Australia-first trial at Sutherland to help patients breathe

Breaking new ground: A trial at Sutherland Hospital will investigate ways that chiropractic and osteopathic treatment can help manage respiratory diseases. Picture: James Davies.

MEDICAL researchers and alternative therapists have joined forces in a groundbreaking clinical trial at Sutherland Hospital.

The trial is investigating ways chiropractic and osteopathic treatment can help manage respiratory diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Macquarie University researcher and chiropractor Roger Engel said it was the first trial of its type ever held in an Australian public hospital.

“In Australia, it is rare to see medical practitioners, chiropractors and osteopaths working together on a research project,” Dr Engel said.

Sutherland Hospital senior aged care physician Peter Gonski is part of the trial, which is being funded by St George and Sutherland Medical Research Foundation and the Chiropractors Association of Australia NSW branch.

The trial follows on from a pilot project at the hospital in 2011.

The pilot found chiropractic and osteopathic treatment of the chest wall could help improve lung function and exercise capacity in people with moderate to severe COPD.

The local health district recorded the third-highest rate of COPD in Sydney in 2011.

However, rates have been decreasing since 2008.

“We don’t know to what extent the state of the chest wall contributes towards the decline in lung function typically seen in COPD,” Dr Engel said.

“This research will give us a better idea of the relationship between the two.”

About 200 participants are being sought for the trial.

Information sessions about the trial and COPD will be held 6pm to 7pm on Monday and Wednesday afternoons at the hospital, starting Monday, May 25.

They are for people aged 50 to 65 who have, or suspect they may have, early signs of respiratory diseases.

Chiropractic is a health-care discipline using manipulation by hand to help the body self-regulate and heal.

Osteopaths focus on how the skeleton, joints, muscles, nerves and circulation work together to improve health and wellbeing.

Details: Dr Roger Engel, 9850 6387.

By Deborah Field – The St George & Sutherland Leader – May 23, 2015, 7:11 a.m.