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A Short Review of the Treatment of Headaches Using Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment


Purpose of Review

This review highlights the importance of osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) in headache sufferers. OMT is a viable option for patients who either do not wish to use pharmaceuticals or who have contraindications to pharmaceuticals. Patients with headaches that are refractory to other treatment options may also be candidates for OMT. Multiple headache etiologies are amenable to this non-invasive treatment option and they will be reviewed here. Although there are advantages to using this treatment method, there are also shortcomings in the literature, which will be discussed.

Recent Findings

Roughly 45 million Americans suffer from headaches every year. Many headache sufferers are unable to find relief through conventional treatment options. OMT is a useful non-invasive treatment option with little to no side effects. There are multiple headache types. Migraine, tension-type headache, combat-related events, post-traumatic headache, sinusitis, tooth extraction, concussions, and others have all shown benefit from OMT.


OMT is a non-invasive treatment option for individuals suffering from various types of headaches. This treatment option is tailored to the individual needs of the patient and is delivered by licensed and experienced osteopathic physicians. This review of literature also highlights where there is need for further research in the field.

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Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to John Whalen.

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Conflict of Interest

John Whalen, Sheldon Yao, and Adena Leder declare no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.

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Topical Collection on Hot Topics in Pain and Headache

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Whalen, J., Yao, S. & Leder, A. A Short Review of the Treatment of Headaches Using Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment. Curr Pain Headache Rep 22, 82 (2018).

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  • Headache
  • Migraine
  • Osteopathic manipulative treatment