The clinical effects of manipulative therapy in people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Jayde Galletti, George McHeileh, Andrew Hahne, Annemarie Louise Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: This study aimed to determine the effects of manipulative therapies (MT), including spinal manipulation, and diaphragmatic release techniques on lung function, exercise capacity, symptoms, and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Design: Systematic review. Participants: People diagnosed with COPD. Intervention: Randomized controlled trials of MT (either with or without pulmonary rehabilitation [PR]) compared to other treatments (soft tissue [ST] therapy or sham therapy) applied in people with COPD were identified following the search of seven databases. Two reviewers independently assessed study quality and extracted data. Outcome measures: Lung function, exercise capacity, symptoms, and HRQOL. Results: Four studies were included, with a total of 68 participants. The heterogeneity between treatments prevented meta-analysis. There was no beneficial effect on spirometry measures of lung function with MT. MT combined with PR improved exercise capacity by 48-49 m more than ST therapy plus PR. Less dyspnea was reported with MT and ST therapy compared to ST therapy alone (p = 0.01), but there was no effect on HRQOL, or symptoms of anxiety or depression. Conclusions: In people with COPD, MT (either with or without PR) improved functional exercise capacity, but had no effect on lung function, or HRQOL. Further research is required to determine the underlying mechanism of this treatment approach and its relationship to exercise capacity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)677-683
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2018


  • chronic disease
  • exercise
  • manipulative therapy
  • physical therapy
  • pulmonary
  • spinal manipulation
  • systematic review

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