofessional education.
doi:10.1186/1472-6920-13-111
PMCID: PMC3846411  PMID: 23968312
Peer physical examination; Embodiment; Medical student; Osteopathic student; Cross sectional survey
19.  Should Osteopathic Students Applying to Allopathic Emergency Medicine Programs Take the USMLE Exam? 
Introduction
Board scores are an important aspect of an emergency medicine (EM) residency application. Residency directors use these standardized tests to objectively evaluate an applicant’s potential and help decide whether to interview a candidate. While allopathic (MD) students take the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE), osteopathic (DO) students take the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination (COMLEX). It is difficult to compare these scores. Previous literature proposed an equation to predict USMLE based on COMLEX. Recent analyses suggested this may no longer be accurate. DO students applying to allopathic programs frequently ask whether they should take USMLE to overcome this potential disadvantage. The objective of the study is to compare the likelihood to match of DO applicants who reported USMLE to those who did not, and to clarify how important program directors consider it is whether or not an osteopathic applicant reported a USMLE score.
Methods
We conducted a review of Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS) and National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) data for 2010–2011 in conjunction with a survey of EM residency programs. We reviewed the number of allopathic and osteopathic applicants, the number of osteopathic applicants who reported a USMLE score, and the percentage of successful match. We compared the percentage of osteopathic applicants who reported a USMLE score who matched compared to those who did not report USMLE. We also surveyed allopathic EM residency programs to understand how important it is that osteopathic (DO) students take USMLE.
Results
There were 1,482 MD students ranked EM programs; 1,277 (86%, 95% CI 84.3–87.9) matched. There were 350 DO students ranked EM programs; 181 (52%, 95% CI 46.4–57.0) matched (difference=34%, 95% CI 29.8–39.0, p<0.0001). There were 208 DO students reported USMLE; 126 (61%, 95% CI 53.6–67.2) matched. 142 did not report USMLE; 55 (39%, 95% CI 30.7–47.3) matched (difference=22%, 95% CI 11.2–32.5, p<0.0001). Survey results: 39% of program directors reported that it is extremely important that osteopathic students take USMLE, 38% stated it is somewhat important, and 22% responded not at all important.
Conclusion
DO students who reported USMLE were more likely to match. DO students applying to allopathic EM programs should consider taking USMLE to improve their chances of a successful match.
doi:10.5811/westjem.2013.8.16169
PMCID: PMC3935778  PMID: 24578773
20.  Primary Reasons for Osteopathic Consultation: A Prospective Survey in Quebec 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(9):e106259.
Background
Osteopathy is an increasingly popular health care modality to address pain and function in the musculoskeletal system, organs and the head region, as well as functional somatic syndromes. Although osteopathy is recommended principally in guidelines for management of back pain, osteopaths' scope of practice is wide, albeit poorly defined. In order to understand better the practice of osteopathy, this study aimed to investigate the most common reasons for osteopathic consultations in clinical settings in Quebec.
Methods
A prospective survey of members of the Registre des ostéopathes du Québec was conducted to examine demographics in osteopathic practices, as well as patients' primary reasons for consultations over a two-week period. The questionnaire was devised following a literature review and refined and verified with two stages of expert input.
Results
277 osteopaths (60.1% response rate) responded to the survey notice. 14,002 patients' primary reasons for consultations were reported in completed questionnaires and returned by practicing osteopaths. Musculoskeletal pain located in the spine, thorax, pelvis and limbs was the most common reason for consultations (61.9%), with females consulting most commonly for cervical pain and males for lumbar pain. Perinatal and paediatric (11.8%), head (9.1%), visceral (5.0%) and general concerns (4.8%) were the other most common reasons for consultations. Preventive care represented the remaining 0.3%.
Interpretation
The nature of primary reasons for osteopathic consultations, coupled with documented satisfaction of patients with this approach, suggest a future for multidisciplinary collaborative health care including osteopathy. Results of this survey may contribute to informing physicians and others pending regulation of Quebec osteopaths, and also provide direction for future clinical research and guidelines development.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0106259
PMCID: PMC4153609  PMID: 25184204
21.  Osteopathic manipulative treatment for nonspecific low back pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis 
Background
Nonspecific back pain is common, disabling, and costly. Therefore, we assessed effectiveness of osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) in the management of nonspecific low back pain (LBP) regarding pain and functional status.
