Use of manual therapy applied to the viscera: Secondary analysis of a nationally representative sample of Australian osteopaths

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Journal Article
International Journal of Osteopathic Medicine, 2020, 36, pp. 19-25
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© 2020 Objectives: To explore the practice characteristics of the Australian osteopathy workforce who reported using visceral techniques ‘often’. Design: Secondary analysis of a cross-sectional survey of 991 osteopaths. Setting: The Osteopathy Research and Innovation Network (ORION), an Australian practice-based research network. Participants: Australian osteopaths participating in ORION. Outcome measures: Demographic, practice and treatment characteristics of osteopaths who ‘often’ use visceral techniques in patient care. Results: Ninety-eight osteopaths (9.9%) of the ORION sample (n = 991) ‘often’ use visceral techniques in patient care. Those osteopaths who ‘often’ use visceral techniques were more likely to engage in referrals with acupuncturists (send referrals: odds ratio (OR) 2.58; received referrals: OR 2.57). These practitioners were also more likely to treat non-musculoskeletal complaints (OR 11.12) and use lymphatic pump techniques (OR 18.07). Research to inform patient care was also more likely to be seen as important by those osteopaths ‘often’ using visceral techniques compared to osteopaths who reported using visceral techniques ‘never’, ‘rarely’ and ‘sometimes’ (OR 2.63). Conclusions: Several practice characteristics are associated with Australian osteopaths ‘often’ using visceral techniques. Further work is now required to understand patient presentations where visceral techniques are used, the clinical reasoning for their use, and exploration of the effectiveness of these techniques in patient care.
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