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HeadWay, Issue #132 -- Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment
July 21, 2015
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In this issue:
Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment
Say what?! Somatic dysfunction
Osteopathic Manipulative TreatmentFran from the United States sent me a note from the HeadWay MailRoom a few weeks back. She is an "experienced" migraine patient - experienced in that she has tried several migraine treatments and has not experienced the relief she needs!
But then a doctor offered her a new treatment. "I just laughed", says Fran. But then, after only two or three treatments, she saw her migraine attacks become drastically less frequent - and so she took the time to write in to tell me about it!
The treatment that Fran tried was, of course, osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT).
OMT is performed by a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, or DO. DOs, like MDs, are fully qualified physicians. In fact, a DO can be a "family doctor" just like an MD. DOs get their training in the United States, where the discipline was first developed, but there are doctors in other parts of the world. Often a DO is one partner in a multidisciplinary pain clinic. Osteopathy is commonly used in sports medicine.
So what's the difference between an MD and a DO? A DO focuses on osteopathy, a complimentary aproach that focuses on the body's muscle tissue and bones. This from the American Osteopathic Association:
DOs receive extra training in the musculoskeletal system—your body's interconnected system of nerves, muscles and bones that makes up two-thirds of your body mass. This training provides osteopathic physicians with a better understanding of how an illness or injury in one part of your body can affect other parts.There are training programs of varying quality in osteopathy around the world. There are different approaches, and health providers who are not doctors who use osteopathic treatment. That doesn't necessarily mean you should avoid them - it just means that you won't get the same consistent approach and quality that you would with a licensed DO.
OMT is also described simply on the American Osteopathic Association website:
DOs receive extra training in the musculoskeletal system—your body's interconnected system of nerves, muscles and bones that makes up two-thirds of your body mass. This training provides osteopathic physicians with a better understanding of how an illness or injury in one part of your body can affect other parts.It may sound very much like something you've tried - massage, chiropractic, physiotherapy. But DOs have unique training that helps them see the body, in particular the muscles, bones, and tissues, as a whole.
Osteopathy, and OMT in particular, are highly controversial. It's difficult to study and measure.
At the same time, a qualified DO may be able to provide a "whole person" kind of treatment that is still lacking with some MDs.
OMT can be added to the list of similar treatments which seem to be underestimated in migraine treatment. There are many problems with the body that can trigger migraine attacks, and OMT may address these for you. If so, you may see the significant improvement that Fran has enjoyed.
To find a DO in the United States, check here. For other countries, look for an osteopathic association in your country, state or province.
Here is a good summary of osteopathic manipulation from the Cleveland Clinic.
Say what?! Somatic dysfunctionbasically a functional impairment. There is a mechanical problem in the body, which can lead to a number of other issues, such as headache. These problems can be caused by a trauma such as a fall or accident, but also by ongoing issues such as posture.
Thanks for reading! Remember, if you have feedback or ideas for future issues, visit the HeadWay MailRoom. Your password is nomoache.
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