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About Osteopathic Medicine

Definition

Osteopathic medicine is a complete system of medical care with a philosophy that combines the needs of the patient with current practice of medicine, surgery and obstetrics, an emphasis on the interrelationships between structure and function, and an appreciation of the body's ability to heal itself.

Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (OMM)

This is a relatively new specialty field within the Osteopathic profession. All osteopathic physicians are trained to use Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment (OMT) as a procedure to improve the health and well being of their patients. Patients with structural complaints, musculoskeletal injuries, and other illnesses which are, either directly or indirectly, effected by the neuromusculoskeletal system may benefit from an evaluation and, if indicated, treatment, by a physician familiar with Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine. Depending on the complexity of the case and the experience of the treating physician, DO's, and MD's, as well as chiropractors, naturopaths, and physical therapists, refer patients to OMM specialists.

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Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment (OMT)

OMT is a procedure that involves a form of manual treatment applied by a physician to eliminate or alleviate somatic dysfunction and related disorders. Treatment may be accomplished using a variety of approaches including Counterstrain, Cranial, Muscle Energy, Myofascial Release (MFR) and High Velocity-Low Amplitude (HVLA) thrust, among others. The Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine specialist physician is skilled in a broad spectrum of manipulative procedures for the treatment of neuromusculoskeletal (somatic) dysfunction.

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Indications

Consultation and treatment by a physician doing Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine is appropriate is cases of joint motion restrictions and abnormalities, range of motion restrictions, tissue swelling, muscle spasm, bony asymmetry, pain secondary to injury or repetitive motion or failure to significantly improve after 2-4 weeks of physical therapy or other forms of manipulation.

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Contraindications

There are no absolute contraindications to Osteopathic manipulation, although the OMM specialist may choose not to use certain procedures in some patients. For example, the more forceful high-velocity/low amplitude thrust procedures may not be appropriate for a patient with moderate to severe osteoporosis, however, the Counterstrain or Myofascial Release procedures may be used with little or no risk to treat the same patient.

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Adverse Reactions

Occasionally, patients report a mild post-treatment reaction, The reaction may last 24-48 hours, and includes muscle soreness usually relieved by rest, warm bath, and mild anti-inflammatory or analgesic medication. It is usually a sign that the treatment was effective.

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Dosage

A course of 2-4 visits, usually spaced a week apart, is sufficient to determine if the patient will benefit from Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment or not.

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