Impaired sleep quality is among many symptoms observed in patients with a concussion and may predispose a patient to a prolonged recovery course and a later return to their daily activities. Studies have suggested that osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) may play a role in improving sleep quality.
To investigate how OMT may play a role in the management and overall healing process in patients with a concussion by improving sleep quality.
Data were collected from a randomized, controlled study on OMT and concussion (of which this study represents 1 arm) to investigate the effects of OMT vs concussion education counseling on sleep quality in student athletes with a concussion. Student athletes with no medical history of neurodegenerative disease who presented to the New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine Academic Healthcare Center with a concussion following a sport-related injury were enrolled in the study. Participants received OMT intervention or standard counseling on how to care for a concussion during their first and second visits. Participants rated their symptoms, including sleep quality, on the validated scale Sport Concussion Assessment Tool 5th Edition at 3 consecutive visits during 1 week. The mean sleep quality score within and between the OMT and education groups before each of 2 interventions and at the third visit were compared and analyzed using the Mann-Whitney U test.
Thirty participants were enrolled in the study. Total symptom data showed a stronger, significant correlation with sleep scores than with other symptoms. Participants receiving OMT (n=16) reported overall 80% and 76% improvement in sleep quality from pre-OMT values to their second and third visits, respectively. Participants who had an educational intervention (n=14) reported a 36% and 46% improvement from pre-OMT values to their second and third visits, respectively.
The beneficial relationship trend between OMT and sleep quality in patients with a concussion was not statistically significant. Owing to the limitations of this study, further research with a larger population and sham control participants is warranted. (clinicaltrials.gov No. NCT02750566).