Are we that invisible?

Why wasn’t osteopathic medicine mentioned in an article on lower back pain?


On June 2, The Washington Post published an article summarizing the findings of the Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center survey on treatments for lower back pain. "Hands-on therapies" were the top-rated methods of treatment, according to the 14,000 magazine subscribers with lower back pain who responded to the survey. Unfortunately, osteopathic medicine was not mentioned anywhere in the article, and when "hands-on therapies" were described, they were attributed to chiropractic manipulation, massage and physical therapy.

When I first read this article, I once again felt dismayed by the our profession's relative invisibility. After more than 100 years of existence, with licensure available in every state and growing numbers of graduates from our medical schools every year, why was osteopathic manipulative treatment not on anyone's radar screen when asked about treatment for lower back pain?

That is the more negative way of interpreting these findings.

Another, more positive way of looking at these results could be that osteopathic physicians have become so widely accepted into the larger medical community that we are no longer regarded as "back doctors" but instead as competent physicians capable of providing a broad range of medical services for the full spectrum of physical and psychological ailments.

That's my glass-half-empty-glass-half-full analysis of these survey findings. All in all, though, on behalf of many members of our profession who practice effective OMT every day, I wish that the American public could acknowledge us in studies of this type.

Leave a comment Please see our comment policy