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About Osteopathic Medicine

Osteopathy, or osteopathic medicine, focuses on improving the overall health of a patient. 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 pain in the body such as muscles, joints, connective tissues, and ligaments. These may come from injuries, aging, and effects of cancer or its treatments such as surgery and radiation. They may cause a patient to feel pain, have less flexibility, or have trouble doing regular daily activities. 

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How Osteopathic Medicine Works

Doctors who practice OMM are fully licensed physicians who receive extra training in developing their hands-on skills. Osteopathic doctors frequently treat back pain, neck pain, headaches, whiplash, sports-related injuries, and many other conditions.

Osteopathic medicine follows these principles:

The body is a unit

From the nervous system to the bony joints to the connective tissue, the body is endlessly interconnected. That means treatment should address restrictions in all areas of the body.

Structure affects function

Muscle, bone, nerves, and other systems of the body all depend on structural health. Injuries such as a muscle strain or a pinched nerve can cause local pain and impact how the body functions. Osteopathic manipulation aims to restore structural motion to support how the body functions.

The body can heal and regulate itself

Every day, our bodies show they can heal injuries such as cuts, fractured bone, and infections. Osteopathic doctors aim to help this process with treatments that cause the least harm and have the greatest potential to help.

Depending on a patient’s personal condition, osteopathic doctors may recommend different ways to optimize health:

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

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