Methods
A systematic literature search unrestricted by language was performed in October 2013 in electronic and ongoing trials databases. Searches of reference lists and personal communications identified additional studies. Only randomized clinical trials were included; specific back pain or single treatment techniques studies were excluded. Outcomes were pain and functional status. Studies were independently reviewed using a standardized form. The mean difference (MD) or standard mean difference (SMD) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) and overall effect size were calculated at 3 months posttreatment. GRADE was used to assess quality of evidence.
Results
We identified 307 studies. Thirty-one were evaluated and 16 excluded. Of the 15 studies reviewed, 10 investigated effectiveness of OMT for nonspecific LBP, 3 effect of OMT for LBP in pregnant women, and 2 effect of OMT for LBP in postpartum women. Twelve had a low risk of bias. Moderate-quality evidence suggested OMT had a significant effect on pain relief (MD, -12.91; 95% CI, -20.00 to -5.82) and functional status (SMD, -0.36; 95% CI, -0.58 to -0.14) in acute and chronic nonspecific LBP. In chronic nonspecific LBP, moderate-quality evidence suggested a significant difference in favour of OMT regarding pain (MD, -14.93; 95% CI, -25.18 to -4.68) and functional status (SMD, -0.32; 95% CI, -0.58 to -0.07). For nonspecific LBP in pregnancy, low-quality evidence suggested a significant difference in favour of OMT for pain (MD, -23.01; 95% CI, -44.13 to -1.88) and functional status (SMD, -0.80; 95% CI, -1.36 to -0.23), whereas moderate-quality evidence suggested a significant difference in favour of OMT for pain (MD, -41.85; 95% CI, -49.43 to -34.27) and functional status (SMD, -1.78; 95% CI, -2.21 to -1.35) in nonspecific LBP postpartum.
Conclusion
Clinically relevant effects of OMT were found for reducing pain and improving functional status in patients with acute and chronic nonspecific LBP and for LBP in pregnant and postpartum women at 3 months posttreatment. However, larger, high-quality randomized controlled trials with robust comparison groups are recommended.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-15-286
PMCID: PMC4159549  PMID: 25175885
Low back pain; Spinal manipulation; Osteopathic manipulative treatment; Systematic review
22.  Osteopathic Emergency Medicine Programs Infrequently Publish in High-Impact Emergency Medicine Journals 
Introduction
Both the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) and the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) require core faculty to engage in scholarly work, including publication in peer-reviewed journals. With the ACGME/AOA merger, we sought to evaluate the frequency of publication in high-impact peer-reviewed EM journals from authors affiliated with osteopathic emergency medicine (EM) programs.
Methods
We performed a retrospective literature review using the Journal Citation Report database and identified the top five journals in the category of ‘Emergency Medicine’ by their 2011 Impact Factor. We examined all publications from each journal for 2011. For each article we recorded article type, authors’ names, position of authorship (first, senior or other), the author’s degree and affiliated institution. We present the data in raw numbers and percentages.
Results
The 2011 EM journals with the highest impact factor were the following: Annals of Emergency Medicine, Resuscitation, Journal of Trauma, Injury, and Academic Emergency Medicine. Of the 9,298 authors published in these journals in 2011; 1,309 (15%) claimed affiliation with U.S.-based EM programs, of which 16 (1%) listed their affiliations with eight different osteopathic EM programs. The 16 authors claimed affiliation with 8 of 46 osteopathic EM programs (17%), while 1,301 authors claimed affiliation with 104 of 148 (70%) U.S.-based allopathic programs.
Conclusion
Authors from osteopathic EM programs are under-represented in the top EM journals. With the pending ACGME/AOA merger, there is a significant opportunity for improvement in the rate of publication of osteopathic EM programs in top tier EM journals.
doi:10.5811/westjem.2014.9.22535
PMCID: PMC4251253  PMID: 25493152
23.  Rediscovering the classic osteopathic literature to advance contemporary patient-oriented research: A new look at diabetes mellitus 
Patient care experiences represent opportunities for establishing theories, testable hypotheses, and data to assess the potential use of osteopathic manipulative treatment in various disease conditions. The re-analysis of Bandeen's 1949 raw data described herein summarizes the effects of osteopathic manipulative treatment involving pancreatic stimulatory and inhibitory techniques in diabetic and non-diabetic patients seen over a 25-year period of clinical practice. Bandeen's data demonstrate a reduction in blood glucose levels at 30 and 60 minutes following pancreatic stimulation in 150 diabetic patients, and an elevation in blood glucose levels at 30 and 60 minutes following pancreatic inhibition in 40 non-diabetic patients. Such patient-oriented research conducted during the classic era of osteopathy in the United States provides a foundation and data for generating hypotheses about the potential mechanisms of action of osteopathic manipulative treatment. Osteopathic investigators would be well-served to rediscover the classic osteopathic literature to help advance contemporary evidence-based medicine.
