Accomplishments of AAOMPT

Legislative Advocacy

Component Manipulation Survey

The AAOMPT Practice Affairs, the Orthopaedic Section of the APTA, and APTA Government Affairs developed and distributed the Component Manipulation Survey in 1999 to appreciate national scope of the issues related to the legislative restriction on physical therapists practicing manipulation. The survey highlighted the initiatives and needs of the state chapters to protect and preserve physical therapy practice, including therapist’s right to utilize manual therapy/manipulative procedures in clinical practice.

APTA Manipulation Task Force

The APTA Manipulation Task Force was formed in 1999 to coordinate further the APTA/AAOMPT response to legislative challenges surrounding manual therapy/manipulative procedures in clinical practice. This task force included members from the AAOMPT, the Orthopaedic Section, Education Section, APTA Governmental Affairs, and the APTA Education department. The task force was successful in supporting OMPT practice for both state chapters and APTA, developing consistency in the AAOMPT and APTA documents, and enhancing the level of instruction in OMPT in professional education.

Manipulation Education Committee

The Manipulation Education Committee was organized as a subgroup of the APTA Manipulation Task Force in early 2003 to develop and initiate strategies to support and facilitate manipulation instruction in professional physical therapist education programs. It heightened awareness among academic and clinical faculty of legislative and regulatory issues associated with manipulation. The Manipulation Education Manual (MEM) was a broadly influential document developed by the Manipulation Education Committee.

Position Statements

The AAOMPT has passed 10 position statements starting in 1998 representing standards of practice in orthopedic manual physical therapy. The position statements are formally developed as a firmly held viewpoint from the Academy that addresses critical issues affecting orthopedic manual physical therapy practice.

  1. Position on Thrust Joint Manipulation Provided by Physical Therapists
    The APTA and AAOMPT collaborated to develop this white paper in 2009 that gave a historical overview of thrust joint manipulation and physical therapist education and practice. This document was critical for states in which chiropractors initiated legislative activities that implied that PTs are not adequately trained and therefore patients receiving thrust joint manipulation from a PT would be at risk. This paper presented the facts and research refuting this fallacy.
  2. Position on Procedures Performed Exclusively by Physical Therapists
    This position statement, most recently released on 10/26/2019, was developed to update AAOMPT’s previous position statements starting with the APTA’s 1998 position statement regarding direct interventions performed exclusively by physical therapists. These position papers have strived to distinguish procedures required to be performed by a physical therapist and procedures that could be delegated to paraprofessionals or others. These interventions include, but are not limited to, spinal and peripheral joint mobilization/manipulation and selective sharp debridement.
  3. Position on Continuing Education for Physical Therapist Assistants and Other Supportive Personnel
    Released in 2005, this topic was originally brought to attention with a position paper in 1998 highlighting specific support and opposition of continuing education topics. This included the opposition to the teaching of joint manipulation/mobilization to all supportive personnel, including physical therapist assistants. In 2005, in compliance and support with the APTA position on teaching and delegating mobilization/manipulation, AAOMPT accepted this current position.
  4. Position on Lifelong Learning
    In 2007, the AAOMPT released this position statement supporting the concepts of continued competence, lifelong learning, and ongoing professional development as identified in APTA Vision Statement for Physical Therapy 2020 (Vision 2020), the Standards of Practice for Physical Therapy, and the Code of Ethics. This paper, along with several other position statements in that same year, supported various components of professional practice.
  5. Referral for Profit and Physical Therapy Services Position
    Released on 10/20/2007, the AAOMPT position statement on Referral for Profit opposes the ownership of Physical Therapy services by physicians and any other referral for profit model that presents a conflict of interest for financial gain as a result of making the referral. This paper, along with several other position statements in that same year, supported various components of professional practice.
  6. Evidence-Based Practice Position
    This position paper, released on 10/20/2007, served to promote improved quality of care and patient/client outcomes. This paper, along with several other position statements in that same year, supported various components professional practice.
  7. Opposing Use of Degenerative Disc Disease as Diagnostic Term
    This position statement was released on 10/25/2019 to support the discontinuation of the use of degenerative disc disease as a diagnostic term. This position is based on evidence that supports age-related spinal changes are not linked to a disease, the negative consequences of misinformation that may lead to unnecessary invasive treatments, and the known effectiveness of early physical therapy intervention for patients with spinal pain.
  8. Dry Needling
    The position statement on Dry Needling was released on 10/17/2009 supporting that dry needling is within the scope of physical therapist practice. This position statement, along with Ultrasound Imaging, were positions discussed between the AAOMPT, APTA, and Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT) highlighting scope of practice issues and promoting advocacy for physical therapists.
  9. Ultrasound Imaging
    The position statement on Ultrasound Imaging was released on 10/17/2009 supporting that ultrasound imaging is within the scope of physical therapist practice. This position statement, along with Dry Needling, were positions discussed between the AAOMPT, APTA, and Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT) highlighting scope of practice issues and promoting advocacy for physical therapists.
  10. Position on Interprofessional Collaborative Practice
    Released on 11/7/2020, the Position on Interprofessional Collaborative Practice was developed to highlight the Academy’s efforts to value, support, and facilitate interprofessional collaborative practice in delivering effective and efficiency health care services.

