What can Osteopathic Manipulation do for YOU?

What can Osteopathic Manipulation do for YOU?

Osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) is the technique performed by a doctor of osteopathy (D.O.) to manually treat anatomic dysfunctions of muscles, bones, connective tissue, the circulatory, the lymphatic, and nervous systems. OMT has many applications, which can be used to treat disorders of multiple body systems (usually simultaneously). It can assist in the mobilization of fluids in the circulatory, lymphatic, and respiratory systems. More specifically, some conditions which could be treated are circulatory disorders (which involve our heart and blood vessels), lymphatic disorders (which involves our channel of vessels that circulate lymph), respiratory disorders (which involves our lungs and the muscles involved in breathing/respiration), musculoskeletal disorders (our muscles, bones, and their attachments), and disorders of the nervous system (involving our brain, spinal cord, and nerves). Some examples of conditions in which OMT can be helpful include musculoskeletal pain, myofascial pain, whiplash syndrome, post- concussive syndrome, sinus congestion, edema/lymphedema, and pulmonary congestion. Each system and treatment indication utilizes its own osteopathic techniques.

The osteopathic physician (D.O.) has received 2 years of training during medical school to recognize these dysfunctions and formulate an appropriate application of OMT using osteopathic principles. This training is in addition to the basic sciences of human anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, pathology, neuroanatomy, psychiatry, microbiology, histology, and others which are used in traditional medical treatments, i.e. the use of pharmacology and surgery for treatment.

The beauty of the OMT option is that it can be accomplished
1) in a short period of time,
2) in the office,
3) without the use of special equipment or medications.
All that is needed is an informed and consenting patient , a standard orthopedic exam table, and a trained Osteopath (D.O.). Furthermore, most treatment, if delivered appropriately and to the right patient with the right indication, can be performed risk free, i.e. negligible risk of injury to the patient. Now let’s look at a few examples of what OMT can do for you!

The musculoskeletal system and myofascial dysfunction are commonly treated by practitioners of OMT. The indications for OMT in these cases are muscle contractures, muscles sprains, limited range of motion or pain in certain joints, low and mid back pain, neck pain, rib dysfunctions, and whiplash, to name a few. OMT in these situations can not only improve or decrease pain, but can also improve one’s ability to perform activities of daily living and even improve athletic performance.

Tension headaches can be treated with osteopathic manipulation when applied to the contributing cranial (skull) and cervical (neck) musculature. Additionally, as mentioned earlier, whiplash injuries can also be alleviated through the correct application of OMT. It has also been reported that post-concussive syndrome can be treated (and even shortened) by the use of the craniosacral subtype of OMT. Personally, I have found good results with the patients I have treated with these conditions. Sinus congestion (in the absence of active infection) can also be alleviated with the use of osteopathic techniques applied correctly in the office.

Many people are troubled by edema (swelling or “fluid retention”) in their legs. This can also be found in the arms (and / or legs) in the case of lymphedema which can occur due to congestion or blockage of the lymphatic channels or after removal of lymph nodes for cancer surgery, tumor, or infection. Using a series of osteopathic techniques the lymphatic system can be assisted in the flow of lymph through coordinated muscle or thoracic pumping and coordinated breathing techniques performed by the OMT practitioner and the patient, respectively.

Finally, as the spouse of a beautiful mother and the father of two beautiful girls, I can tell you that musculoskeletal complaints during pregnancy can affect not only the quality of life of the pregnant mother, but also the supportive, loving, and very patient spouse. Common complaints during pregnancy include sciatica, low back pain, leg swelling,.and pelvic pain. Some of these can persist, specifically pelvic discomfort, even postpartum. These can be safely and carefully alleviated, or treated, with good results in the office when performed appropriately by a skilled practitioner of OMT.

To learn more about the many types of OMT which may be of benefit to you please visit ‪movewellfeelwell.net‬‬‬‬‬ or www.osteopathic.org.

I look forward to meeting you and helping you move well and feel well.



Some examples of Osteopathic Manipulative Treatments (OMT)



Range of Motion: movement of a body part to its physiologic or anatomic limit in any or all planes of motion

Goal of OMT: Is to maximize the physiologic barrier toward the anatomic barrier.

Osteopathic Techniques

Muscle Energy Counterstrain Myofascial Release Lymphatic Articulatory Cranio-Sacral HVLA (high velocity low amplitude) Muscle Energy: Manipulative treatment in which the patient’s muscles are actively used on request from a precisely controlled position, in a specific direction, and against a distinctly executed counterforce.

