Because I am a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.), I often get asked questions about Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (O.M.M.) also known as Osteopathic Manipulation or Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment (O.M.T.). As D.O’s, many of us practice Osteopathic Manipulation as an optional therapy for patients of ours who would like to try a non-pharmacologic therapeutic option.
Patients who are experiencing back pain, TMJ pain, side pain, an acute cold, or headaches are just a few of the types of patients who may experience benefits from Osteopathic Manipulation. By definition, Osteopathic Manipulation is done by a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, like me or an M.D. who has done specific training in the techniques, like Dr. Turshen. Through an in-depth understanding of the intricate relationship between asymmetries and imbalances of the body’s musculoskeletal system and the function of the body, we can make small adjustments in the spine, ligaments or musculature to help patients feel some immediate improvements.
For example, a patient came into my office because she was experiencing some vague but annoying pain in her right side. She was worried about kidney stones or lung cancer. When I examined her I found that she had a rib dysfunction - meaning one of her ribs was stuck in an awkward position causing her pain. I was able to adjust her rib through a variety of techniques (some cracking, but lots of other gentler techniques) to cause her pain to go away. She was in such awe of what I had done that she has bragged to all of her friends that her doctor could actually improve her pain in one visit!
Other injuries or asymmetries will require multiple visits. At Direct Doctors, Dr. Turshen and I include Osteopathic Manipulation as an optional therapy when clinically appropriate for all of our family practice patients. Next time you are suffering from an ailment and looking for some option to improve it outside of medications, look to your neighborhood D.O. or Osteopathic Manipulation-trained M.D. for potential relief. You may be an adjustment or two away from feeling much better!
Lauren Hedde, DO and Mark Turshen, MD are Family Physicians and Founders of Direct Doctors, Inc. a Direct Primary Care Practice.