Internal Affairs

Standards of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapy residency education

The AAOMPT educational standards developed by the AAOMPT Standards committee in the early 1990-‘s were the first standards for residency education. The AAOMPT Standards committee remains the responsible body for ensuring that the standard of OMPT education is met in all individuals who are granted the credential as a Fellow of AAOMPT. The standards were framed after the educational guidelines of IFOMPT and the first formal standards document was instrumental in the acceptance of the United States as a full voting member of IFOMPT in 1992. A formal standards document was revised last in 2008 including the scope and dimensions of OMPT practice and expected competencies.

Foundation of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapy (FOMPT)

FOMPT is a nonprofit organization formed in 2020 to implement philanthropic efforts to advance public and professional education, to accredit post-graduate training programs in orthopedic manual physical therapy, and to support and disseminate results of scientific and clinical research as these areas pertain to orthopedic manual physical therapy. The Foundation provides support and fiduciary oversight of the ACOMPTE.

Accreditation Council on Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapy Education (ACOMPTE)

In 2020, the AAOMPT, in response to the need for an accreditation agency for OMPT Fellowship programs aligned with the IFOMPT Standards, developed an accreditation agency (ACOMPTE). The Foundation for OMPT supported this agency. OMPT Fellowship programs can become accredited by ACOMPTE through either dual accreditation with ABPTRFE followed by ACOMPTE accreditation or ACOMPTE accreditation alone.

AAOMPT Conference

The first AAOMPT Conference was held in August 1995 in Las Vegas, Nevada, with over 100 physical therapists in attendance. The annual conference has taken place every year with the exception of 2012 to support the IFOMPT Congress in Quebec City, Canada. In 2020 the conference was held virtually in an online environment, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The annual AAOMPT conference offers high level educational opportunities integrated with OMPT research. The conference programming provides members with opportunities for developing relationships, mentorship, teaching, and research.



The International Federation of Orthopaedic Manipulative Therapists (IFOMPT) is a specialty subgroup of the World Confederation of Physical Therapy (WCPT) and is an organization of specialist physiotherapists/physical therapists with an internationally recognized post-graduate qualification in orthopedic manual physical therapy. The IFOMPT oversees OMPT at the international level in terms of educational standards, practice guidelines, etc. The AAOMPT is the United States’ member organization of IFOMPT and is recognized as such by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) and Academy of Orthopedic Physical Therapy (AOPT).

Academy of Orthopedic Physical Therapy (AOPT)

Previously known as the Orthopaedic Section of the APTA, the AOPT has worked collaboratively with the AAOMPT since the early 1990’s in many matters such as clinical research, practice issues, education, residency credentialing, and other legislative issues. Together, the AAOMPT and AOPT has developed the manipulation task force, the Manipulation Education Committee, and even held a joint conference around 1998. Between the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, the AOPT provided AAOMPT time on the program at CSM to promote AAOMPT initiatives and AAOMPT conference committee in return organized manual therapy programming at CSM for the AOPT. The AAOMPT remains an external organization of the AOPT (not a SIG) and continues to communicate regularly with an official liaison.

APTA Committee on Clinical Residency and Fellowship Program Credentialing

In 2001, a collaboration between the APTA, AAOMPT, and the Orthopedic Section created a formal APTA credentialing process for clinical residency programs to facilitate the growth in residency education. The AAOMPT Standards document, which included the foundational guideline from the DASP, serves as a guideline for the minimum didactic/theoretical, clinical mentoring, and examination requirements for the APTA credentialing of OMPT programs. Currently, one of five sitting members must be a content expert of OMPT and is the AAOMPT representative on the committee.

Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)

The AAOMPT and the APTA signed a memorandum of understanding in 2013 that formalized a collaborative relationship between the two organizations. The MOU highlighted APTA, through ABPTRFE, as the responsible party for accreditation of residency and fellowship programs and outlined the oversight of program compliance by AAOMPT, using IFOMPT Standards, within the process. This MOU was in place until 2017, until a new MOU was signed in 2018 that initiated a divide between standards for OMPT Fellowship and the creation of a new accreditation agency (ACOMPTE).