Example of Technique: The patient actively co-operates with the physician to contract a muscle or muscles, inhale or exhale, or move one bone of a joint in a specific direction relative to the adjacent bone.

Reason for Applying: Applied to strengthen weak muscles, activate inhibited muscles, and strengthen short, tight muscles.

Effect of Treatment: Mobilizes joints in which movement is restricted, stretches tight muscles and fascia, or fibrous tissue, that envelops the body beneath the skin, encloses muscles and groups of muscles, improves local circulation, and balances neuromuscular relationships to alter muscle tone and improve joint movement.


Counterstrain: Technique in which patient is placed in position of comfort, maintains the position for a period of time, then is assisted by the physician to slowly return to a neutral position.

Example of Technique: Patient is placed in position of comfort for 90 seconds, and then is slowly returned to a relaxed and neutral position.

Reason for Applying Applied to relieve the physical pain of patients suffering from “tender points”, to relieve referred pain from active trigger points and to normalize imbalances in the autonomic nervous system.

Effect of Treatment: Identifies tender points and positions the patient to eliminate the tenderness.


Myofascial Release: Also referred to as MFR, this procedure is designed to stretch and reflexly release patterned soft tissue and joint-related restrictions.

Example of Technique: Physician twists, shears, and compresses joints while simultaneously feeling tissue and joints for shifting tightness and looseness.

Reason for Applying: Applied to patients suffering from muscle tightness. Effect of Treatment: Joint-related movements are assessed and treated simultaneously. Joint and muscle movements are improved and pain is decreased.


Lymphatic Technique: This manual procedure is designed to promote circulation of the lymphatic fluids

Example of Technique: Pressure is applied with the physician’s hands to the supine (face up) patient’s upper anterior (front) chest wall. When the force applied to the chest reaches its maximum on expiration, the physician’s hands are removed suddenly. This increases negative pressure of the chest to assist the body’s respiratory mechanism to move lymphatic fluids.

Reason for Applying: Can be used to relieve upper and lower respiratory infections. Effect of Treatment: To mobilize lymphatic drainage and facilitate recovery from infection.


Articulation: Physician gently and repeatedly forces the joint against the restrictive barrier, intending to reduce the barrier and improve motion.

Example of Technique: Physician moves the affected joint to the limit of all ranges of motion. As the restrictive barrier is reached, slowly, and firmly the physician continues to apply gentle force against the joint to the limit of tissue motion, or the patient’s tolerance to pain or fatigue. The articulation is slowly repeated several times: each time gaining increased range and improved quality of motion.

Reason for Applying: Most often applied to postoperative patients and elderly patients suffering from arthritis. Effect of Treatment: Enhances the effect of passive articulating motion by resisting it or permitting increased range of motion.


Cranio-Sacral: Cranial Osteopathy is a systematic approach to patient diagnosis and treatment utilizing the body’s inherent fluctuation of cerebrospinal fluid. This is called Cranial Rhythmic Impulse (CRI) or Primary Respiratory Mechanism (PRM). This gentle, manual technique uses the CRI to treat the whole person, emphasizing the head and spinal regions.

Example of Technique: Physician compresses and palpates for motility of the CSF and mobility of the intracranial and intraspinal membranes. The cranial rhythmic impulse is palpated and a balancing force is applied.

Reason for Applying: Applied to patients with headaches or cranio-sacral compression Effect of treatment: Mobilization of cranial bones and cranial rhythmic impulse movement. To relieve headache-like symptoms.


HVLA: (HIGH VELOCITY LOW AMPLITUDE) Moving a restricted joint in the direction it is resisting.

Example of Technique: Physician slowly pulls joint in the direction it is resisting. Once at the point of muscle resistance, the physician continues to slowly pull against the muscle restraint, while applying a quick force localized to the area of resistance often resulting in a “pop” in the affected joint.

Reason for Applying: Treats motion loss and impaired or altered functions of the body’s framework.

Effect of Treatment: Immediate increase in range and freedom of motion.



OSTEOPOROSIS BONY METASTASIS LOCAL / ADJACENT FRACTURE References: Dr.Simmons.net Stephen Barrett, MD aoa-net.org “Osteopathic manipulation may effectively treat back pain,” WebMD 11/3/99. “A Comparison of Osteopathic Spinal Manipulation with Standard Care for Patients with Low Back Pain,” NEJM, 11/4/99. “Osteopathy,” WholehealthMD.com,