American Osteopathic Association

Advancing the distinctive philosophy and practice of osteopathic medicine

Osteopathic Manipulation Can Improve Pain in Postpartum Women

Study Published in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association Finds Common Osteopathic Technique Can Help Improve Quality of Life for New Mothers

CHICAGO—July 26, 2016— 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 today in The 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 report 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 joint 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. Olivia 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 back at home with a 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.

Open access to the full review is available until October 1, 2016:

About The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association

The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association (JAOA) is the official scientific publication of the American Osteopathic Association. Edited by Robert Orenstein, DO, it is the premier scholarly peer-reviewed publication of the osteopathic medical profession. The JAOA’s mission is to advance medicine through the publication of peer-reviewed osteopathic research.


Media Contact:   

Lauren Brush
(312) 202-8161


 Share This