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Open Access Publications from the University of California

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.

[WestJEM. 2009;10:184-189.]

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