doi:10.1186/1750-4732-2-9
PMCID: PMC2503986  PMID: 18644129
24.  Osteopathic manipulative treatment for low back pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials 
Background
Osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) is a distinctive modality commonly used by osteopathic physicians to complement their conventional treatment of musculoskeletal disorders. Previous reviews and meta-analyses of spinal manipulation for low back pain have not specifically addressed OMT and generally have focused on spinal manipulation as an alternative to conventional treatment. The purpose of this study was to assess the efficacy of OMT as a complementary treatment for low back pain.
Methods
Computerized bibliographic searches of MEDLINE, EMBASE, MANTIS, OSTMED, and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials were supplemented with additional database and manual searches of the literature.
Six trials, involving eight OMT vs control treatment comparisons, were included because they were randomized controlled trials of OMT that involved blinded assessment of low back pain in ambulatory settings. Data on trial methodology, OMT and control treatments, and low back pain outcomes were abstracted by two independent reviewers. Effect sizes were computed using Cohen's d statistic and meta-analysis results were weighted by the inverse variance of individual comparisons. In addition to the overall meta-analysis, stratified meta-analyses were performed according to control treatment, country where the trial was conducted, and duration of follow-up. Sensitivity analyses were performed for both the overall and stratified meta-analyses.
Results
Overall, OMT significantly reduced low back pain (effect size, -0.30; 95% confidence interval, -0.47 – -0.13; P = .001). Stratified analyses demonstrated significant pain reductions in trials of OMT vs active treatment or placebo control and OMT vs no treatment control. There were significant pain reductions with OMT regardless of whether trials were performed in the United Kingdom or the United States. Significant pain reductions were also observed during short-, intermediate-, and long-term follow-up.
Conclusion
OMT significantly reduces low back pain. The level of pain reduction is greater than expected from placebo effects alone and persists for at least three months. Additional research is warranted to elucidate mechanistically how OMT exerts its effects, to determine if OMT benefits are long lasting, and to assess the cost-effectiveness of OMT as a complementary treatment for low back pain.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-6-43
PMCID: PMC1208896  PMID: 16080794
25.  Chiropractic identity, role and future: a survey of North American chiropractic students 
Background
The literature pertaining to chiropractic students’ opinions with respect to the desired future status of the chiropractic physician is limited and is an appropriate topic worthy of study. A previous pilot study was performed at a single chiropractic college. This current study is an expansion of this pilot project to collect data from chiropractic students enrolled in colleges throughout North America.
Objective
The purpose of this study is to investigate North American chiropractic students’ opinions concerning professional identity, role and future.
Methods
A 23-item cross-sectional electronic questionnaire was developed. A total of 7,455 chiropractic students from 12 North American English-speaking chiropractic colleges were invited to complete the survey. Survey items encompassed demographics, evidence-based practice, chiropractic identity and setting, and scope of practice. Data were collected and descriptive statistical analysis was performed.
Results
A total of 1,247 (16.7% response rate) questionnaires were electronically submitted. Most respondents agreed (34.8%) or strongly agreed (52.2%) that it is important for chiropractors to be educated in evidence-based practice. A majority agreed (35.6%) or strongly agreed (25.8%) the emphasis of chiropractic intervention is to eliminate vertebral subluxations/vertebral subluxation complexes. A large number of respondents (55.2%) were not in favor of expanding the scope of the chiropractic profession to include prescribing medications with appropriate advanced training. Most respondents estimated that chiropractors should be considered mainstream health care practitioners (69.1%). Several respondents (46.8%) think that chiropractic research should focus on the physiological mechanisms of chiropractic adjustments.
Conclusion
The chiropractic students in this study showed a preference for participating in mainstream health care, report an exposure to evidence-based practice, and desire to hold to traditional chiropractic theories and practices. The majority of students would like to see an emphasis on correction of vertebral subluxation, while a larger percent found it is important to learn about evidence-based practice. These two key points may seem contradictory, suggesting cognitive dissonance. Or perhaps some students want to hold on to traditional theory (e.g., subluxation-centered practice) while recognizing the need for further research to fully explore these theories. Further research on this topic is needed.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12998-014-0048-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/s12998-014-0048-1
PMCID: PMC4313466  PMID: 25646145
Chiropractic; Cross-sectional survey

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