A common reproach precluding the use of osteopathic manipulative medicine (OMM) in pediatrics is a lack of evidence regarding its safety, feasibility, and effectiveness.
We conducted a systematic, scoping review of pediatric osteopathic medicine to identify gaps in the literature and make recommendations for future research.
We searched 10 databases using 6 key words and medical subject heading terms for any primary articles reporting OMM use in children published from database inception until initiation of the study.
Articles were selected if they reported primary data on OMM conducted in the United States on patient(s) 0 to 18 years old.
Baseline study characteristics were collected from each article and the Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development, and Evaluations system was used to critically appraise each study.
Database search yielded 315 unique articles with 30 studies fulfilling inclusion and exclusion criteria. Of these, 13 reported the data required to demonstrate statistically significant results, and no significant adverse events were reported. The majority of studies were graded as providing weak clinical evidence because of significant methodologic flaws and biases.
The review was limited to US-based studies and reports. Minimal discrepancies between reviewers were resolved via an objective third reviewer.
There is little strong, scientific, evidence-based literature demonstrating the therapeutic benefit of OMM for pediatric care. No strong clinical recommendations can be made, but it can be medically tolerated given its low risk profile. High-quality, scientifically rigorous OMM research is required to evaluate safety, feasibility, and efficacy in pediatrics.