Medical news
of the North Caucasus
Scientific journal
Mass media registration certificate dated December 7, 2006.
Series ПИ #ФС 77-26521.
Federal service for surveillance over non-violation of the legislation in the sphere of mass communications and protection of cultural heritage.
ISSN 2073-8137

Site search

Correspondence address
310 Mira Street, Stavropol, Russia, 355017

+7 8652 352524; +7 8652 353229.

+7 8652 352524.


The phenomenon of somatic dysfunction and the mechanisms of osteopathic treatment

Yulia Potekhina; Elena Tregubova; Dmitry Mokhov;

Osteopathy is a relatively new medical specialty for Russia, which does not use pharmaceuticals, but uses only manual techniques and approaches. The scientific justification of the results of osteopathic diagnostics and the proof of the effectiveness of osteopathic treatment cause a large number of questions among doctors and patients. A specific feature of osteopathic diagnostics is the identification of the phenomenon of somatic dysfunction. Somatic dysfunction is a functional disorder, which manifests itself by changes in the biomechanical characteristics of tissues, impaired blood and lymph circulation, impaired production and transmission of endogenous rhythms, and impaired nervous regulation. Numerous clinical and experimental studies have shown that osteopathic treatment normalizes the muscle tone, and improves joint and spinal mobility. It has an analgesic effect because it influences the peripheral and central parts of the nociceptive system and activates the antinociceptive system. osteopathic treatment activates the lymph flow and mobilizes leukocytes, which is very important in the treatment of edema of diverse origin and infectious diseases. Osteopathic treatment is safe, it reduces drug load, goes well with other methods of treatment and expands the arsenal of clinical medicine. All these facts allowed osteopathic treatment to take a worthy place in the system of medical care for the population.


