Osteopathic Manipulative Therapy
Osteopathic physicians look at treating illness within the context of the whole person — mind, body and spirit. They are highly skilled in using their sense of touch to feel the patient’s living anatomy, which includes the flow of fluids, motion and texture of tissues and structural make-up. OMT is not a massage or a chiropractic adjustment; however, aspects of the treatment may resemble some of the methods of those two practices.
Most patients are treated lying down. OMT is gentle and requires very little effort from patients. The osteopathic physician manipulates the musculoskeletal region and joints using techniques such as stretching, massage, gentle pressure, heat, cold alcohol therapy and resistance. This promotes healthy movement and blood flow in the tissues and releases compressed bones and joints. Techniques used are specific to the patient’s diagnosis and condition. The DO then properly positions the area to help the body’s ability to regain normal tissue function.
Depending on the duration of the injury or dysfunction, several treatments may be required. OMT may be used alone or in combination with medication, physical therapy and exercise with each playing an important role in treating patients.
When is oMT Effective?
Treatments help with central healing and can be used for anything that restricts function. If you feel out of alignment, like something is “out of whack,” OMT may provide relief. It is often used to treat musculoskeletal pain but it can also help patients with carpal tunnel syndrome, tension headaches, menstrual pain and sports injuries.
People of all ages have found relief from pain as well as quicker healing time and improved mobility through OMT. If you have tried stretching, rest and anti-inflammatories and continue to experience discomfort, it may be beneficial to speak with your primary care physician about a referral to a DO.
Osteopathic physicians, or DOs, are licensed physicians with all of the education and privileges of allopathic physicians (MDs), authorized to perform surgery and prescribe medication. In addition to a medical degree and residency, DOs also receive extensive training in body structure, function and hands-on manipulation. DOs approach the body as a whole, looking for the cause of symptoms. They include the musculoskeletal system as an important structure in their practice. Osteopathic physicians treat symptoms by isolating the source of the problem, and removing the dysfunction by hands-on manipulation.
How is OMT Different from Chiropractic Care?
A doctor of chiropractic medicine (DC) and osteopathic physician (DO) both are medical professionals who treat patients with a focus on the musculoskeletal system, including the spine, joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments. However, a DC employs holistic forms of therapy and techniques for manipulating the spine. Chiropractic doctors believe that many health problems are related to imbalances in the musculoskeletal system, and they learn to perform adjustments to this system including popping discs back into a straight, natural alignment. They frequently treat chronic conditions to manage pain. Education requirements to be a DC include an undergraduate degree and four additional years of professional training.
DOs believe in treating the body as a whole and include the musculoskeletal system as an important structure in their practice. They also perform other types of medical treatment including surgery and prescribing medication. They typically deal with injury, illness or chronic conditions, and may use other specialties. Education requirements include an undergraduate degree, a doctorate degree in osteopathy and post graduate (residency) training.
History of OMT
Osteopathic medicine traces its official start to the year 1874 when Andrew Taylor Still, MD, founded the discipline. He pioneered the concept of wellness and recognized the importance of treating illness within the context of the whole body. Today, osteopathic medicine is among the fastest-growing sectors in health care. By 2020, it is projected that approximately 100,000 DOs will be practicing in the U.S., according to the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine
Who Can Benefit From OMT?
OMT can help people of all ages and backgrounds. The treatment can be used to ease pain, promote healing and increase overall mobility. OMT is often used to treat muscle pain. But it can also help patients with a number of other health problems such as:
- sinus disorders
- carpal tunnel syndrome
- menstrual pain
When appropriate, OMT can complement, and even replace, drugs or surgery. In this way, OMT brings an important dimension to standard medical care.
For more information on OMT visit http://www.osteopathic.org/osteopathic-health/treatment/Pages/default.aspx