Osteopathic treatments are the result of evaluations and recommendations of a doctor osteopathy. This medical profession works from their knowledge of the normal anatomy of a human and compares that to the abnormal body. Each visit consists of a medical history, physical and structural examination, osteopathic diagnosis and osteopathic treatment.
Prior to recommending treatments the physician will take a though history that will often include birth, injuries that affect the joints in either large singular impact or multiple smaller more chronic injury, inflammatory disease processes, surgeries, dental procedures and overall stress levels. Once this history is completed they will also do a structural examination that may be performed in a sitting position, lying down or standing. The physician will be looking for bony asymmetry, tissue abnormality and fluid congestion. Through touch the doctor will be evaluating the quality of motion, balance and organization of the muscle mass.
Treatments made by a doctor of osteopathy are manipulations that are attempts to improve the range of motion of joints and to balance tissue and muscle mechanics to relieve pain and improve health. There are a number of different types of manipulations that a Doctor of Osteopathy (DO) can use. Manipulations will include those that include cranial-sacral motion, counter strain, muscle energy, myofascial release, lymphatic pump, soft tissue techniques, a thrust technique, and visceral techniques.
Most of these manipulations are done while an individual is sitting or lying down on a table. The doctor will gently apply a precise amount of manual pressure (pressure with their hands) in a specific direction. The pressure is either directly over the affected areas or at some distance away. This manual pressure is used to relax the tissue or to engage them at their functional limits.
Doctors of Osteopathy will engage the tissues at their limits to relieve joint restriction or misalignment that is responsible for many back aches, muscle strains and spasticity. This motion is also used to restore muscle and tissue balance and promote the movement of bodily fluids. Many times these fluids are either in the lymphatic tissue which is responsible for draining specific areas of the body of toxins or fluids that accumulate around a muscle or joint that has been injured.
Doctors of Osteopathy are also known for their treatment that impact structural and tissue abnormalities around the vertebrae, muscles, myofascial structures and joints. These treatments are the ones that are commonly thought of when a person has their back cracked or manipulated.
These terms are a misnomer since treatment is generally very gentle and it is only the rare person who experiences discomfort during a treatment procedure. Tissues are supported and usually very little force is required. However, each patient will experience something unique. Some feel only a gentle touch while others experience the change in their body immediately.
Each Osteopathic physician will apply osteopathic principles in treatment and while styles may differ from physician to physician the ultimate goal and modalities are the same. It is the duty of the DO to listen, support and learn from the patient’s body so that an optimal state of health can be achieved.
Results of DO treatments can depend upon several factors. The most significant factor is the previous state of health of the individual as well as the severity and duration of the current problem. It should be understood that treatments from a DO aren’t a cure-all but rather a potential solution to some of their problems that have been imprinted individually by the traumas of their lives.