1. Kuzmina Yu. O., Potekhina Yu. P., Tregubova E. S., Mokhova E. S. Possibilities of osteopathic correction of functional disorders in children. Pediatriya. – Pediatrics. 2017;8(6):17-23. (In Russ.). https://doi.org/10.17816/PED8617-23
2. Fuller D., Hartman C, ed. Osteopathie und Swedenborg: Swedenborgs Einfluss auf die Entstehung der Osteopathie, im Besonderen auf A. T. Still und W. G. Sutherland. Pähl. Germany: Jolandos, 2015.
3. Liem T. A. T. Still’s Osteopathic Lesion Theory and Evidence-Based Models Supporting the Emerged Concept of Somatic Dysfunction. J. Am. Osteopath. Ass. 2016;116:654-661. https://doi.org/10.7556/jaoa.2016.129
4. Patterson M. M., Wurster R. D. Somatic dysfunction, spinal facilitation, and viscerosomatic integration. In: Chila AG, editor. Foundations of osteopathic medicine. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott William & Wilkins, 2011. 5. Fryer G. Somatic dysfunction: An osteopathic conundrum. Internation. J. Osteopath. Med. 2016;22:52-63. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijosm.2016.02.002
6. Potekhina Yu. P. Role of connective tissue in the body. Rossysky osteopatichesky zhurnal. – Russian Osteopathic Journal. 2015;3-4 (30-31):92-104. (In Russ.).
7. Tozzi P. A unifying neuro-fasciagenic model of somatic dysfunction – Underlying mechanisms and treatment – Part II. J. Bodyw. Mov. Ther. 2015;19(3):526-543. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbmt.2015.03.002
8. Tozzi P. Selected fascial aspects of osteopathic practice. J. Bodyw. Mov. Ther. 2012;16(4):503-519. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbmt.2012.02.003
9. Findley T. W., Shalwala M. Fascia research congress evidence from the 100 year perspective of Andrew Taylor still. J. Bodyw. Mov. Ther. 2013;17(3):356-364. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbmt.2013.05.015
10. Licciardone J. C., Kearns C. M., King H. H., Seffinger M. A., Crow W. T. [et al.]. Somatic dysfunction and use of osteopathic manual treatment techniques during ambulatory medical care visits: a CONCORD-PBRN study. J. Am. Osteopath. Assoc. 2014;114(5):344-354. https://doi.org/10.7556/jaoa.2014.072
11. Yashuda T., Kondo S., Homma T., Harris R. C. Regulation of extracellular matrix by mechanical stress in rat glomerular mesangial cells. J. Clin. Invest. 1996;98:1991-2000.
12. Tomasek J. J., Gabbiani G., Hinz B., Chaponnier C., Brown R. A. Myofibroblasts and mechano-regulation of connective tissue remodelling. Nat. Rev. Mol. Cell Biol. 2002;3(5):349-363. https://doi.org/10.1038/nrm809
13. Serov V. V., Shekhter A. B. Soedinitel’naja tkan’ (funkcional’naja morfologija I obshhaja patologija). M.: Medicina, 1981. (In Russ.).
14. Kadagidze Z. G. Cytokines. Prakticheskaya onkologiya. – Practical oncology. 2003;4(3):131-139. (In Russ.).
15. Chernigovskij V. N. Interocepcija. L.: Nauka, 1985. (In Russ.).
16. Toth C. Peripheral and Central sensitization. In: Neuropathic Pain: Causes, Management, and Understanding. C. Toth, D. E. Moulin, Eds. Cambridge University Press, 2013.
17. Denslow J. S., Korr I. M., Krems A. D. Quantitative studies of chronic facilitation in human motorneuron pools. Am. J. Physiol. 1947;150:229-238.
18. Cicchitti L., Martelli M., Cerritelli F. Chronic inflammatory disease and osteopathy: a systematic review. PLoS One. 2015;10(3):e0121327.
19. Potekhina Yu. P., Mokhov D. E., Tregubova E. S. Physiological substantiation of cranial rhythm. Part 2. Manualnaya terapiya. – Manual Therapy. 2016;1(61):38-44. (In Russ.).
20. Benchmarks for Training in Traditional/Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Benchmarks for Training in Osteopathy. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization, 2010.
21. Szlezak A. M., Georgilopoulos P., Bullock-Saxton J. E., Steele M. C. The immediate effect of unilateral lumbar Z-joint mobilisation on posterior chain neurodynamics: arandomised controlled study. J. Man. Ther. 2011;16(6):609-613. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.math.2011.06.004
22. Samukawa M., Hattori M., Sugama N., Takeda N. The effects of dynamic stretching on plantar flexor muscle tendon tissue properties. J. Man. Ther. 2011;16(6):618-622. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.math.2011.07.003
23. Sefton J. M., Yarar-Fisher C., Carpenter D. M., Berry J. Physiological and clinical changes after therapeutic massage of the neck and shoulders. J. Man. Ther. 2011;16(5):487-494. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.math.2011.04.002
24. Martins W. R., Blasczyk J. C., Furlan de Oliveira M. A., Gonçalves K. F. L., Bonini-Rocha A. C. [et al.]. Efficacy of musculoskeletal manual approach in the treatment of temporomandibular joint disorder: A systematic review with meta-analysis. J. Man. Ther. 2016;21:10-17. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.math.2015.06.009
25. Dudin A. V., Tueva I. D., Belash V. O. Evaluation of the effectiveness of osteopathic methods of correction in combined therapy of pseudobulbar dysarthria in children of preschool age. Rossysky osteopatichesky zhurnal. – Russian Osteopathic Journal. 2017;1-2 (36-37):53-60. (In Russ.).
26. Kuznecova E. L, Gul’kevich O. S. Dizartricheskie projavlenija zaderzhki predrechevogo razvitija detej pervogo goda zhizni, svjazannye s rodovoj travmoj kraniovertebral’nogo perehoda. Rossysky osteopatichesky zhurnal. – Russian Osteopathic Journal. 2014;1-2(24-25):29-36. (In Russ.).
27. Potekhina Yu. P., Timanin E. M., Kantinov A. E. Viscoelastic properties of tissues and changes in them after osteopathic correction. Rossysky osteopatichesky zhurnal. – Russian Osteopathic Journal. 2018;1-2 (40-41):38-45. (In Russ.).
28. Franke H., Franke J. D., Fryer G. Osteopathic manipulative treatment for nonspecific low back pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Musculoskelet. Disord. 2014;15(1):286. https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2474-15-286
