Osteopathic Medicine is a traditional “hands-on” diagnostic and therapeutic science. Pioneered in the late 1800s by a medical doctor named Andrew Taylor Still, Osteopathic Medicine is dedicated to the treatment and healing of the entire patient. It is based on three main principles:
The body is a whole dynamic unit of function and anything done to one part can affect the other parts
The body has the ability to heal itself, with an inherent therapeutic potency(power) and constant drive toward health
There is an interrelationship and interdependence between structure and function in the human body, and knowledge of the details of that structure allows the Osteopathic physician to effect changes that no pill can achieve.
The role of the Osteopathic physician is to find this health and unleash the body’s natural healing potential by removing any obstruction to its normal physiologic processes.
Doctors of Osteopathy (DOs) are fully licensed physicians who graduate from a 4 year Osteopathic medical school covering all branches of conventional medicine and surgery. In addition, they also get 200-400 hours of training in manual diagnosis and treatment. This training allows the osteopathic physician to effectively treat disorders and diseases in ways which are unique to the profession. DOs and MDs often train side by side during their internships and residencies. Osteopathic physicians can prescribe medications, do surgery, order tests and radiologic studies and deliver babies. They can be found in every specialty from Dermatology to Cardio-Thoracic surgery.
The foundation of their training differs from allopathic (MD) medical schools because of its emphasis on making use of the patient’s own healing mechanisms by working with the principles of nature’s repair systems. An Osteopath Physician is uniquely suited to evaluate dysfunction in the immune, elimination, circulatory, nervous, endocrine and musculoskeletal systems from both a palpatory and laboratory standpoint. The highly developed sensory skills of an Osteopathic Physician give him/her a comprehensive understanding of how disease develops and stays in the patient, and help him/her work on multiple levels of structure and function simultaneously. For instance, a patient with pneumonia who also has poor respiratory effort has a much slower recovery if only given antibiotics to reduce the bacterial count. Osteopathic Manipulative Therapy (OMT) can improve the function of the diaphragm, ribs and lung motion thereby increasing opportunity for oxygenated blood to move through the patient’s entire body and for immune cells to get to the area of the consolidated infection. This will help the body overcome the imbalance of the infection which can cause fatigue, loss of appetite, pain and shortness of breath. So the Osteopath Physicians looks not only at the diagnosis of pneumonia as an infection of lung tissue which is debilitating and sometimes life threatening, he also evaluates the patient’s capacity to literally fight off the infection by studying their circulatory and respiratory capacity, palpable signs of vitality, appetite, the effect on other organ systems and the effect on the patient’s mind and spirit. All of those issues are addressed in a customized hands-on treatment and reassessed after treatment to evaluate progress. The body can heal itself just as a stream dammed up can eventually clear its water by finding exit paths in crevices between the obstructing rocks. The rapidity and comprehensiveness of the healing process may be improved or ignited by scientifically designed neuro-endocrine-immune-musculoskeletal treatment.
It takes 7-10 years of post-graduate training to develop the diagnostic and therapeutic skills necessary to consistently help a majority of patients. Our physicians are dedicated to life long medical education and teaching because they wish to offer the best Osteopathic Medical care available.
Osteopathic medicine is a special approach to comprehensive health care, welcoming patients from newborns to seniors. Osteopathic Medicine is sought for a variety of issues, including but not limited to:
general health care and well being, post surgical, pregnancy and post-partum care, infections, symptoms secondary to injuries, neurological problems including all types of pain, migraines, dizziness, nerve palsy, digestive disorders, fatigue, stress-related illnesses and others.
A patient may consult and Osteopathic Physician initially, or after having “tried everything else”. An Osteopathic physician is interested in the experiences leading to your present condition. He or she will use information from your history, physical examination and your Osteopathic treatment evaluation to formulate a plan for you. We can manage your regular outpatient medical care or act as a specialist if you have been referred by another health care provider.
Each person is evaluated and treated as an individual. There are no predetermined protocols. Receiving information from your words, your whole body and the forces that are affecting you (physical, biochemical, psychological, etc.) an Osteopath Physician is guided by your inherent healing mechanisms which lead him/her to make a diagnosis and formulate a treatment plan. They will rely on an extensive knowledge of normal anatomy (structure) and physiology (function) and finely tuned palpatory skills to treat the patient.
Initial visits are generally 1.5 to 2 hours long, during which a detailed history is taken, followed by a physical exam much like most physician visits. In addition, complete Osteopathic evaluations as well as an Osteopathic treatment are performed. Follow up visits usually last about 30-45 minutes. Even though Osteopathic Physicians are trained in gross, forceful manipulation (like cracking joints) and use them when necessary, most of our treatments consist of very gentle and subtle manipulation. Patients generally lie down on the treatment table and relax during the whole visit, with a good percentage of them falling asleep as they are being treated. In most cases patients do not need to disrobe during treatments, however it is preferred that loose, thin clothing be worn (no denim, flannel … etc.).