June 8, 2010 — Over the last few years, researchers at the Bournemouth-based Anglo-European College of Chiropractic (AECC) have been developing a specialist x-ray method called OSMIA (short for Objective Spinal Motion Imaging Assessment). OSMIA enables clinicians to get a greater understanding of persistent and recurring back and neck problems, which affect their patients.
OSMIA is the world’s first fluoroscopic technique capable of measuring continuous spinal segmental motion. It operates by a patient lying on a table, which is jointed in the middle. This slowly swings the legs and pelvis from side to side, with up to 300 images of the spine recorded in one session. This makes it possible for the mechanics of spinal pain to be measured.
The AECC became the first healthcare organisation in Europe to use OSMIA in its clinic in March 2009. The development of the AECC’s OSMIA machine was made possible through a grant of £183,000 from the NHS and the equipment was constructed by Siemens and Atlas Clinical Ltd.
The target for the AECC is for its OSMIA device to be rolled out globally and across the NHS in the UK. Following an international meeting between the AECC and clinics in the USA and Hong Kong that use the device in the summer of 2009, a uniform approach for its usage has been agreed. This means that the mechanics of the spine can have an international standard.
The AECC’s commercial partner Ortho Kenematics is placing OSMIA in a number of American hospitals and it is hoped similar success can be achieved in the UK.
OSMIA allows clinicians to measure the motion between spinal segments and visualise their ability to withstand day-to-day stress. This is important in terms of choosing the best course of future treatment and to offer patients advice on their lifestyles, whilst living with or recovering from serious musculoskeletal disorders.
Another major benefit is in assessing whether there is any mechanical abnormality in individual cases, so that the time and expense of unnecessary mechanical treatments can be avoided.
The AECC has entered OSMIA into the Times Higher Education Awards’ Outstanding Contribution to Innovation and Technology category for 2010 as it addresses the fundamental basis of mechanical spinal pain diagnosis from spinal fusion to whiplash injury in the neck.
Alan Breen, Professor of Musculoskeletal Health Care at the AECC and Director of the IMRCI commented:
“We continue to support our commercial partner who is placing systems in hospitals in the US, while we investigate the importance of mechanics in back and neck pain in non-surgical populations. This is so that all patients who are not recovering can be referred so that treatment, whether by exercise, physical therapy, work modification or surgery, can be better targeted. Most NHS hospitals have the kind of X-ray machines that our technology requires, so with little modification, its benefits could very quickly become available to all, once the appropriate regulatory approvals are obtained.”
Source: Anglo-European College of Chiropractic, www.aecc.ac.uk