Academy News

The Academy News was the first official newsletter of AAOMPT. The first issue of Academy News was published in 1994 with membership chair/vice president Mike Rogers serving as editor. The Academy News ran until February 1996 when changed to Articulations.

Articulations Newsletter

The Articulations Newsletter started in February 1996 after changed from the Academy News. Its first co-editors were Jeff Yaver and John Gray. The President’s message, committee reports, and other Academy news also included a section called Clinical Pearls, which included member-submitted manual and/or therapeutic techniques. Members of the AAOMPT have access to the Articulations Newsletters between 2002 to 2014.

Hands On Newsletter

In 2010, the Hands On Newsletter was developed as a monthly email blast and is the current newsletter of the AAOMPT. The newsletter hosts the President’s message, updates from each committee, special news and/or celebrations, and research/educational/engagement opportunities.

Journal of Manual and Manipulative Therapy

The Journal of Manual and Manipulative Therapy (JMMT) was selected as the official Journal of the AAOMPT in October 1997. The JMMT is an international peer-reviewed journal dedicated to the publication of high quality original research in the fields of musculoskeletal care, manipulative therapy, clinical research, and therapeutic practice. Every member of AAOMPT has access to JMMT as part of their membership.

AAOMPT Podcast

The AAOMPT Podcast was started in November 2018 by its first hosts Stephen M. Shaffer, Kevin MacPherson, and Becca Catlin. The podcast has released over 70 podcasts interviewing clinical experts, researchers, advocates, educators, and other OMPT enthusiasts highlighting different topics, issues, and future aims of OMPT practice. The podcast is released bi-monthly and is available over multiple platforms.

Manipulation Education Manual

The Manipulation Education Manual (MEM) was developed in 2003 by the Manipulation Education Committee of the APTA Manipulation Task Force. The MEM is a resource for academic and clinical education faculty for curriculum planning around appropriate, evidence-based instruction in thrust manipulation. The MEM assisted in heightening awareness among faculty of the integral role professional education plays in legislative and regulatory challenges to manipulation practice. It was distributed to all physical therapist education programs.

AAOMPT International Monitoring Document

In 2014, the AAOMPT presented its first international monitoring report to the IFOMPT Standards Committee to comply with the process to ensure educational programs accepted by IFOMPT are satisfying educational standards and ensuring quality control and assurance in all recognized OMPT programs. The AAOMPT will present a report on a 3-yearly basis as required by the IFOMPT Standards Committee to remain in good practice.

Description of Advanced Specialty Practice

The Description of Advanced Specialty Practice (DASP) is a document written, revised, and published by the AAOMPT Standards Committee. The purpose of the DASP is to identify the clinical knowledge, judgment, and professional behaviors of a physical therapist who has achieved an advanced level of practice through orthopedic manual physical therapy fellowship education, post-professional degree work, and/or relevant clinical experience and course work. This is the basis for curriculum development and assessment of clinical manual therapy fellowship programs. Beginning as the Description of Advanced Clinical Practice (DACP) in 1998, its revision in 2018 is the most current document and was led by a special task force of AAOMPT members, an Advisory Panel of OMPT experts, and a survey of hundreds of OMPT practitioners.

Definition of Manual Therapy in Guide to Physical Therapy Practice

In 1999, the AAOMPT, in conjunction with the Orthopedic Section and APTA Department of Practice, developed an update of the definition for Manual Therapy in the Guide of Physical Therapist Practice. The DASP, formally DACP, was utilized as the foundation for the definition update. The definition of Manual Therapy techniques, which encompass mobilization/manipulation, are defined as “comprising a continuum of skilled passive movements to the joints and/or related soft tissues that are applied at varying speeds and amplitudes, including a small-amplitude and high-velocity therapeutic movement. This update in definition allowed for consistency between the AAOMPT DASP, “The Guide”, and CPT Coding.

Definition of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapy (Task Force 2020)

The 2020 AAOMPT Task Force on the Description of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapy was formed to develop a clear definition of OMPT. This clear definition is intended to focus on our identity and purpose as a subspecialty area within the specialty of orthopaedics/musculoskeletal care. The task force defined OMPT as “a systematic and structured approach to patient care. It is a subspecialty that utilizes skillfully prescribed hands-on manual therapy and advanced clinical reasoning, patient education, and individualized exercise therapy.”