Concussion, a type of mild traumatic brain injury, is a disruption in normal brain function due to head injury. New-onset symptoms from concussion vary, likely depending on the areas of the head and neck affected; they can be severe and debilitating. Current treatment options are limited and difficult to individualize. Osteopathic manipulative medicine (OMM) can aid musculoskeletal restrictions that can potentially improve concussion symptoms.
To assess concussion symptom number and severity in participants with concussion who received either OMM or an educational intervention.
A randomized controlled trial was conducted at the New York Institute of Technology Academic Health Care Center. Patients presenting to the center with concussion-like symptoms due to recent head injury within the previous 7 days provided consent and were randomized into 2 intervention groups, receiving either 1 OMM treatment (n=16) or 1 concussion education intervention (n=15). Participants were assessed before and after the intervention with the validated Symptom Concussion Assessment Tool fifth edition (SCAT-5) for quantification of number of symptoms and their severity. Collected data were analyzed using the Mann-Whitney U test and the repeated-measures analysis of variance.
Thirty-one participants were enrolled in the study; after 1 control participant was excluded due to incomplete data, 30 patient records were analyzed. The OMM intervention group had a significant decrease in symptom number (P=.002) and symptom severity (P=.001) compared with the concussion education group.
When used in the acute setting, OMM significantly decreased concussion symptom number and severity compared with concussion education. This study demonstrates that integration of OMM using a physical examination-guided, individualized approach is safe and effective in the management of new-onset symptoms of uncomplicated concussions. (Clinicaltrials.gov No. NCT02750566).