29. Licciardone J. C., Brimhall A. K., King L. N. Osteopathic manipulative treatment for low back pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. BMC Musculoskelet. Disord. 2005;4(6):43. https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2474-6-43
30. Licciardone J. C., Minotti D. E., Gatchel R. J., Kearns C. M., Singh K. P. Osteopathic manual treatment and ultrasound therapy for chronic low back pain: a randomized controlled trial. Ann. Fam. Med. 2013;11(2):122-129. https://doi.org/10.1370/afm.1468
31. McReynolds T. M., Sheridan B. J. Intramuscular Ketorolac Versus Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment in the Management of Acute Neck Pain in the Emergency Department: A Randomized Clinical Trial. J. Am. Osteopath. Assoc. 2005;105(2):57-68.
32. Licciardone J. C., Kearns C. M., Hodge L. M., Bergamini M. V. Associations of cytokine concentrations with key osteopathic lesions and clinical outcomes in patients with nonspecific chronic low back pain: results from the osteopathic trial. J. Am. Osteopath. Assoc. 2012;112(9):596-605.
33. Teodorczyk-Injeyan J. A., Injeyan H. S., Ruegg R. Spinal manipulative therapy reduces inflammatory cytokines but not substance P production in normal subjects. J. Manipulative Physiol. Ther. 2006;29(1):14–21. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jmpt.2005.10.002
34. Schander A., Downey H. F., Hodge L. M. Lymphatic pump manipulation mobilizes inflammatory mediators into lymphatic circulation. Exp. Biol. Med. (Maywood). 2012;237:58-63.
35. Walkowski S., Singh M., Puertas J., Pate M., Goodrum K., Benencia F. Osteopathic manipulative therapy induces early plasma cytokine release and mobilization of a population of blood dendritic cells. PLoS One. 2014;9(3):1-12.
36. Coppola G., Di Lorenzo C., Schoenen J., Pierelli F. Habituation and sensitization in primary headaches. J. Headache Pain. 2013;14:65.
37. Cerritelli F., Ginevri L., Messi G., Caprari E., Di Vincenzo M. [et al.]. Clinical effectiveness of osteopathic treatment in chronic migraine: 3-armed randomized controlled trial. Complement. Ther. Med. 2015;23(2):149-156.
38. Ruffini N., D’Alessandro G., Mariani N., Pollastrelli A., Cardinali L., Cerritelli F. Variations of high frequency parameter of heart rate variability following osteopathic manipulative treatment in healthy subjects compared to control group and sham therapy: randomized controlled trial. Front. Neurosci. 2015;9:260-265.
39. Giles P. D., Hensel K. L., Pacchia C. F., Smith M. L. Suboccipital decompression enhances heart rate variability indices of cardiac control in healthy subjects. J. Altern. Complement. Med. 2013;19:92-96.
40. Kal’jurand M. T., Loginova E. V., Potehina Yu. P. Dinamika funkcional’nogo sostojanija organizma u detej s zaderzhkoj psihicheskogo razvitija pod vlijaniem osteopaticheskogo lechenija (po spektral’nym pokazateljam variabel’nosti serdechnogo ritma). Rossysky osteopatichesky zhurnal. – Russian Osteopathic Journal. 2016;3-4(34-35):69-76. (In Russ.).
41. Degenhardt B. F., Darmani N. A., Johnson J. C., Towns L. C., Rhodes D. C. [et al.]. Role of osteopathic manipulative treatment in altering pain biomarkers: a pilot study. J. Am. Osteopath. Assoc. 2007;107:387-400.
42. McPartland J. M., Giuffrida A., King J., Skinner E., Scotter J., Musty R. E. Cannabimimetic effects of osteopathic manipulative treatment. J. Am. Osteopath. Assoc. 2005;105:283-291.
43. Ernst E. Craniosacral therapy: A systematic review of the clinical evidence. Focus on Alternative and Complementary Therapies. 2012;17(4):197-201. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.2042-7166.2012.01174
44. Mulcahy J., Vaughan B. Sensations Experienced and Patients’ Perceptions of Osteopathy in the Cranial Field Treatment. Evidence-Based Complementary and
Alternative Medicine. 2014;19(4):235-246. https://doi.org/10.1177/2156587214534263
45. Miana L., Hugo do Vale Bastos V., Machado S., AriasCarrión O., Nardi A. E. [et al.]. Changes in alpha band activity associated with application of the compression of fourth ventricular (CV-4) osteopathic procedure: a qEEG pilot study. J. Bodyw. Mov. Ther. 2013;17(3):291-296. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbmt.2012.10.002
46. Martins W. R., Diniz L. R., Blasczyk J. C., Lagoa K. F., Thomaz S. [et al.]. Immediate changes in electroencephalography activity in individuals with nonspecific chronic low back pain after cranial osteopathic manipulative treatment: Study protocol of a randomized, controlled crossover trial. BMC Complement. Alternat. Med. 2015;15(1):223. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12906-015-0732-2
47. Ljutina T. I., Kuznecova E. L. Jeffektivnost’ osteopaticheskogo lechenija gipertenzionno-gidrocefal’nogo sindroma u detej rannego vozrasta. Rossysky osteopatichesky zhurnal. – Russian Osteopathic Journal. 2015;1-2(28-29):7-14. (In Russ.).
48. Kuznecova E. L., Gul’kevich O. S. Dizartricheskie projavlenija zaderzhki predrechevogo razvitija detej pervogo goda zhizni, svjazannye s rodovoj travmoj kraniovertebral’nogo perehoda. Rossysky osteopatichesky zhurnal. – Russian Osteopathic Journal. 2014;1-2(24- 25):29-36. (In Russ.).
49. Degenhardt B. F., Kuchera M. L. Update on osteopathic medical concepts and the lymphatic system. J. Am. Osteopath. Assoc. 1996;96(2):97-100.
50. Dery M. A., Yonuschot G., Winterson B. The effects of manually applied intermittent pulsation pressure to rat ventral thorax on lymph transport. J. Lymphology. 2000;33(2):58-61.
51. Schander A., Padro D., King H. H., Downey H. F., Hodge L. M. Lymphatic pump treatment repeatedly enhances the lymphatic and immune systems. Lymphat. Res. Biol. 2013;11:219-226. https://doi.org/10.1089/lrb.2012.0021

Keywords: osteopathic diagnostics, osteopathic treatment, somatic dysfunction, biomechanical characteristics of tissues, pain, joint mobility, cytokines, lymph flow

Stavropol State Medical Academy
Pyatigorsk State Research Institute of Balneotherapeutics
Pyatigorsk State Pharmaceutical Academy