National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)

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Systems Science Center for Musculoskeletal CAM Therapies

Principal Investigator: 
Jacek Cholewicki


Dept. of Surgical Specialties
HOM College of Osteopathic Medicine Michigan State University B405 West Fee Hall
East Lansing, MI 48824
United States


This center will study osteopathic manual therapy (OMT) for low back pain (LBP) patients. Our preliminary studies suggest that OMT improves postural control in patients with non-specific LBP, who exhibit such impairments when tested with an unstable sitting task. We hypothesize that OMT targets impaired or altered function of the neuro-musculoskeletal system arising from a dysfunction in the muscle spindles. Therefore, we will apply a systems science approach to identify elements of the postural control system that change with the use of OMT. Aims of the study include: optimizing critical tasks for assessing neuromuscular control; identifying deficits in postural control and document the effects of OMT on postural control; look separately and more specifically at the behavior of reflex responses and muscle spindles. When completed, this project will deliver sensitive and objective clinical research tools that can model postural control, assess control capabilities, and identify control impairments. These tools will be useful in future clinical studies for characterizing motor control impairments in LBP patients, for standardizing and optimizing CAM treatments aimed at neuro-musculo-skeletal disorders, and for monitoring treatment outcomes.