A Literature Review of Osteopathic Manipulative Techniques for Otalgia

  • Tom Lindsey, DO, FACOS Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine-Carolinas
  • Ryan Lawson, OMS II Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine-Carolinas
  • Franklin Hiffernan, OMS II Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine-Carolinas


Otalgia is a common painful condition of the ear that can stem from multiple etiologies, including, but not limited to infectious, mechanical or inflammatory conditions. The intricate anatomy of the ear and eustachian tube offer numerous avenues for pathophysiology to manifest. While the precise mechanism of otalgia has not been entirely elucidated, it is widely accepted that pressure is one common denominator. A potential source of pressure variations within the middle ear relies on pathology of the eustachian tube, making it a target for treatment with Osteopathic manipulative techniques (OMT). OMT offers mechanical solutions to mechanical problems within this complex anatomic system. With this literature review we have three goals: first, to provide an in-depth review of the existing Osteopathic manipulative techniques to treat otalgia; second, to present a case report of a novel Osteopathic manipulative technique for otalgia; and lastly, to encourage further data driven research for the use of OMT for otalgia.