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How Osteopathy Can Help during Cancer Treatment

Dec 04, 2017

Read Time: 2 minutes
Rebecca Wilson Zingg, DO

Osteopathic doctor treating leg and hip

“It is the object of the physician to find the health. Anyone can find the disease.”—Andrew Taylor Still, MD, DO (founder of osteopathic medicine)

Osteopathy, or osteopathic medicine, focuses on improving the overall health of the person being treated. Osteopathic manipulative medicine (OMM) is one tool that osteopathic doctors use to support this process. OMM is a gentle, hands-on treatment to reduce tightness and restrictions in the body. These restrictions can come from injuries, illness, surgery, radiation, or simply getting older. They may cause you to feel pain, have less flexibility, or have trouble doing your regular daily activities.

Doctors who practice OMM are fully licensed physicians who receive extra training in developing their hands-on skills. OMM includes a wide range of techniques that address tightness and pain in areas of the body such as muscles, joints, connective tissues, and ligaments. Osteopathic doctors frequently treat back pain, neck pain, headaches, whiplash, sports-related injuries, and many other conditions.

OMM is just one part of the larger practice of osteopathy. Osteopathic medicine follows these principles:

  1. The body is a unit. From the nervous system to the bony joints to the connective tissue web, the body is endlessly interconnected. That means treatment should address restrictions in all areas of the body.
  2. Structure affects function. Muscular function, bony movement, nerve conduction, and other systems of the body all depend on structural health. Injuries such as a muscle strain or a pinched nerve can have both local as well as global affects on how the body functions. Osteopathic manipulation aims to restore structural motion in order to support how the body functions.
  3. The body can heal and regulate itself. Cuts heal, broken bones grow back together, infections clear up. Every day, the body shows it can heal and regulate itself. Osteopathic doctors aim to help this process with treatments that cause the least harm and have the greatest potential to help.

Depending on their field of medicine and your personal condition, osteopathic doctors may recommend different treatment methods to optimize your health:

  • Hands-on treatments such as OMM, acupuncture, or massage
  • Lifestyle management such as an exercise program or nutrition counseling
  • Medications
  • Surgery
  • Injections

Scheduling an Evaluation

Huntsman Cancer Institute patients can schedule an appointment for an osteopathic evaluation at the Linda B. and Robert B. Wiggins Wellness and Integrative Health Center. The Wellness Center offers several other wellness programs including an individualized exercise program for Huntsman Cancer Institute patients, exercise classes (for patients, family, and staff), dietitian services, massage therapy, music therapy, and art workshops. Your osteopathic doctor may recommend some of these services in order to support your ongoing health and wellbeing. To schedule an appointment, call 801-587-4585.

Rebecca Wilson Zingg, DO
Linda B. and Robert B. Wiggins Wellness and Integrative Health Center

Cancer touches all of us.