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Osteopathic intervention for chronic pain, remaining thoracic stiffness and breathing impairment after thoracoabdominal oesophagus resection: A single subject design study.

Journal article
Authors Kristofer Bjerså
Catharina Sachs
Anders Hyltander
Monika Fagevik Olsén
Published in International Journal of Osteopathic Medicine
Volume 16
Issue 2
Pages 68-80
ISSN 1746-0689
Publication year 2013
Published at Institute of Clinical Sciences, Department of Surgery
Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Clinical Neuroscience and Rehabilitation
Pages 68-80
Language en
Keywords Osteopathic manipulative treatment; Thoracotomy; Postoperative pain; Range of motion; Dyspnoea
Subject categories Traumatology


Background Thoracic surgery can cause negative effects such as chronic pain, impaired thorax movement and/or impaired breathing. There are indications that manual therapies, such as osteopathy, may be beneficial for these conditions. Objective To investigate effects of osteopathic intervention on chronic pain and remaining limitations to thoracic range of motion and breathing in patients who had undergone thoracoabdominal resection of the oesophagus. Design In a single-subject research design (Aa-B-Ab), 8 participants with chronic postoperative thoracic pain, stiffness and/or breathing impairment after standardized oesophagus resection were given 10 sessions of osteopathic treatment of 45 min. Expiratory vital capacity, thorax mobility, pain experience, and subjective perception of treatment were measured on three occasions during each phase. The two-standard deviation band method was used to indicate significant change. Results A significantly increased range of motion in the thorax was observed in thoracic excursion and in lateral flexion. A positive change in pain was also noted. The results in expiratory vital capacity were contradictory. The participants were generally positive toward the treatment given. Conclusion Osteopathic intervention may affect thoracic impairment and pain among people with chronic pain and impaired thoracic range of motion after thoracoabdominal resection of the oesophagus.

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