Article in Stern: After Covid-19: Osteopaths want to alleviate olfactory disorders with a new therapy approach
Olfactory disorders

Article in Stern: After Covid-19: Osteopaths want to alleviate olfactory disorders with a new therapy approach

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As written in the Stern article, osteopath Dr Oliver Wirtz reported that osteopathic approaches could alleviate olfactory disorders after Covid-19. 

First of all, it is certainly an interesting question whether osteopathy can help with Long Covid-19. Personal experience of successful treatments by individual osteopaths is the first step. That is why I am pleased about Wirtz's positive treatment successes and the reporting on them. 

 

It is now necessary to investigate in studies whether these individual experiences are only anecdotal or whether osteopaths can actually make a contribution in the treatment of Long Covid.

 

Wirtz's finding that the olfactory disorder is mainly due to tension in the dural system is, in my opinion, too reductionist. Perhaps - by mistake - much more was "treated" with the hands than was originally consciously thought. Many mechanisms of action are still far from being conclusively investigated. 

In my view, in addition to dural treatment as recommended by Wirtz, mobilisation of the lamina cribrosa in the ethmoid bone, treatment of the entire nasal region, lubrication of the olfactory nerve (Liem 2020), arterial supply to the nose and lymphatic treatment of the nasal region, deep neck, brain and head (Liem 2017, Drainage of the brain) and, depending on the patient, further osteopathic interventions take place. This is how it was treated in our practice and I had good success with olfactory disorders after covid disease. However, this working hypothesis would also need further scientific investigation.

 

It may well be that osteopathy, as part of a multidisciplinary treatment, can make its contribution to Long-Covid, as also postulated in a publication by Marin et al. 2021, 2022), calling for further biological and clinical research.

On the other hand, we should not make exaggerated claims about treatment success at this stage. 

The following mistakes should be avoided: Misinterpretation, cherry-picking of information in narrative reviews, and lack of methodological rigour as, for example. Draper-Rodi et al. (2021) write in relation to publications on osteopathic treatment of Covid-19.

 

About 50 million people died from the Spanish flu (influenza) at the beginning of the 20th century. 2,445 osteopaths treated 110,122 influenza patients with osteopathic manipulative therapy (OMT) at that time. These showed significantly lower morbidity and mortality rates compared to patients treated with standard medical care at the time. Although these results should be taken with a grain of salt, as scientific standards at the time were deficient in standardising research methods and criteria, I believe there would have been sufficient I believe there would have been sufficient evidence to suggest that osteopathy could also help in the treatment of covid-19 to warrant investigation of this assumption. (Baroni et al. 2021, see LiemHealthBlog, Liem 2020 (Article), Stenta et al 2020, Martinez, Reddig 2020, Thibault et al 2020) (see LiemHealthBlog)

This could have been studied especially during the time when vaccines were not yet available, which unfortunately did not happen, not even in the USA where many osteopaths work in hospitals. 

Baroni F, Mancini D, Tuscano SC, et al. Osteopathic manipulative treatment and the Spanish flu: a historical literature review. J Osteopath Med. 2021;121(2):181-190

Draper-Rodi J, Vaucher P, Thomson OP. The importance of rigour in the reporting of evidence for osteopathic care in Covid-19 papers. Explore (NY). 2021;17(3):184-185.

Liem T. OMT in the treatment of infectious diseases in the early 20th century: with notes from current research and treatment modalities, Osteopathic Medicine 2020; 21 (2), 4-9.

Liem T. Praxis der Kraniosakralen Osteopathie, 2020; 4th revised and ed. edition, Thieme, Stuttgart.

Liem T. Update on drainage of the brain and osteopathic treatment approaches, Osteopathic Medicine 2017; 18 (2), 22-27. 

Marin T, Maxel X, Robin A, Stubbe L. Evidence-based assessment of potential therapeutic effects of adjunct osteopathic medicine for multidisciplinary care of acute and convalescent COVID-19 patients. Explore (NY). 2021;17(2):141-147.

Marin T, Maxel X, Robin A, Stubbe L. Evidence-based assessment of potential therapeutic effects of adjunct osteopathic medicine for multidisciplinary care of acute and convalescent COVID-19 patients. Explore (NY). 2021 Mar-Apr;17(2):141-147. 

Martinez E, Redding D. Osteopathic Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2020 Jul 13. 

Stenta ME. Buying Time: Using OMM to Potentially Reduce the Demand for Mechanical Ventilation in Patients With COVID-19. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2020 May 18.



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