The studies involved 60 women aged between 14 and 33. Only those who were diagnosed with primary dysmenorrhoea by their GP participated in the study.
Six osteopathic treatments over a period of three menstrual cycles were conducted on a group of women. At each treatment session, researchers tested dysfunctional structures and treated based on osteopathic principles. The average pain intensity (API) during menstruation decreased in the osteopathic group by 50%.
During the research the most frequent dysfunctions and pains were observed in the area of the pelvic floor, respiratory diaphragm and lumbar spine.
Pain is considered to be a normal symptom during periods, however excessive period pain is called dysmenorrhoea and is considered to be abnormal.
Primary dysmenorrhoea refers to painful periods in the absence of any underlying pathology, while secondary dysmenorrhoea is painful menstruation associated with a pelvic pathology, such as endometriosis . Dysmenorrhoea is a very common problem and can occur in up to 50% of women. Several studies suggest that severe period pain is associated with absence from school or work and restricts other activities of daily life.
A study of 1000 girls aged 16-18 years in Canberra found that 21% of the girls had severe pain with periods and 26% had missed school because of period symptoms .
Primary dysmenorrhoea is commonly treated by simple analgesic, however pain relief may be inadequate for some women, or side effects may not be well tolerated.
Studies suggest that between 30-50 percent of the adult population use some form of complementary medicine including osteopathic treatments – a combination of traditional methods and modern scientific philosophies.
An osteopath will make sure that there are no restrictions in the movement within the joints of the spine and pelvis, which can lead to period pain, release any tension from the muscles of the spine, pelvic floor and pelvis, which in turn will improve the blood and nerve supply to the organs. They can also treat any muscular restriction of the uterine walls so as to help reduce cramping.
Osteopaths can also help to prepare exercise and stretching programs, and provide advice on posture and stress management for improved general health and wellbeing
[originally posted on CNN iReports: http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-1235595]