Has your DO recommended Osteopathic Manipulative Therapy, but you’re not sure what that is? OR maybe you have been considering visiting a DO to see what they can do for a condition that you’ve been struggling with. Here’s everything you need to know to get you comfortable with OMT and the doctors who administer it.
What is a DO?
A DO is a doctor of osteopathic medicine, which is one of two distinct schools of medicine in the United States. Not only that but a DO must get an undergraduate degree followed by four years of medical school and at least three years of residency training.
What is Osteopathic Medicine?
Osteopathic medicine is a patient-focused approach to health care that considers every aspect of the patient, including physical, personal, and spiritual well-being. Understanding that the body is more than just a sum of its parts, osteopathic physicians (DOs) assist the patient’s innate capacity to heal by addressing the interrelationship of the body’s nerves, muscles, bones, and organs.
For any medical condition, DO’s approach the condition with the understanding that each person expresses health and disease differently and that the absence of disease does not necessarily equal health. In particular, DO’s are trained to recognize body structure changes that alter function, which may contribute to “dis-ease.”
What is Osteopathic Manipulative Therapy(OMT)?
In addition to treating medical conditions with medicine or surgery, DOs are trained in osteopathic manipulative treatment.
OMT is a therapeutic application of manual techniques by an osteopathic physician to address the changes in body structure to improve physiologic function. The physician uses techniques that move a patient’s muscles and joints, such as:
- Gentle pressure
- Forceful manipulation
All DOs learn OMT, which is a hands-on technique in medical school. Many DO’s use it in their practice alongside other treatments, such as medication, surgery, and lifestyle changes.
Who Can Benefit from OMT?
Anyone can benefit from Osteopathic Manipulative Therapy. Even newborns and seniors can benefit from osteopathic manipulative therapy.
What Does OMT Treat?
Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment (OMT) aims to treat muscles and joints to relieve pain, promote healing, and increase overall mobility. Also, using OMT on muscles, joints, and other tissues allows the body to achieve a state of health more quickly and easily. Although OMT is used to treat muscle pain, it can also provide relief for:
- Sinus disorders
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
It can also assist with a wide range of clinical conditions, from shortening hospital recovery time to alleviating pain, improving childhood asthma and infant colic.
We have also seen OMT relieve a vast number of other health problems, including:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Ear and sinus disorders
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Menstrual pain
- Low back pain
Just about any person of any age with any condition can get OMT. The beauty of OMT is that the doctor can adjust it to fit the patient’s individual needs. For instance, someone with a joint or bone condition, such as arthritis or osteoporosis, may need a gentler form of OMT.
How Does Osteopathic Manipulative Therapy Work?
One of the underlying concepts of osteopathic medicine is the idea that restrictions and tightness in your muscles and nerves can be caused by or lead to other problems. This is why a doctor of osteopathic medicine is trained to use their hands to gently move your joints and tissues. The adjustments correct any restrictions in your range of motion.
What Does OMT Feel Like?
The light pressure, resistance, and stretching that your doctor will apply should not hurt. OMT includes 40 different techniques, including:
- Soft tissue: Your DO gently stretches and puts pressure on your muscles.
- Muscle energy: You move your muscles in a specific direction while the doctor counters your movement in a push-pull scenario.
- Myofascial release: Fascia is the layer of connective tissue surrounding your muscles, bones, and organs. Your doctor uses firm but gentle pressure to release tension in the fascia.
- Osteopathic cranial manipulative medicine: Your doctor applies soft pressure to your skull to stimulate healing.
Your osteopath may also use sharp movements, known as high-velocity thrusts, to the spine. These thrusts produce a “cracking” noise similar to clicking your knuckles. Although this may be a little unnerving at first, it does not hurt.
Can OMT Fix Everything?
Although OMT is a very effective treatment for many conditions, some cases require additional interventions or treatments, including medicine or surgery.
What is the Difference Between OMT and Chiropractic Manipulation?
Although they appear to be very similar, there are some subtle differences. The predominant difference is that Chiropractors mainly focus on the spine, whereas Osteopathic where doctors take a more holistic approach and concentrate on the whole body. Osteopaths also tend to treat a broader range of ailments, including respiratory and digestive problems. Doctors of Chiropractic and osteopathic physicians also differ in the focus of the movements they perform to provide care. Chiropractors use a wider range of techniques for manipulating the spine. Doctors who practice OMT use a more comprehensive range of techniques.
Another difference between OMT and Chiropractic involves the number of visits it takes to experience relief from the treatment. OMT sessions are longer and typically provide relief in three visits or less. Other differences in care include examination methods used to establish a treatment plan. Chiropractors usually use x-rays for diagnosis, whereas OMT relies upon diagnostic methods that minimize your radiation exposure.
We Can Help!
There’s no reason that you can’t feel better and enjoy optimal health! At Phoenix Integrative Medical Center, we incorporate conventional medicine modalities with Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment to provide you with the most comprehensive medical care to promote overall health and well-being.
Above all, if you’ve been struggling or suffering from your condition with little hope, we can help. We’ve seen OMT change people’s lives. If you are ready for relief, call us for an appointment today!
We will then:
- Assess your specific situation
- Help better educate you about healthy lifestyle choices and possible treatment options
- Create a treatment plan customized just for you