Put simply, it’s the manual movement of joints and muscles to diagnose and treat illness. Osteopathic manipulative therapy is done by a physician, usually a doctor of osteopathic medicine. The goal is to treat the whole patient, not just the illness or injury. Osteopathic care focuses as much prevention as on curing medical problems.
The practice of osteopathic medicine was founded in 1874, but today is one of the fastest growing branches of medicine. Through osteopathic manipulative therapy, the doctor evaluates the whole system and works to restore normal functioning. It’s based on the idea that spinal column problems that affect nerves are at the heart of most disease processes.
They are both physicians that go through 4 years of undergraduate study, 4 years of medical school and 3 years of residency training to practice medicine. They simply prescribe to different schools of thought when it comes to treating patients, with the DO taking the mores hands-on approach.
There are different forms of osteopathic manipulative therapies available. The soft tissue technique involves applying pressure to the muscle around the spine with rhythmic stretching, deep muscle manipulation, and traction. The muscle energy technique, on the other hand, has the patient use muscles as the doctor applies counter force.
There’s also the thrust style which requires high-velocity force to restore a joint to full use. Finally, the counterstrain method calls for the patient to move away from a position that restricts motion to something that’s more comfortable.
Doctors of osteopathic medicine, or DOs, can treat any medical problem, but they use spinal manipulation to manage musculoskeletal disorders and chronic pain such as:
There may be some muscle soreness after a manipulation, but it’s temporary. Osteopathic manipulation is a clinically proven and safe treatment option that allows the doctor to get to the root of chronic pain.