Dr. Andrew Still is the father of osteopathic medicine. He believed that the diseases of the body could be detected through changes in the surface of the human body. Further, he believed that disease could be treated through manual manipulation of the body. These manual manipulations are the basis of osteopathic manipulative treatment, or OMT. Osteopathic physicians believe OMT can be used to treat a variety of illnesses and injuries. Practitioners of OMT use their hands to move, stretch, and apply pressure to the muscles and joints of the body, with the dual purpose of diagnosing and treating a range of medical diseases. It is believed that OMT can relieve pain, as well as increase a person’s range of motion and encourage healing.
Osteopathic manipulative treatment is most commonly used to diagnose and treat muscle pain, but it also has been used to help patients with asthma, headaches, migraines, joint problems, sinusitis, and menstrual pain. OMT also may be appropriate in cases of chronic neck or back pain caused by deterioration in the spinal column – a condition known as degenerative disc disease. The goal of OMT is to restore normal functioning through the use of hands-on care, including applying gentle manual pressure to affected areas of the spine.
OMT practitioners realize that degenerative disc disease can affect the spine in several ways. Located between our spine’s vertebrae are intervertebral discs that consist of a tough outer layer called the annulus fibrosus that surrounds a soft, spongy jellylike interior called the nucleus pulposus. Together, they behave as shock absorbers for the spinal column. However, as we age, the discs lose their fluid content and elasticity, making them weak and susceptible to injury or disease. If the outer annulus fibrosus wall tears or ruptures, the nucleus can extrude into the area surrounding the disc. Extruded material may impinge upon nerve roots. A bulging or herniated disc may place pressure upon an adjacent nerve, causing neck or back pain, as well as local or radiating numbness, tingling, and muscle weakness in the limbs.
Further symptoms of degenerative disc disease can arise as the spinal discs lose shape or flatten. Disc flattening allows the vertebrae to move closer together, causing more pressure on spinal nerves as they exist between vertebra. Again this places pressure on neural tissue and generates symptoms of radiating pain, weakness, tingling, and numbness.Osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) can be beneficial for pain management and also can help increase mobility. If you are experiencing neck or back pain, consult with your healthcare provider. He or she can diagnose the cause of your suffering and create a treatment plan. You may be referred to an osteopathic physician, who, after meeting with you, might prescribe osteopathic manipulative treatment.
Osteopathic manipulative treatment can be beneficial for patients experiencing low back pain and neck pain. It also may improve range of motion and flexibility. Manipulation treatments can include:
- Soft tissue technique
- Balanced ligamentous tension
- Joint mobilization
- Neuromuscular therapy
- Visceral manipulation
There are times when some patients may need more than osteopathic manipulative treatment to regain their mobility. At Laser Spine Institute, we offer a complimentary review of your MRI or CT scan, as well as consultations concerning our minimally invasive, state-of-the-art endoscopic surgical procedures that have successfully treated a range of neck and back conditions. Contact us today for more information about our facility, and to learn how we may help you.