Assessing Effectiveness of Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment on Lateral Spinal Curvatures Using 2D Morphometrics

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

First Advisor

Kerin M Claeson, PhD

Second Advisor

Lauren Noto Bell, DO

Third Advisor

Donald Allison, DO


Current diagnosis and treatment of lateral spinal curvatures requires relatively invasive techniques, such as radiography. Osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) is a unique set of techniques generally used as a minimally invasive complement to conventional treatments, which are applicable to treating lateral spinal curvatures. In the absence of radiographs, it is generally difficult to detect subtle differences in postural morphology. Therefore, the purpose of this pilot study was twofold. First, with the use of 4 7 cadaveric specimens, we sought to demonstrate that 2D geometric morphometrics, a landmark analysis widely used in comparative morphology studies, could identify external asymmetries that may be associated with lateral spinal curvatures. Second, we sought to determine whether a specific OMT protocol is an effective way to correct external asymmetries, as measured by 2D morphometrics and quality of life surveys. Here we show that geometric morphometrics is a valid technique to identify postural asymmetries and the shape changes affected by OMT. Furthermore, this system of analysis has the potential to be used as a noninvasive method of screening for lateral spinal curvatures, in lieu of radiographs. Additionally, we determined that practice identifying and tagging landmarks led to greater precision and accuracy, within both the cadaveric and the live subject models. Finally, our results demonstrate how individuals treated with OMT designed specifically to reduce lateral spinal curvatures experience statistically significant reduction in postural asymmetries associated with lateral spinal curvatures.

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